|The Japanese title is actually something like "Nekketsu Koukou Dodge Ball Bu: PC Bangaihen," which means something along the lines of "Hot Blooded High School Dodge Ball." But I knew it as a young poke on the NES as "Super Dodge Ball," so that's what I'm calling it.|
The PCE version has a lot less flicker and slowdown than the Famicom version, thank goodness. The flicker that remains is the for most part intentional: the current target player on defense flickers. It's too bad they couldn't have done something less distracting and NES-looking, say maybe a marker around the feet or something.
There's a funny thing here where when you have two players remaining on court and the first one passes back, they pass right to the side guy on the other team. Muh?
There's less character here than the NES version: there are only really two main sprites per team, for instance, big guys and small guys, whereas the NES version had different sprites for each player. Also, in the NES version I seem to remember that you could swap character positions: can't do that here.
But it's still got that compelling something that makes you keep playing. There's an excellent timing about waiting for the last moment at your jump's apex to throw in order to activate your super shot. Also, something later dodge ball games seem to have missed here is that the control on defense is horrible--and that's what makes it fun. In too many later dodgeball games, there's no problem seeing where the ball is going and catching it. In SDB, on the other hand, you'll often find your player ducking down instead of catching like you told them to, so the player behind them gets nailed. Or the ball shoves them off court, then they get nailed right in the back and pummelled mercilessly by the jerk on the sideline before you can get a team-mate up there to cover for them. You take your lumps in this game, it isn't fair, but you've got to fight past that. This game doesn't care about you: it's about smashing a ball into people and then cheering. And it does that so well.
Some nutty things here too. You can only ever play as the one team, it seems. Beat regular mode and Superman (or Super Dodge Ball Man?) flies out and hands you the trophy. Then you just play through again. Or try the third mode (2nd is versus) where you can pick any of six countries to play in, and if you beat them you get a chance to recruit one of their big men (some teams have more than one big man--all four of the U.S.'s on-court players are massive!) to your team, woo! But sometimes the big guy on the other team turns into an alien and gets beamed up in to a UFO--I think perhaps when they're the last guy you take out in the match or something. Once a guy has been abducted on a court, you can't play there anymore. I haven't seen the end of that mode yet, I can't imaging what happens once all the courts have been taken over!
Best dodge ball game ever? Man, it's up there.
| paleface 04:20:57 04/27/04 [title updated] |
|On second thought, I think I'll go with the "Hot Blooded" name--that'll work in with the soccer game better.|
|Actually, looking at screenshots of the original arcade version of Super Dodge Ball, this PCE version looks like a port of that one, rather than the first home version on Famicom (see entry 878). It looks like the small guys on each team all looked the same in the arcade, as they do here, but not on Famicom; and there's a game clock in the arcade and PCE versions, but not the Famicom version.|
|You do super jump throws in this game by pressing Jump not at the apex of your jump, but right *past* the apex.|
The UFO or "Quest" mode is really cool because after beating a team, you get to pick a player from their infield to put on *your* infield--so if you want, you end up with an infield of four giants, instead of the usual one giant (Kunio) with three pip-squeaks. This is how the game should always be (indeed, they kind of made it that way in the later NeoGeo sequel)! The giants also mostly look different from each other, and even have different run speeds and stuff.
Part that may keep me from playing UFO mode more is that there's a big white screen strobe effect when you reveal a disquised alien by knocking their human form out of the court. Ow, my eyes.
There ends up being one hidden alien per team, and where the latest one is hiding seems to move around... If the remaining captain on the other team seems evasive after the match, with ellipses in their speech text, that seems to mean the alien is hidden there, so play them again right away.
After finding all six hidden aliens, you go play a match...on the MOON! It's a super-cool-looking stage, but the opposing team is incredibly difficult...and you CAN run out of continues although the game never tells you how many you have left...so I haven't beaten it yet--and may not go back to it 'cause of that strobe effect, ack.
The jump in difficulty is especially jarring because, once you know the super-throw timing (just past the apex of the jump), and you've poached the best player from the opposing team, beating the regular teams is super-duper easy.