Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ball Story - Jong Yuk Chuen Suet Fa Jong II (1993)

Okay, my first game review. Yay for crappy Chinese games. I love Chinese people, there's a Chinese supermaket near my house, it's fun how they butcher the language. But they have really good prices. Anyways, on with the game: this is a really bad mix of Pony Canyon's "Lunar Ball" and Taito's "Arkanoid" with really off-key music. The objective is to guide your small ball thru a maze filled with really ugly bugs and blocks with drawings of fruits inside them. While the fruit blocks can be destroyed, the blocks with monsters on them can't. Same thing goes for the blocks with quince pictures (or maybe they're just badly drawn lemons, I don't know). You get 20 shoots per ball to find out a hole hidden behind one of the blocks to pass to the next level. While on the first level you just need to find the block with the hole and go into it, on the following levels you need to find a switch first, which will reveal the position of the hole. After every level you get a password just in case you want to torture yourself with this thing until the very end. If you're wondering about the controls, they're much like in "Lunar Ball": there's a "power" bar at the upper part of the screen which changes automatically. If you shot your ball while the power level is all red, your ball will be shot at maximum velocity.

Okay, now let's press start, shall we?

The game starts with a meaningless intro which lasts like 5 seconds. It seems your ball has been chased by a flying piranha and just because of it you'll have to destroy fruit blocks to find holes. Sounds logical to me. After that you'll be asked to choose a difficulty level: easy, medium or hard. The harder the difficulty is, the less shots you get per life to finish the level. Then you get this screen:
You can actually choose how many lives you want. Three is both the default and the minimum, and you can select up to nine. Since I'm a loser, I'll select 4 instead of settling for 3. At least I don't ask for 9.

This is the first level. Some of the fruits will become other fruits upon contact, while the magnet blocks will stop your ball altogether. Some blocks will reveal power ups, but the only one which seems to have any effect is the clock, which stops the enemies for a while. The others power ups are cups of coffee and mallets, which only effect seems to give you points, like if they mean anything. These ugly bugs won't kill you, but they will make your life harder as they obstruct the places where you must get in. The hole of first level is hidden exactly at the left of that old fan, behind the lower strawberry. Now let's go to level two, but before you get a password:

Level 2 looks much like level 1, except now you have to find the switch which will cause an earthquake in the game, revealing the position of that damn hole.

Here you can see the position of the switch and the hole. However, you'll go insane before you get the chance to pass through that damn fly, since it's almost impossible to avoid it. Besides, the ball sensibility is way too high: even at the lower power levels your ball will be shoot pretty strongly, making you lose a lot of your precious time. Anyways, it's password time again:

And here's level 3:

After a few levels, the graphics will change. However I don't have enough patience (or lives) to make it to the very end of the game. By the way, this level introduces a new enemy: that blue and yellow thing with a sad face. It can caught your ball and leave it in a different place of the level, thus giving you another reason to turn off the console.

After the password we're going to level 4.

My psychic powers tell me the damn switch is inside that heart-shaped fortress guarded by a butt ugly worm. It is, however, impossible to make the ball go there without wasting a couple of lives (the controls are that bad), and since I only got one life left, it's game over for me.

Since Chinese authorities have a zero-tolerance policy for loser balls, our friend ended in jail. Alas! I'll show you an example of how the graphics change in following levels:

That surely looks less awful. Anyways, that was my first game review :-) So, remember, be happy and please don't play this game. See you around!

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