Vs. Balloon Fight was an arcade game that was the first installment of the Balloon Fight series.
The gameplay is extremely similar to the game Balloon Fight on the NES. The only major difference is that the stages were significantly larger, as the stages scrolled vertically. You play as Balloon Fighter, and you have to defeat the Balloon Birds. There is no Balloon Trip mode in this version. The game can be played two-player simultaneously, where each player gets their own screen. Each screen can also be used for two one-player games. Unlike most Balloon Fight games, there is no auto-fly feature, meaning you must rapidly press A to fly up. Since each side had two sets of controls (One joystick and two buttons), each set was interchangeable, allowing a player to use the right joystick and the left buttons, for example. The dip switches in the cabinet allowed for difficulty changes, Balloon Bird re-pumping timing changes, and changing the points required for a 1-Up. The maximum amount of lives in this game is 7 including the starting life, since the maximum starting life setting is 6 and then the game could be set to have an extra unlockable 1-Up. Also, in this game, the fish is much more active, and will come up instantly if anything comes near the water, even when you are out of the fish's reach. Even when the Balloon Birds fly over, the fish will try to grab them.
- Button- Flap Arms (Fly)
- There is no auto-flying button, unlike the NES remake or Balloon Kid.
- Joystick- Move Horizontally (Only works while flying)
- You can also walk on the ground.
There are many things different between the NES and the arcade versions of Balloon Fight. The title screen for the arcade version is more detailed, and features "VS" to the top-left of the title. Also, there is no Balloon Trip mode in this game, making it the only game in the entire series to not have this mode. The levels are two screens tall, and each player has their own screen, which each can scroll freely. In the Bonus Stages, the screen can also scroll and the last Balloon holds an "End" ticket. This game also has a dip switch setting inside the cabinet allowing for up to five extra lives to start the game. In the NES version, you have two extra lives and no way to gain any more. Also, some animation timing is different, most of which seeming to play much slower. Also, unlike the NES version, it shows the Balloon particles when you get hit by a Spark. This version also has a Giant Cloud in every stage, whereas the NES removes the Giant Cloud in stages. Also, some sounds are improved compared to the NES edition and there were some songs that were altered or removed. For example, there is a longer intro to the Game Over music in the Vs. version, and there is a Name Entry screen song that is completely unrepresented in the NES counterpart, as there is no name entry screen.
The phases in this game scroll vertically. Essentially, most phases are like two NES phases stacked on top of one another. Flippers are present in some levels, mostly later on. Clouds and water are in every stage. In the Bonus Stage, the Balloons move sideways much more and the entire stage scrolls vertically. The last Balloon holds an "End" ticket. The phase colors are now different, as there are now more different palettes the farther you play.
The point system from this game is the same one used in Balloon Fight and all of its ports, excluding the Game & Watch version.
|Balloon Bird- Pink||500|
|Balloon Bird- Pink Parachute||1000|
|Balloon Bird- Pink Downed||750|
|Balloon Bird- Green||750|
|Balloon Bird- Green Parachute||1500|
|Balloon Bird- Green Downed||1000|
|Balloon Bird- Yellow||1000|
|Balloon Bird- Yellow Parachute||2000|
|Balloon Bird- Yellow Downed||1500|
|Player 1 or 2's Balloons||1000|
- Tingle's Balloon Fight actually re-implements the ability to set how many lives you start with, with the maximum being five extra lives (Six including the starting life), just like this game. However, Tingle's Balloon Fight has a *x4 or *x5 when the extra life count is at 4 or 5, whereas it shows 4 or 5 Balloons as your life count in Vs. Balloon Fight.
- When being ported to the NES, even though the scrolling stage feature was lost, there were some leftover sprites in the code from this version, such as the "End" ticket and blank tile spots that have been crossed out, possibly where other sprites would or did go at one point.
- The tiles used for the ceiling is also present in the NES version, although they are likely unused because they would make the phases too cramped.
- If you stay on one stage for too long, an Arrow will fly from the side of the stage and pop your Balloons.
- You can have up to seven lives (Including the current/starting life) if the dip switches inside the cabinet define that you can earn back one life at a certain point mark.
- Oddly, one Japanese flyer shows three screenshots, each showing elements that are not in the final game, such as a frame of a Spark that is red, a large platform in the middle of the water, Balloon Birds facing the screen when parachuting, and a large, blue, missile-like object. It is unknown what this could have been for.
- This flyer has a date of October 3rd, 1984 on it.
- Similar screenshots appeared on a flyer for the U.S. version, though the same flyer also shows some final screenshots as well.
- Each side is assigned a player number, which means that playing on the Player 1 side will always let you play as the red-ballooned Balloon Fighter, and the Player 2 side will always play as the blue-ballooned Balloon Fighter, even when playing alone. This also affects the side the player spawns on.
This game is said to be one of the rarer (If not the rarest) Vs. System games, and as such it is extremely hard to find one of these, especially with the full cabinet, as the Vs. System cabinet itself is rare. This may be due to unpopularity at release, as some may have thought it was simply a clone of Joust, a similar game developed the company Williams before the release of Vs. Balloon Fight. Also, the games were interchangeable, and since Vs. Balloon Fight was an early title, most copies were likely replaced with other, newer games, then forgotten, lost, damaged, sold, or in the worst-case scenario, thrown away or destroyed.
Thankfully, there is soon to be a remake of Vs. Balloon Fight on the Nintendo Switch, done by HAMSTER as part of the Arcade Archive series. There is currently no known release date.