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It impresses me that so many people don’t realize that there is a sequel to Balloon Fight, especially considering that Balloon Fight is remains one of the most popular NES launch titles aside from Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. I never even heard of Balloon Kid myself until I happened run across a passing mention of it in a Wikipedia article about the Game Boy.

Having come out about a year after the Game Boy’s launch, I view Balloon Kid as an attempt by Nintendo to create a game with a uniquely “Game Boy” flavor while carrying over a concept most NES owners were already familiar with.

Rather than a mere port of it’s NES predecessor, Balloon Kid is a full fledged sequel, not only including everything it’s predecessor had (to an extent), but adding a complete side scrolling platform adventure, something completely absent from Balloon Fight.

The nameless Balloon Fighter has been replaced with a young girl named Alice who is on a quest to rescue her brother who floated away on a bushel of helium balloons. Just like in Balloon Fight, your character starts out with two balloons which she floats on by tapping the A Button.

Touching enemies and spikes will pop your balloons, but unlike the previous game, losing both balloons doesn’t equate to instant death, and Alice will instead just fall from the sky, hopefully onto a platform from which the player can re-inflate their balloons by rapidly tapping Down on the D-Pad. There are even some sections which demand you release your balloons and hoof it for a while.

Other elements carried over from Balloon Fight are the auto scrolling right-to-left levels, several enemies and obstacles, musical motifs, and the balloon catching bonus rounds.

Unlike Super Mario Land, this game’s adventure mode can not be beaten quickly, even with experience, because the game scrolls at it’s own pace, and thusly, speed depends purely on now frequently or not you get killed. Speaking of Super Mario Land, these games share the classic Game Boy “pause beep” when you press the Start Button.

The endless obstacle course mode from Balloon Fight is also accessible from the main menu and works great as a “quick play” option if you want to play on the go but don’t have time to get into adventure mode.

There is also a two player mode which I assume plays something like the two player mode on the original Balloon Fight, but I’ve never had a chance to try it out due to not having a friend with Balloon Kid, an original Game Boy, and an original Game Link Cable.

Though Balloon Kid isn’t an extraordinary platformer by any means, the game honestly does feel like the creators cared about what they were making, and when I play it I get the impression that the developers created this game with the mentality of proving that the Game Boy was a “serious” gaming machine and not just a toy like the Game and Watch series was.

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