I, Ball (Firebird) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

I, Ball
By Firebird
Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #46

I, Ball

It says here that the totally evil Terry Ball has captured your buddies, Lover Ball, Eddy Ball, Glowball and No Ball. He's locked them up, probably because he's jealous of their names. Here's a few witty names I made up earlier: Mandy Ball, Canni Ball and Lucille Ball. Better stop now, this is getting Un-Barry Ball.

Your job as I, Ball, is to power your way through sixteen defece zones to rescue your spherical mates. A complex maths formula tells you one of your buddies will be set free every fourth level.

Sounds a bit like a kid's game, doesn't it? Well, it may be dressed up that way, but it's really a fast moving upward-scrolling shoot-'em-up. And a pretty classy one at that.

I, Ball

It's probably the dressing up that makes this game so much fun. Instead of alien spaceships with names full of 'x's you avoid roulette wheels, microwave ovens and doughnuts. Some objects can be bounced off, whilst others when hit, lose you a life. Just to make it easier for you, the latter flash on and off. Everything that comes floating down the screen is brightly coloured, spins and wists and is in 3D. Like looking through a kaleidoscope really.

As you proceed up the levels, the whole thing becomes more congested and more like a maze. There's lots of bouncing to do before you find a way through.

The weapons (picked up by bumping into power discs) are pretty neat too. One looks like a machine fun firing Smarties. Gathering weapons is essential as you progress up the levels. Without the sideways-firing laser, for example, you probably won't get past the third level. The smart missile and molecule bomb will be pretty useful too. But the ultimate weapon - and I've not picked it up yet - is the Rainbow Ripple Laser. Do you fire it or lick it?

I, Ball

Gameplay is well thought out. When you lose a life, you merely go down the course a little bit, and you lose one of your weapons - none of this highly irritating starting from scratch business. You have 50 seconds to complete each level. Levels are fairly short and the first three are reasonably easy. But it does get increasingly difficult and challenging for the more experienced player.

I've saved the best bit until last. Music and sound effects are completely brilliant. A funky number accompanies you up the screens, and is good enough not to make you go nuts after half an hour. That's interspersed with digitally sampled speech, the most realistic I've heard yet.

Sadly, the bloke sounds like a Radio 1 DJ and his vocabulary is similarly restricted to: "I, Ball, I, Ball, I-I-I-I-I Ball, I, Ball", "Game Over" and "Oh, No!" The Final "I, Ball" in the sequence is high pitched and sounds like the little prat in the Weetabix ad.

You hear "Oh no!" quite often every time you lose a life, in fact it's difficult to describe what it sounds like. So try this experiment. Put on a brilliant Fila tennis vest, go out and buy a Tutti Frutti Cornetto and accidentally dribble it down your front. "Oh no!" That's it.

Bohdan Buciak

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