Ball Jacks (Sega Mega Drive) Review

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Review by The Every Gamer (June 2016)

Score: C- (3/5)

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{Insert joke involving crabs and balls here} Yeah, we could have done it ourselves, but it’s too obvious.

    Introducing, an arcade game that is not an arcade game, but a console game instead, making it the most pointless game to buy and also a waste of money had you brought it back in the day. It’s Ball Jacks (ボールジャックス), developed and published by Namco and was released in 1993 for Japan and Europe only.
So the game is a sporting event comprised of two robot crabs, the aim of the game is to grab the opponent’s balls from their side to put on your side, but both crabs can cancel that by grabbing the ball back from the opponent. Both can also use balls to damage and even destroy each other. Once a crab destroys an opponent, they can collect their balls, while the destroyed crab can go into a hatch in the middle, get repaired and continue on. If one of the crabs has no balls on their side, a small timer will begin to count down and the empty crab must collect at least one ball to stop the timer. A crab will win if the small timer runs out without any balls, the timer just running out in general or win based on how many times they managed to destroy the opponent crab.

        And that’s the game. This would have worked wonders as an Arcade game, but for a console game, in 1993? I don’t think so. The graphics and level design are fantastic for the Mega Drive; it gives the game a cool futuristic sporting look that fits this absurd type of game well. The gameplay is simple and likable…for about 10 minutes until you get completely bored of it. There’s not much to this game, at the time for £35-£40, this would have been a waste of money, because it’s a very lacking game and it isn’t going to provide hours of fun.
    Overall, Ball Jacks is an arcade game that was never released in the arcades and offers so little, although it has good challenge, especially in single player, but it’s a lacking game in terms of a console game. You can get this game for very cheap for a reason and if you do get it, it’s best to get a friend to play it with you, because it’s the only way you’re going to enjoy this. The game itself isn’t bad, I mean, it was made by six people over at Namco, but due to the lack of features to make it worth your £34.99 back in the day…well, had I reviewed it when it was released, it wouldn’t be worth it. But because it’s a relatively cheap game, it’s worth it if you want a couple of friends and get plastered while you play a game with small lasting appeal.
    But you know what? I’ve thought of something. With simple controls like this, it could work today, as a mobile phone game. Think about it, all you have to do is swipe the robot and push virtual buttons to extend their arms, the potential it could have for a nice quick game of Ball Jacks is enormous. Though I doubt it, since Namco have probably already forgotten about it. A guy can dream.
You can get Ball Jacks for the Sega Mega Drive (Sega Genesis).

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