Balloon Challenge

• Publisher: Virgin Games
• Developer:
Virgin Games
Release Date: 1987
Adrian Sheppard
GFX: Unknown
Music: Rob Hubbard

ZZAP64 Game Rating: 23%
Our Game Rating: 40%


FILE: taballoonchallengeend.zip



• Completed & Reviewed by Brendan Phoenix

This is a pain of a little game, but so addictive - I just HAD to finish it. It plays differently to how you would expect... you control a bird who has to protect the balloon by shooting down planes, missiles and other birds. Problem is you have to keep an eye on your bird's energy - or you lose one of your 3 lives. You can perch on top of the balloon to regain lost energy, but this makes the balloon descend, so you can't stay there for too long. If the balloon goes too low, it crashes and you die - no second chance here. On top of that you have fuel - if you sway to far left or right from the dotted line charting your progress you will not have enough fuel to make it to the other side (as I found out a few times). There are no additional fuel pick-ups so you need to keep an eye on this. So with the fuel, bird energy, making sure you are keeping to the line, enemies and keeping an eye on the balloon's height (which changes at night, it can get quite a hectic challenge!

I actually think this could be an okay little two-player game (it has the split screen) and that the 23% score from ZZAP!64 magazine was somewhat harsh...

Challenge complete!

The balloon comes in to land...

...nearly there!

The End.

HOW WAS IT COMPLETED?: No trainers available so I had to use several save states.

SO WHAT HAPPENS?: There is a short animation of the balloon landing, alas no fanfare or waiting crowds - a short congratulations message that reads: "CONGRATULATIONS. YOU HAVE SUCCEEDED IN CROSSING THE ATLANTIC."


  • Bren: I held out hope for some sort of ending as there is a short animation when you crash into the ocean.

    It's ok, but a little more polish could have made it much better - not even a newspaper headline to show (which seems to be standard in a lot of endings). 3.5/10.
  • Vinny: Cor... this certainly brings back memories of the complete nutter Sir(!) Richard Branson trying oh-so hard to get across the Atlantic Ocean in a hot air balloon. I'm positive he tried a few times throughout the eighties and nineties, but I don't think he ever succeeded - well not that I remember anyway. It's just a pity that Virgin Games decided to make a piss-poor game of Sir Richard's plight, and that failed too!

    As for the ending... I'm astonished that it actually had one!!! 3/10 from me.
  • Andy Vaisey: What such a boring subject matter for a game, supplemented by a boring ending.
  • Andrew Fisher: I watched the balloon challenge, not an eagle in sight! A very strange game and an ending that leaves you deflated... Leads me to wonder what the unreleased speedboat challenge game was like.
  • Gaz Spence: One massive ego trip, rounded off by the fact that he got his own company to produce a game about it! Says all you need to know about the guy.

FINAL SAY: A failing game to a failing idea!

G.E. RATING: 3.5 / 10

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Copyright İVinny Mainolfi