Virtually Overlooked: Super Dodge Ball

We're ridiculously crazy about Technos and their Kunio games. Normally, the release of any Kunio series game -- save Renegade -- on the Virtual Console would be cause for a weeklong celebration here on Wii Fanboy. We'd break out our special Kunio-shaped cake pans and observe the traditional Kunio Week rituals (playing games). We'd be pushing the game on you in unrelated posts, even.

Unfortunately for Super Dodge Ball, Mega Man 9 had to happen this week and distract everybody. In fact, we are also freaking out about Dodge Ball -- we just delayed our reaction a bit. We'll have our little nerdfest now, in the most counterintuitive way we can think of -- celebrating the NES Super Dodge Ball by talking about another version.

The Neo Geo Super Dodge Ball trades out the identically sized, identically dressed River City Ransom-style characters from previous games, and adds a wide variety of characters, all of whom look and dress in completely different styles. No longer does everyone have exactly the same body -- the bigger dudes are huge, and the tiny characters are comparatively wispy. However, even the scrawniest of player is rendered in a generous, super-colorful, detailed sprite. Super Dodge Ball's sprite style is like a chibi fighting game -- Pocket Fighter or something -- but with more guys on screen, of course. It's even got that Art of Fighting zoom effect. The game has been moved to a theme park instead of a series of international courts, further enhancing the "color explosion" factor.

The gameplay is a bit more fighting-game-like, as well. Instead of running for a set time and then throwing, your characters' super throws are activated by familiar Street Fighter controller movements. There's even a Super Team Throw available when you've filled up a "POW" meter.

Maybe the biggest visual upgrade over the NES version is the fact that Super Dodge Ball on the Neo Geo isn't flickery as hell. We love the NES game, but that thing is a mess of slowdown and flicker. We've grown to accept it, but ... what if we didn't have to?

Most Neo Geo games on the Virtual Console are massive deals at 900 Wii Points compared to what you'd have to pay for the cartridge, yes, but most of them are also available on compilations that make even the VC versions seem expensive. Super Dodge Ball is not available on any compilations. There seems to be only one copy on eBay right now, and the price is a lot more than $9. eBay is a bit more complicated than buying something on the Wii Shop Channel, as well. Maybe instead of releasing Metal Slug on Wii for the fourth time, SNK could coordinate with Aksys, who has the rights to Technos's catalog.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.