Penguin Wars is a dodge ball-inspired video game developed by UPL and published for the Game Boy in Japan by ASCII Corporation on 1990-03-30, then in the USA by Nexoft in July, 1990. This is a port of the arcade game from 1985, only it's missing several features from the original. In the game, you attempt to roll balls from your side of the table to your opponent's side. Each player starts with five balls on their side, and you win if you can get all of the balls on your opponent's side at the same time. You accomplish this by hitting your opponent with a ball to stun them, and by hitting their balls as they're moving across the table to knock them back at your opponent. Each round is 60 seconds long, and, if nobody wins in the allotted time, who ever has the least number of balls on their side wins.
I learned about this game from the video game reviewer Jeremy Parish. The game looked interesting and fairly easy, so I played it and beat it on my first try on 2019-11-17.
I do not own this game, but I have beaten it.
Best Version: Game Boy
— This section contains spoilers! —
- For the short time you're playing it, it's pretty fun.
- The cartoon graphics and playful music is perfect for the game.
- Supporting the link cable was a nice way to allow friends to challenge each other after they mastered the single-player option.
- The different animals have different play styles which takes a little getting used to.
- Several of the features from the arcade game have been eliminated from this version of the game including the tournament bracketing system for single player mode, the air hockey mode, and the more interesting bonus games. I know the Game Boy had limited space, but the programmers should have been able to fit more into the game.
- Even though you can control the speed of your throw by holding the button a little longer, I ended up beating the game without ever using it. More effort should have been spent on requiring the mastery of this skill to beat the game.
- The game is too easy and too short. I beat all the AI opponents in about 20 minutes on my very first attempt. The other ports of the game are much harder. If I had paid money for this game, I would have been angry. The game should have either included more animals or became more difficult on subsequent play-throughs.
The European box uses the same art as the American box, but changes the title to "King of the Zoo" in a dull pink lettering. The name change probably occurred to eliminate the word "war" to appease European censors, but it's also a more accurate title for the game, though replacing zoo with "animals" would be better still since cows don't usually appear in zoos.
|English (Europe)||King of the Zoo|
|English (North America)||Penguin Wars|
|Japanese||ぺんぎんくんwars vs.||Pengin-Kun Wars Vs.||Penguin-Kun Wars Vs.|