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Super Dodge Ball, originally released in Japan as Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgdeball Bu ("Nekketsu High School Dodgeball Club", part of the Kunio-kun series), is a video game based on dodgeball developed by Technos Japan Corp. which was originally released for the arcade in 1987.
The rules of the game only vaguely resemble the traditional version of the sports itself. Two rival teams of six or seven members each (the number varies between versions) must compete in a volleyball-like court, throwing a dodgeball at each other, until the members of one team's inner court are all eliminated. Each team has three or four team members in their side of the inner court and three members in the opposite side of the outer court.
In the original arcade game, the player takes control of the American team (or the Japanese team, depending on the version) as they face off against the rival national team, and then five rival teams from different nationalities (England, Iceland, China, Kenya, and Japan/America). The play mechanics in the arcade are simple, with the captain being the only member of the player's team to possess a power shots. Most of the characters can be eliminated with two or three well delivered running or jumping shots, but all of the CPU teams in the arcade version have backup members that will replace their teammates when they're eliminated.
Super Dodge Ball was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988. While the graphics are downgraded, the sprites are different (everyone is the same size and a head-swap of each other) and the maximum number of players per team was reduced from seven to six, it also gave each team member (not just captains) two power shots instead of just one, as well as individual health gauge and full stats. There was also a PC Engine which combined the graphics and format of the arcade version with some of features from the NES version, while adding an all new Quest Mode. A Sharp X 68000 version was also released, which was a straight port of the arcade game. A Game Boy version was also released that is drastically different from all the other versions, as it replaces all the international teams with themed teams feature punks, mobsters, superheroes, pirates and ninjas.
In Japan, a Super Famicom sequel was released titled Kunio-kun no Dodgeball Dayo Zen'in Shūgō, which featured even more teams than the NES version, along with fully customizable character stats, teams, and stages. It featured all the foreign teams from the Famicom version, as well as several new ones, plus various characters from the Downtown Nekketsu (River City Ransom) sub-series of Kunio games.
Another sequel was released for the Neo Geo, simply titled Super Dodge Ball (or Kunio no Nekketsu Dodgeball Densetsu), which changed the rules a bit so that only each team has three members (the eliminated members are moved to the outer court) and made the Power Shots executable through Fighting Game-style commands (adding Super Move-style Power Shots that are executable only by filling out a power gauge). It's one of the most sought after Neo-Geo games ever made, as it was the last game ever produced by Technos Japan Corp.
After Technos went out of business, Million (a company formed by former Technos employees) made a Spiritual Sequel, titled Bakunetsu Dodgeball Fighters. This sequel was released in America as Super Dodge Ball Advance and after their success with the game, they brought back the rights to the Kunio characters and made an "official" sequel for the DS titled Super Dodge Ball Brawlers.
Tropes featured include:
- Canon Foreigner: Miyuki and Kenji from the Neo Geo version, as well as all the sidekick characters.
- Cultural Translation
- The American version of the arcade game switches the nationalities of the player-controlled teams with that of the final team. As a result, the Japanese version has the American team as the final team and vice-versa. Oddly enough, the player-controlled team still wears the Japanese colors of red and white on their uniforms.
- The NES game has a slightly more complex example. In the Japanese version, the final team were the Americans (just like in the arcade game). In the American version, the two Japanese teams were made into Americans, the American team was made into a Japanese team that has the stats of the Soviet team and the Soviet team uses the stats of the American team. This was done so that the Soviet team would be made into the final team in the game, since the game was released at the height of the Cold War.
- Bakunetsu Dodgeball Fighters originally had teams from various Japanese regions. The American version, Super Dodge Ball Advance, gave them different nationalities, with the main team (the Heroes) being decided by the player.
- Expy: Rajiv and Boris, the Captains of the Indian and Russian teams in the NES version, both resemble Abobo. The Doppelganger team at the end of the NES version could also be a reference to Double Dragon II: The Revenge
- Head Swap: Every player in the NES version.
- A rarer head amongst a team usually indicates that player as the strongest member or captain. Certain faces usually indicate what abilities and super shots they have.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The character who hands out the trophy in the arcade game was none other than Superman in the Japanese version. The American version changed him into a generic ninja.
- Palette Swap: Most of the captains and all of the generic members in each team are palette swaps of each other.
- Recycled Title: There's the 1987 arcade original, the 1988 NES version (which was advertised as a port of the arcade game), and the 1996 Neo-Geo sequel.
- Reformulated Game: The NES version has less players on the court than in other versions, but gave each character individualized stats, health gauges and power shots (in contrast to the arcade version, where only captains could perform power shots). Moreover, the NES version added two new teams not in the arcade version (India and U.S.S.R.).
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Iceland, in the arcade version
- Spiritual Sequel: Technically Super Dodge Ball Advance is one, considering it doesn't have the familiar Nekketsu characters from the earlier games. However, the U.S. localization renamed most of the characters with names used in the original NES localization.