Publisher: Blue Ribbon
Compatibility: BBC B, B+, Master 128 & Acorn Electron
Reviewed by: Christian Weber
Originally published in EUG #04

There are many games with strange storylines held within the blurb of the cassette inlay card, all trying to entice you into buying them. But none are half as weird as the one given with Balloon Buster.

You are a clown called Buster who, for some unknown reason, enjoys bursting balloons in colour sequence. Being both colour blind and very inept at judging distances, he needs help and this is where you come in. It is your job to pop the balloons in the correct colour order and with the right amount of throwing power, all against the clock.

It doesn't sound all that inspiring and to be honest the game is downright useless! Burst a balloon out of sequence - (You're not told what the sequence is, so you have to guess!) - and you get an annoying beep with the error message "Out Of Sequence". Pop more than one balloon with a single throw and that annoying beep is back along with the message "Too Much Power". As you have to guess the colour sequence, you get the beep and message almost every throw!

All this left me in a state of frustration and feeling as though I had wasted my money. The graphics are fine and the animation is quite smooth (if a little flickery in places). In fact, I like the way Buster looks up at the ball when he throws it.

The sound is very bad, only a little better than that of Spitfire ' 40 [Reviewed in EUG #3 - Will]. There are no pause or sound on/off facilities and the High Score table is unchallenging as there are no high scores on it! Presumably nobody could be bothered to play it - and I wouldn't blame them either!

If you do complete level one (Great willpower and a lot of patience is needed!, you are greeted with a few background colour changes and the balloons are moved around a bit more.

Once your three lives have been lost through incorrect colour choice or too much power in your throw, you can replay the last level you were on via a five second credit-type timer.

The inlay blurb describes Balloon Buster as a "brilliant yet frustrating game". I would describe it as useless and overpriced. It may only be £2.99 and a new release but Blue Ribbon have plenty of better games than this for the Elk, so avoid it at all cost.

Sound ...................... 2
Graphics ................... 7
Playability ................ 4
Value For Money ............ 2
Overall .................... 3