Street Ball is an Arcade/Puzzle game where your goal is to guide a bouncing ball through a maze collecting treasures and avoiding obstacles. Your ball moves back and forth on wires until you release it, at which point it bounces around the maze until it hits another wire. It has a limited number of "hit points" so you must time your releases to steer the ball over treasures while avoiding laser cannons and evil black "zombie" balls. Once you have obtained the correct numbers and types of treasures, an exit opens which takes you to the next of the 20 mazes.
This is a re-release of the game PARAGON from 1991. Except for a few title screens, the games are identical: same levels, graphics and gameplay. Nothing has changed nor been improved. PARAGON is a unique C64 game from the 1988. It was later ported to Apple and PC computers, sometimes titled as Street Ball. The DOS version is much more advanced than the old C64 version that had only single-screen levels. Too bad that this new release didn't come with some new improvements and additional levels than the port from 1991.
You control a constantly moving ball, that you use to pick up various treasures. The ball is moving over wires (or pipes or whatever) from one end of the wire to the other end. Once you press a directional button, the ball is released from the wire and moves through the level, bouncing of walls and picking up treasuries until it touches a wire, which causes the ball to move only on the wires again. You need precise releasing of the ball to pick items and progress through the levels. So, there is lot of action going on even though the player is controlling the ball only when it's on the wires. It is very fun and interesting.
At the beginning of each level, you see the list of remaining treasures that you need to collect. There is one hole in each level and the ball must fall into the hole to finish the level but only after you have collected all the required items. Besides the troubles to get the ball in the right place, there are other dangers. Although the game looks cute and the gameplay is fun, don't let that fool you: the game is very hard to beat! Laser cannons will shoot and reduce your hit points, while some laser fields, moving plasma rings and electricity bolts (called Death Arcs) will cost you a life if you touch them. It is always dangerous to let the ball go into the unknown part of the level. Luckily, you may find some extra balls and, more importantly, you can save and load your game as much as you want. This may be unusual in arcade games, but without the saving option, the game would be next to impossible. This way you can explore each new level without having to play all those long and hard levels again from the start if you lose all your lives.
Some electricity bolts are constantly charging while some are going on/off automatically. Constantly charging bolts are switched on/off by touching the blue circle, which is a switch that is usually nearby. As for automatically switching bolts, you must know that once you release the ball from the wire, the current status of those bolts won't change until ball is back on the wire again. So, release the ball when the automatic bolt is off. Black balls (called Zombie Spheres) are computer controlled balls that may hit your ball releasing it from the wire or changing the direction of your movement. These Zombie Spheres can cause you a lot of trouble without hurting you themselves. There are also deflectors that may disturb the direction of your movement and teleports that sometimes may be helpful, and sometimes may be necessary to use. Pressing the spacebar at any time allows you to see your remaining hit points and required treasuries.
Downsides of this game would be lack of music and rapidly increasing difficulty. The game has twenty levels and it starts being challenging right after the first level. It will provide many hours of play before you beat the game, but will require lot of skill and patience. Some later levels are so fast and difficult that even with the save option you'll have a lot of trouble. It is too bad that you don't get to play more of the less difficult levels. Even an old-school player that is used to difficult arcade games that require a lot of effort may feel that this game becomes too hard too soon. It is simply because gameplay is so addictive and interesting that you will wish for a more relaxed playing style before the game becomes too demanding. After you beat all 20 levels, the game goes on and you'll get to play old levels randomly, but the action is much faster now.
They probably should have improved technical parts of the game. If you consider the game as a 1991 release, the EGA graphics are solid and everything looks cute. There is no music, the only FX that the game consists of are a few beeps from the PC speaker. The main focus of the game is on its unique gameplay that most of people will find interesting. This game will definitely be entertaining for a while and, if it is not too hard for you, you may easily love it.
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