In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

U.S. Championship V'Ball

aka: Super Spike V'Ball, V'Ball: U.S. Championship Beach Volley
Moby ID: 8499
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Description

U.S. Championship V'Ball, renamed Super Spike V'Ball for its NES conversion, is a lesser-known coin-op. It challenges players to bump, set, and spike their way to a beach volleyball championship. Teams of two travel the USA and the world, visiting venues like Chicago, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and Australia. This game can be played by 1-4 players simultaneously, although on the NES a Satellite or Four Score device (and extra controllers) are required for three or four players.

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (NES version)

24 People (20 developers, 4 thanks) · View all

Character Designer
B.G Designer
Game Programmer
Music Composer
Music Programmer
Arcade Game Staff
Publisher Design
Production Manager
Special Thanks
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 78% (based on 16 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.2 out of 5 (based on 17 ratings with 2 reviews)

Buckets of fun

The Good
This game was fun for as long as you wanted it to be, and as long as you don't mind the old graphics and limited sounds it still is.

The Bad
I have to put something in for things I didn't like, which is unfortunate because there isn't a thing about this game that's not to like.

The Bottom Line
This was one of the last great games for the original NES console, and the first I remember that made it clear that controllers needed an ergonomic design. Excellent graphics-for the time-and appropriate sound effects only made it that much easier to waste a night at college without risking a hangover. While it was easy to sit down for a few minutes and play a quick game or two, it shone when all four player slots were filled. Still the only video game I've ever played which combined loads of fun and game speed to make 'losers outs' worth the wait for as many as ten people. Since I mentioned it, the frequency with which controllers went flying out of people's hands trying to power up both shots and blocks MUST have been a factor in the improved controller design for the SNES. This game is so much fun that this spring after finding a cartridge on Ebay a few friends and I wore out my old console. At a time when there were a lot of games that didn't ask a lot of your time-and had almost no learning curve-this was one of the best.

NES · by Brian Niemeyer (2) · 2005

A surprisingly engaging experience

The Good
When objectively considering the concept of volleyball video games, especially 8-bit volleyball video games, skepticism seems to overwhelm the brain. Anyone, though, who seriously plays Super Spike V'Ball will have that skepticism wiped away.

First of all, the game is really funny. The sound effects make good use of the NES's abilities, producing odd propulsion-like noises with every jump. The most hilarious aspect of the game is the 'super spike,' wherein a player mashes a button while in the air before a spike to build up its power and make it potentially unblockable. A 'Ka-Boom' onomatopoeia is displayed, and the opposing player is smashed back into the sand.

What's amazing is that the simple concepts of this game work together well enough to produce a progressively more-challenging experience. One begins learning the basic means of defending and spiking in the American Circuit. One must have spent at least several hours in that mode before gaining the abilities required to begin the World Cup, which features a whole new level of difficulty, culminating in a battle with the U.S. Navy team, which is extremely challenging.

The mechanics of the gameplay are finely tuned enough to offer a real, gimmick-free work out to those who play it. One is also rewarded by the odd cityscape backgrounds to what could have been a drab volleyball layout. Again, the hilarious noises and oddities round out the experience, and make the game simply a joy to play and get good at.

The Bad
The game has a few technical issues. Sometimes the sprites will be momentarily invisible or obscured as the graphics are rendering. I have found these issues to be infrequent and certainly not inhibitive of the gameplay.

One other thing that can happen, although rare and funny, is when, after diving for a shot, instead of hitting it up to your teammate, the ball makes a funny noise and flops out of bounds. I have always enjoyed these moments as odd quirks, and they also do not hinder the overall gameplay.

The game also comes with the ability to have 4 players at once, a rarity on the NES. Having tried this before, the experience turned out to be slightly disappointing. It was functional, but lacked the depth of the 1 or 2 player circuits.

The Bottom Line
It is, simply, a volleyball game. There is no gameplay that does not involve playing volleyball. However, it is a challenging game without being too difficult, and can engross its players for hours - something that the vast majority of third party console games cannot boast.

It does have a very extensive set of options, involving everything from team location, player build, to wide-ranging scoring options. The most significant option is the player build. There are 4 sets of players to choose from, all with different names and a specific type. There are the all-arounders, who don't do anything poorly or extremely well - there are the big guys (or fats, as we always called them) who are painfully slow in the sand, but make superspikes very easy - there are the punkish looking guys, who are actually the Double Dragons (Billy & Jimmy), making a cameo. They are good at defending spikes and diving for well-placed shots - and finally there are the fast guys, who are average at spiking and defending, but can move very quickly across the sand to set up shots.

Some players will be good at timing blocks, and would benefit from the Double Dragons, whereas some players will be better at placing spikes, making the fats a better choice. The game really offers a wide-ranging experience.

Perhaps the best aspect of the game is that all of the tournament modes can be played by 2 players. Going through the game with a buddy is far better than controlling 2 guys yourself, with the other sometimes working as a drone. Much more than a lot of multiplayer games, Super Spike V'Ball is a team experience. Your buddy can back you up when you get smacked by a superspike, and the quality of your set shot determines the ease with which your friend can administer a return spike.

All in all, it is another great Technos game that few people have ever played. Any lover of 8-bit games needs to own this title, or at least give it a shot. It is a well-crafted game that rewards those who bother to give it their time.

NES · by Feem (30) · 2008

Trivia

References

Two of the playable characters are named Billy and Jimmy, a direct reference to the Double Dragon games, also developed by Technos.

Releases

The game was released in both a standalone one-game format, and together with Nintendo World Cup on a single game cart that was packaged with the NES Sports set, which contained the NES, four controllers, and a four-player adapter.

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Related Sites +

  • Howard & Nester do Super Spike V'Ball
    A regular feature in Nintendo Power magazine, Howard & Nester was a comic strip about two game whizzes who would one-up each other, while disclosing hints and tips, in the settings of various recently-released games for the NES platform. In the March/April 1990 two-page installment, Nester learns the downside of playing too close to the net.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 8499
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Peter Skerritt Jr.

Arcade, Sharp X68000 added by Infernos. Antstream added by firefang9212. Browser added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Shoddyan, Foxhack, Alaka, Pseudo_Intellectual, Rik Hideto.

Game added March 8, 2003. Last modified June 12, 2024.