Balloon Fight is a very early Nintendo Entertainment System game that is similar to Midway's classic arcade game, Joust. You control a guy who has strapped balloons to himself in order to be able to fly. Unfortunately lots of other helium obsessed weirdoes have had the same idea, so in order to make the skies your exclusive domain you must pop their balloons by colliding with them whilst being higher up in the air then them, you then have to finish them off before they parachute to dry land and begin re-inflating their balloon again. If they pop your two balloons or you fall into the water you lose a life.
There is no time limit for each screen, however if you take too long clouds will start to belch out little lightning spheres which bounce hazardously around the screen. Clear enough screens and you'll be rewarded with a bonus level every now and then. The bonus levels aren't very exciting or useful but they do break up the gameplay a bit. In the bonus stages balloons drift up from pipes towards the sky and it's your job to try and collect as many as possible before they float away. Annoyingly you don't get any extra lives for this, but as a consolation if you enter the bonus area with one balloon you are automatically upgraded back to having two balloons.
Balloon fight is bizarrely entertaining for such an old game. The controls are perfect and it will take you about two minutes before you've gotten your head around the game's slightly unusual gameplay. The only thing that lets the game down is its difficulty; you only have three lives so the modern gamer used to save points and continues may feel alienated by a game that insists that you restart from the beginning once you lose all your lives.
The difficulty is offset slightly if two people are playing, with the co-op mode being fun but still restricting each player to 3 lives. Balloon Fight also contains an alternate game mode called balloon trip where you try and maneuver yourself through a scrolling maze and collect balloons to get a high score. This mode is pretty different from the main game and is a nice addition, it plays quite similarly to one of the space levels from game boy classic Super Mario Land 2.
Overall Balloon Fight is a great example of an early 80's game, it doesn't quite hold up today due to it's habit of re-using levels throughout the game, but if you like pick up and play gameplay and aren't put off by simple sounds and visuals then Balloon Fight is a very playable bargain that rarely costs more then a fistful of coins.