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// article by Jeff

I'M READY FOR ACTION!

You're in quite a chipper mood today.

AND WHY SHOULDN'T I BE? WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT AN OBSCURE GAME! SO, WHAT FOREIGN WONDER HAVE YOU BROUGHT FOR US TODAY? SOMETHING RARE, NO DOUBT.

Well, it was made BY Rare...

WHAT? THEN IT CAN'T BE VERY OBSCURE. I KNOW ABOUT ALL THE GAMES BY RARE.

Oh, you mean, like Donkey Kong Country, Battletoads, Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye... that kind of thing?

EXACTLY. THAT'S WHAT RARE'S ALL ABOUT. YOU CAN'T SURPRISE ME.

Did you know that they once made a game for Capcom?

SAY WHAT?!

That's right. This month's inductee into the Gamera Obscura Hall of Fame is an arcade game called X The Ball. There isn't really much to it, but X The Ball is quite the novelty should you ever come across it. The premise is clearly stated in the title: you have to X a ball.

I KNEW IT: THIS IS GOING TO BE A NAUGHTY GAME!

No, not THAT kind of ball. You need to X a soccer ball. Well, sort of. In this game, you're trying to win tickets. For what, I have no idea. Stuffed animals, Nerf guns... maybe those silly plastic spiders you can pick up for two tickets at an indoor amusement centre. But in order to get those tickets, you must have your deductive cap on straight.

You're given a black-and-white image of a soccer game in progress, except there's no ball on the playing field! Using your powers of visual analysis, you must try to determine where the ball should be in the photo. The game suggests you observe the directions where each player is looking to give you a good idea of where to place your Xs. You get up to five opportunities to place Xs on the screen (and you can have them overlap if you're certain of a spot); the more Xs you get in the right place (within a certain radius), the more tickets you win. And the closer you are to the ACTUAL center of the ball, the more tickets you can score.

WOW, THAT SOUNDS PRETTY EASY.

I fail every time. It's quite difficult, actually; I can never tell quite where everyone's looking, so I generally have no idea where the ball is. Luckily, the game rewards me on occasion with a bonus game wherein I have to splatter as many Xs on the screen as possible within a brief time period, so no matter what, I get some tickets.

THAT'S NOT CONCLUSIVE ENOUGH.

You're not pleasant. But it's surprising that Rare, known for so many interesting games, would be involved in this oddity. As for Capcom... well, they're always making questionable decisions. But to answer your question before you ask it, don't seek this out. Any game whose mascot is Mimo-Man, a character with a soccer ball for a head, is purely farcical and ridiculous. Stay away.

DULY NOTED. WELL, IF THERE IS NOTHING FURTHER, I'LL BE ON MY WAY.

Catch you later, ominously-voiced man. And catch YOU later in another episode of Gamera Obscura.


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