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Popeye Beach Volleyball

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Released: 1994

Genre: Sports

Format reviewed: Game Gear

Publisher: Technos

Developer: Technos

Submitted by: Matt

Despite Popeye being an American creation this sport-sim was only released in Japan. At least Popeye playing volleyball makes sense, unlike some other games that put licensed characters into bizarre genres. Droopy’s Tennis Open on the Game Boy Advance is just one fine example. Droopy the dog was hardly a character known for having quick reactions, was he?

Developers Technos – of Double Dragon fame – had made a few volleyball games previously to this one and as such their experience with the sport shows clearly. It is, however, a little tricky at first – if you stand in the wrong place, even by just a few pixels, the ball will hit the floor and your opponents (Brutus, and sometimes the Sea Hag) get a point.

Technos clearly had both love and respect for the license – it looks really nice and colourful, with well drawn sprites and some comical touches. Brutus sometimes bounces the ball off his belly while Wimpy takes his hat off and knocks it off the top of his head. Spinach is available as a power-up and, yes, that famous theme tune plays in the background while powered-up.

Also included are some incredibly simple mini-games including a slot machine, a fishing contest and weight lifting. Due to their swift nature – there are no tutorials or rewards – the term 'micro-games' is perhaps more apt.

Even with a steep learning curve there’s a nice ‘feel good vibe’ to it. That’s providing you can get over the sight of the Popeye cast in their bathing suits…