Faceball 2000, aside from being Mr. Face’s second favorite game (behind Iggy’s Reckin Balls and just ahead of Wooly Willy), is known for a couple of things. It’s one of a handful of pre-Wolfenstein 3D first-person shooter games, famous for its network play, and it’s infamous for featuring 16 player deathmatch in the original Game Boy version via an arcane combination of four-player adapters and Game Link cables in addition to the sixteen Game Boy systems and copies of the game required. Adding to that infamy was a planned Virtual Boy version from Bullet Proof Software that would continue the multiplayer tradition, being one of the first titles to support the Virtual Boy link cable upon its release. We all know how that turned out: the Virtual Boy failed, the link cable never came out, and Faceball was cancelled though nearly complete. A few screenshots made it into magazines over the years, but only recently has someone with a prototype cartridge captured the sights and sounds in motion.
Someone by the handle of Mr. G started a thread on the Planet Virtual Boy forums on September 12th, detailing the Japanese prototype (the game is called NikoChan Battle in Japan) and providing several new screens in the process. Screens of the game all tend to look the same after a while, but a bit into the thread they decided to take videos. The first one shows the first 5 stages of the game, and the second demonstrates some of the game’s music via the sound test in the debug menu. Despite the system having some pretty nice speakers, music from Virtual Boy games is largely unappreciated, so that’s a nice thing to see.
It struck me how the Faceball character looks a lot like Kirby in this version as opposed to the more familiar yellow smiley face design.