Sock her? Gladly.
When it comes to violent sports, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
Hockey? Shootfighting? Anything involving this
guy? Well, forget all those kid’s games because I’ve got something that even
the baddest mamma jammas won’t touch. Soccer.
Sega also knows what I’m talking about, because they’ve paired up Visual Concepts,
the 2K sports god, with Blackbox Games of Hitz fame to create
Soccer Slam, the ultimate in sporting violence. With slamtastic soccer
action and a colorful cast of crazies, this is one arcade sports game that scores
The concept of Soccer Slam is as simple as it gets. Get a few teams
of three players (plus one goalie) together and have them beat the snot out
of each other in a no-holds-barred battle to the finish. Oh yeah, and they’re
supposed to kick a ball into the goal sometimes, too. I always seem to forget
about that part. But wait, there’s more!
Three main modes are available for you to choose from including Exhibition,
Tourney, and Quest. The first two options are pretty much what you would expect
from any sports game. Quest, however, is similar to the Career mode of Sega’s
Virtua Tennis. Not only
will you play in a 10-game season, but you’ll also participate in various challenges
and earn cash to grab special items that will beef out the abilities of your
team. There’s even a mid-season All-Star game, where the best players from each
team get together for a little fun.
Speaking of teams, the pickings are a little slim as you’ll be choosing from
one of only six groups of psycho stars. Hailing from various countries around
the globe, the characters in Soccer Slam are definitely a significant
part of this game’s fun factor. From El Diablo the Wrestler to Angus the Scotsman,
you’ll get plenty of kicks watching these guys run around the pitch while talking
There are two distinct gameplay features that add greatly to Soccer Slam
– Spotlight Shots and Killer Kicks. Spotlight Shots come at random points in
the game when your team has control of the ball. A spotlight of your team’s
logo will wander around on the field and all you have to do is get the ball
into the light and take a shot. If successfully executed, time will slow for
a few seconds and you’ll gain the ability to target exactly where your shot
Killer Kick opportunities pop up when your team controls the ball with a full
power meter. Once you hit the appropriate buttons, the ball handler will lob
the ball high in the air near one of the other teammates. Get that player in
the magic circle and hit the shoot button at the right time, and you’ll get
a cinematic super shot that will blast toward the goal. It’s not a guaranteed
score, but you can bet it will knock the goalie silly.
these guys is a snap thanks to a simple and efficient setup. All you really
need to know is how to pass, shoot, and steal. Even people who aren’t familiar
with sports games should have no problems picking up the basics. But for those
of you looking for a deeper game, fear not because other moves like deke, protect,
and power-ups are available. A little experience goes a long way.
Completing this game’s offense are some great visuals. Each of the characters
and stadiums are excellently rendered with smooth lines and bright colors –
perfect for the GameCube. The animations aren’t half-bad, and the turf will
even start to show signs of wear as the game progresses.
The character voices are also pretty good, but the announcing is extremely
lethargic. This guy is so timid, you might not even notice he’s there. Then
again, I’d rather have an announcer that doesn’t say much than an announcer
that keeps spitting out all the wrong things.
Of course, like any a sports game, Soccer Slam excels as a multiplayer
game. You can play with up to four friends in multiplayer matches, and they
also included the ability to co-op the Quest mode. Grab some buddies and some
drinks and watch the hours fly by.
Although it’s a kick, Soccer Slam lacks some depth. Completing the
game only yields new stadiums, so there’s no real reason to keep playing over
and over. More challenges would help, but what the game really needs is a larger
number of teams. I would have loved the abilty to unlock brand new characters
upon completion of the game, or even the chance to mix and match players from
different squads. An off-the-wall create-a-player would also have done wonders
for this game, but alas, it looks like we’ll have to wait for the sequel for
But what we’ve got now ain’t half bad. Soccer Slam scores a goal for
anyone looking for some lighthearted sports action and makes a fine addition
to your GC library.