Kareem with the sky hook!
As this assignment was handed to me, I thought to myself, A+. It stars
Magic and Kareem , who, for a Lakers fan, are the greatest one-two punch in
NBA history. Watching the Lakers dominate the court throughout the 80’s was
one of my favorite pastimes. To see these two superstars commemorated for
their greatness with their own video game, years after their prime, was a
tribute to the Crystal Dynamics team. I only wish they could have been
represented in a more suitable fashion.
Crystal Dynamics surprised me with a very poor showing with Slam N Jam ’96
featuring Magic and Kareem, especially since I had been so impressed by their
other Saturn games. I had expected a high flying, prime time
basketball game, but was disappointed with the primitive state in which
this game has hit the shelves. For a system with such potential and a
software company with so much to offer, this sports fan was not impressed.
The game does not flow very well. The perspective that the user sees while
playing is confusing in both depth and direction. Player position in
relation to one and other is also very misleading. The only reliable way to
score seems to be to drive the lane and dunk the ball. Slam N Jam
relies on the fast break transition game for most of its action, which is
okay, but makes for a less realistic game. Possibly the greatest weakness
lies in the running commentary by sportscaster Van Earl Wright , who, at
times, appeared to be talking about a different game than the one that I
was playing. He is also quoted with such inane sayings as ” the ferocity of
the Jam-ocity.” Interesting choice of words.
The game is not all bad. The ability to block dunk shots makes the
defensive portion of the game a skill that develops the more you play, and
can often mean the deciding factor between the thrill of victory and the
agony of defeat. Magic and Kareem both use many of the signature moves that
made them great and in turn makes the game truly theirs, but with the
absence of any other NBA stars there is little reason to be any other team
than Magic’s all-stars.
In conclusion, Crystal Dynamic’s Slam N Jam ’96 leaves much to be
desired. I think that the greatest disappointment is again the potential
for such a game. Most sports gamers would agree, and should pass up on
purchasing this one. Crystal Dynamics should return to the drawing board
and take a few lessons from the people over at Electronic Arts when
designing any other new sports games. This game might be the reason that
Magic retired for a third time.