Even His Airness has a bad day….
It was only a matter of time. The most powerful and recognizable icon in sports, Michael Jordan means money. Movie executives love this (money, not Mike), and after a few boardroom meetings, we get the cartoon/live action extravaganza called Space Jam. If you saw the movie, you know that it was crap. The game, on the other hand, is total crap.
For posterity sake, here’s the plot: A bunch of extra-terrestrial midgets try to abduct the Looney Toons gang, apparently to use as entertainers at an outer space theme park. Bugs and the crew challenge the aliens to a game of hoops (which makes perfect sense… I mean, hey, it made sense on Gilligan’s Island) and enlist the aid of the king of roundball himself, Michael Jordan. Here’s the interesting (yawn) plot twist – the martians steal the talent from several NBA stars, grow to alarming heights, and cheat like crazy. Sounds like an exciting (yawn) game.
To be frank, sports fans, this is another worthless, scrilla-snatching, movie translation from the makers of the overused NBA Jam engine. After Die Hard Trilogy, I hoped that maybe we were well on our way to fortunately ridding ourselves of this rarely impressive stereotype. So much for hope…this game lacks originality, variety in gameplay, and replay value.
You can choose to play as any two or three characters from your chosen squad (Looney Toons or MonStars). There are supposed to be slight differences between the players, but I didn’t notice a thing. The gameplay is exactly the same as in NBA Jam, except that it sucks. Everything moves a little slow and awkward, and the dunks (the hallmark of the Acclaim basketball games) leave a ton to be desired.
As far as features, the game has all the Looney Toons and MonStars from the movie ( though adding the little fat guy from Jurassic Park would’ve been nice), and even gimpy stats like “pushes”. There is an interesting sub-feature to play (what else?!) sub-levels for power-ups, practice, or (here’s one) “pure fun”. The sub-levels are mildly entertaining, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call them a bright spot-more like the shiny spot on an old, rusty nail. You can enter a tournament to save Michael and the rest of the NBA All-Stars, AND you can convert the controller to any buttons of your choosing! The game just sadly has no depth. Little things like substitions, real stats and more teams would have helped (you might be starting to form a picture…). I can’t believe Acclaim went out and rehashed that played out NBA Jam engine and expected it to sell (is that picture getting any clearer now…?) The game really has no worth other than as one of those disappointing rentals you seem to make every now and then, and oh, Michael Jordan.
Acclaim seems to want to live and die by the three, but they’re losing their range. The NBA Jam engine, once a surefire hit, has now deteriorated to the point where it needs to be taken out to the backyard and put out of its misery – quickly, painlessly, and with dignity. So that no more heart-piercing, neck-wrenching articles like this have to be written. It’s like catching a disease in the early stages, so it won’t come back later to plague the earth! But past the corny metaphors, this is bad game, and hopefully the wake-up call Acclaim needed to get its act together, but (sigh) we’ll see. Just as long as they don’t produce a sequel . . .