White Men Can't Jump
from AEO Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 6
||| White Men Can't Jump ||| Review by: Mark "Stingray" Santora / | \ GEnie: AEO.4 Delphi: SANTORA ---------------------------------------------------------------- To date there have been only a few sports games released for the Jaguar - Brutal Sports Football, Checkered Flag, Troy Aikman Football, Sensible Soccer, and Super Burnout. Unfortunately, only Super Burnout managed to wow critics and players - until now. The Jaguar has its first basketball game, and it ain't trash. WMCJ is a half court two on two basketball game which features some rather innovative effects, like a floating camera, the Team Tap, and use of a rather good movie license - but more on those later. //// Getting Started After the opening screens you come to the Main Menu on which you have five selections - Vs. Mode, Tournament Mode, Resume Game, Options, and Joypad. VS. MODE - Using the Team Tap, up to 4 players can compete against each other in a 2 on 2 game of Street Basketball. Choose your teams, there are 25, with names like 3pt Kings, Super Dunks, Dis Masters, and Urban Angels to name a few. From the option screen you can set everything from a timed to a point game. You then can choose from 4 different courts, Street, Beach, City, Rural. Then it's up to you and your friends. You can also play against the computer and choose its team as well. After one game, it's over and to play again you must sift through all the choices again. TOURNAMENT MODE - This mode is far more complex than a simple two on two game. It goes like this, you and your partner want to play in the Slam City Street Basketball Tournament but you don't have any money and it costs $5000 to play. So you borrow $500 from the local loansharks, The Breakneck Brothers - Tangle and Cash - who you see after every game. Start playing hoops locally, trying to earn $5000 so you can play in the tournament. If you lose too much money and can't pay back the Breakneck Brothers, well, they're loansharks - figure it out. If you make $5000, you instantly get entered into the tournament. You have the ability to save your game in this mode so that you can come back later if you run short on time and don't want to lose all your money. RESUME GAME - You have three "Keys" where you can store your money from the Tournament mode. You can only save after you complete a game. OPTIONS - Here you can change almost everything against in the game. Changes will be saved to the cart. Certain options are only available in the VS. MODE of the game - standard score - 2 pts. per basket/3 per long shot or street score - 1 pt. per basket/2 per long shot Time - Timed Game or Score - First to XXpts. wins. Standard Play - After a basket, the opposite team gets the ball or Make It/Take It - You made the basket, it's yours again. The following options are available for both the VS. Mode and the Tournament Mode.  Messages On/Off - Running commentary that pops up on the screen. Personally I find that it adds a lot of clutter to the screen and makes it difficult to follow the game. I leave it permanently off.  Timed Arrow Players On/Off - There are colored arrows that appear over each character on the screen. If you leave this option on, the arrows will only appear when you change control to the other player on your team. If you leave this option off, the arrow will permanently stay on. Since the color palette is very earthy in tone, you can loose sight of the player you are controlling. I suggest leaving this option OFF which will keep an arrow on your player all the time.  Change on Falls On/Off - When your character falls, or is knocked down (this is street B-ball), the computer will automatically switch to the other member of your team. If you leave this off, you must double press the Speed Boost Button. Personally, I leave it off, but to each their own. JOYPAD - This is where you and three of your friends can customize the controls on an individual joypad. =-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Team Tap =-=-=-=-=-=-= Included with WMCJ at no extra charge is the Team Tap, a four-player joypad adaptor. The Team Tap comes in a box slightly thicker than the standard Jaguar game box and uses heavy cardboard for packing. There is a very nice picture of the unit on the front and back with a pair of Jaguar eyes looking over it. It is a very solid design and measures just under 6 inches x 3 inches x 1 inch. Don't forget about the clearance room to use it. There are four ports on the front of the Tap (A,B,C,D), and they are all the standard size of a Jaguar port. Out of the back of the Tap runs a single cable which connects to the Jaguar joypad port. In the case of WMCJ, the Tap is plugged into port 2 on the Jag. Ports A, B and C on the Team Tap are used for the respective number of players in the game. The Team Tap is NOT required to play WMCJ, but it does make it more fun. Also, it is possible to use a Team Tap on each port which will give you EIGHT players for a game, but software must be written to use it first. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Shooting Hoops =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= You start with a zooming in camera that stops right about center court - if this was a full size Bball court. You see your two team members with the other team as you inbound the ball. On the top of the screen are your team symbols and respective score. Next to your score, a basketball will appear when you have possession of the ball. If you have to take the ball out (past half court), a giant "X" will appear through the ball. After moving it out, the "X" will disappear. You can shoot the ball before the "X" is gone, but it will not count. Underneath the team logo are pictures of you and your teammate. On either side of the pictures are a red and green bar. The green bar is your Energy, the higher it is, the better you move, shoot and punch. The red bar is your Anger level. Every time you knock down a player, commit a foul (only goaltending and traveling are called), and get knocked down, this bar goes up and it takes YOU longer to get up when knocked down. In between the team pictures and bars, the running commentary of words dissolve and sweep into the screen. I personally find them very distracting, so I leave them off. It also gives you a better view of the court. Speaking of "view of the court," I suppose this is a good place to mention the floating camera. It starts about 8 feet off the ground at half court and then arc back and forth, up and down, allowing different angles of the action. Think of it as a much improved version of the cameras found in the Virtua series by Sega. The camera is computer controlled and looks nice. You don't lose any frames while the camera is in motion, or still. Each Character has several "SUPER DUNKS." These are performed by moving the keypad while taking the shot. The higher the energy, the better you are at making the shot. Each character has one Super Dunk listed in the manual. Others are hidden within the game, as I am sure other items are as well. Controlling your team member is relatively simple. Move around the court using the joypad.  One of the buttons is used for Pass/Punch. On offense, if you tap the button once, you fake a pass to your teammate. If you tap it and hold it, you will pass the ball. On defense, you can make the other team taste asphalt. BTW, you can hit your own players, so be careful.  The second button is used for Shoot/Jump. On offense, you shoot the ball. By timing it right with the correct movement on the joypad, you can do a Super Dunk. On defense, you Jump to deflect a ball being shot.  The third button is for Speed Boost/Change Character. If you hold it down, you run quicker, but you lose energy quickly. If you tap it twice quickly, you will change your character. On defense, by pressing and holding the button, you form a defensive wall against the offense.  The Pause Button - Do I -REALLY- have to cover this?  The Option Button - Pressed while paused, you can change volume, sound effects, and voices. //// Graphics The imagery is sharp and well defined. Two problems, one is purely cosmetic. First and most importantly, is that the colors used in the game all have the same tone. They are all earthy toned, from the asphalt to the colors of the characters. This can cause confusion while playing as you can lose track of what is going on - see why I suggested leaving the arrow on about your guy in the Options section? If there had been a little more light in the game, it would have brightened up the scenes and made it easier to distinguish between the characters and background. Cosmetic - only the main players are rendered in 3D. The items along the side of the court, people, fences, etc., are quite visibly flat, as the floating camera shows us. I would have liked to see them better rendered, and maybe doing something, like cheering. Aside from that, the graphics are sharp and nicely drawn. They fit into the mood of the game very well. //// Sound The music in WMCJ leaves a lot to be desired. It's not close to the tunes in T2K. They seem to fit the game but sound tinny and really lack the style one would find being played in a game of Street Basketball. There is also a running audio commentary by the players - "Get off me chump!," "Hands on the Rim!," "It's hard being this good!" The samples are clean and there. I leave them on, but really have no love or hate for them. //// Overall White Men Can't Jump is NOT a game you can completely master in five minutes. It takes time and practice to get the feel of it. But the gameplay is there. It is really addictive, like Cannon Fodder and Pinball Fantasies. The biggest difference over them that WMCJ has is that it does not look like it could have been pulled off on a Genesis or SNES. This is 64bits, for those who can describe a 64bit game to me. This is the best sports game on the Jaguar to date. It is fun, addictive, and allows you to really show off what a fine machine the Jaguar is. Kudos to the programmers at High Voltage. And there are more sports games on the way, Hockey, Football, Baseball. I know of two that are immediately planning for use of the Team Tap and will be released with software built in to support it. //// Final Ratings Title: White Men Can't Jump JagNet: No Design: High Voltage Players: 1-4(w/Team Tap) Published by: Atari Cart Size: 4 Megabyte Retail: $69.95 Availability: Now (w/free Team Tap for a limited time) A Summary of ratings: "*" is a whole "+" is a half 5 stars maximum Graphics - **** Players are well drawn and the backgrounds fit the game. Sometimes you can lose your player because of the color scheme. Audio - *** Average. Could have been much better. Control - ***+ Very intuitive. You don't screw up at the controls because you can't find something. Players are very responsive. Gameplay - **** Excellent. Really keeps you hooked. Well implemented. Overall - **** The gameplay is the thing. Really great. The graphics are nice, but when I lose my player, it annoys me a little. The game rocks. Pts Stars AEO Ratings """ """"" """"""""""" 10 ***** GAMING NIRVANA!!! - You have left reality behind... for good. 9 ****+ Unbelieveable GAME!! - Your family notices you're often absent. 8 **** Fantastic Game!! - You can't get enough playtime in on this. 7 ***+ Great Game! - Something to show off to friends or 3DOers. 6 *** Good game - You find yourself playing this from time to time. 5 **+ Ho-hum - If there's nothing else to do, you play this. 4 ** Waste of time - Better to play this than play in traffic. 3 *+ Sucks - Playing in traffic sounds like more fun. 2 * Sucks Badly - You'd rather face an IRS audit than play this. 1 + Forget it - ... but you can't; it's so badly done, it haunts you. 0 - Burn it - Disallow programmer from ever writing again.
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