White Men Can't Jump

Atari Jaguar

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


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


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


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


street score   -  1 pt. per basket/2 per long shot

 Time  - Timed Game


Score  - First to XXpts. wins.

 Standard Play  - After a basket, the opposite team gets the ball


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


[] 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


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


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


  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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