Sports Jam (Dreamcast) review
"''He shoots, he SCORES. YOU'RE NOT SINGING ANYMORE.''"
Sports games are a bit of a mystery to me. See, I can never really understand why most people play them. Let's take Golf as an example. Now, I will admit that Tiger Woods Golf was responsible for the death of my first Dual Shock pad due to extreme abuse. It was played a LOT by me and my brother-in-law. The thing is, though, we both would have preferred to play the real thing. Sure, 400 yard drives were a rarity, but real golf beats simulated golf anyday.
Then, take team games. Football, say. (And if you think I will refer to it as 'soccer' for the sakes of this review, then you have another thousand thoughts coming to you.) Now, in most football games, you instantly gain control of the player with the ball, thereby transforming such guiding lights as Gary Neville into Ronaldo. Thus, any decently skilled player can take Lithuania to the summit of the World Cup quite easily.
The main thing about sports games is that they are more fun to play with friends, and yet are frequently played solo. If you are the type of person who utilises the 'full season' modes of play, then half the score at the end of this review.
Sports Jam takes a different approach to all these anal stat-obsessed sports games you have played in the past. Taking a lead from Midways excellent NBA Jam, this game is meant for quick-fix 2 player fun. It will not be re-released next year with new up-to-date rosters. It will not reward you any more for playing longer, other than to make you more likely to beat your friends at the game.
And that is the crux. What we have here is a set of sports themed mini-games (12 in all) all packaged together into one quite superb arcade game. From the simple button bashing of Touchdown Derby, to the complex timing of 3 Point Shoot Out, to the tension inducing Nearest The Pin golf challenge, none of these games really tax the brain overly. Instead, they rely on fast reflexes, timing, and dexterity. This makes them perfect for fast competitive gaming sessions, particularly ones involving 2 or more players.
The graphics are the usual standard we have come to expect from SEGA, and the sound is functional, if unspectacular. (Hihgpoint being 'GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL' from Long Shoot.) But, remember, this is a straight arcade port, and isn't meant to be filling your life with wonder. It is meant to be a fun game, and in this, it succeeds more than admirably. Of course, nobody does straight arcade ports anymore, and there is the option to pick the games in any order, as opposed to the machine choosing them. (This is particularly useful for avoiding the nightmare that is Puck Rally.)
Of particular mention is the way that 2 good players can have immensely satisfying battles in this game. And yet, even a relative newcomer still stands a chance, being as the skills required are all veteran skills that anyone who has ever played Track & Field will have in abundance. Think Bishi Bashi Special, only not as mental.
All in all, job well done SEGA.
I can't give this game a huge score, mainly because in the single player stakes, it would be extremely short lived. But, if you remember that the game was never really meant to be played single player. As a party game, it is up at the top of the pile, but solo, you are not going to get the best out of it.
Community review by cheekylee (Date unavailable)
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