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Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa (PC) artwork

WARNING: This review is Canon.


Amateur video games... AKA vidcons...

I have always had a bit of a soft side for the amateur work. To imagine people toiling about in their games with care, never minding the fact that someone was getting somewhat rich somewhere doing the same, definitely translates into an example of love.

And then, by the end of this love affair, a child was born. This child was 'Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden', the highly anticipated heir to 'Barkley Shut Up and Jam' & 'Barkley Shut Up and Jam 2'. (for those who don't know, these two games are somewhat decent, but unfortunately for them are clones of 'NBA JAM', a much superior game compared to the two)

'Twas with curiosity that I approached what was heralded as the best cyber-postapocaliptic RPG ever made. I couldn't help but feel drawn to aid a man redeem himself and his outlawed, dangerous sport of B-Ball.

Could this amateur game... sorry, amateur VIDCON, hold up alongside its seasoned non-amateur peers? Would it hold up well to them and not disappoint?!

Sadly, it did disappoint. 'Barkley Gaiden' failed to produce in me feelings other (commercial) games do produce.

For starters, it failed to not intrigue me. The intro splash screen to this game is absolutely awesome, enough to seriously make me consider putting it up as my desktop wallpaper. Alongside played the 'Space Jam' theme song, finally giving that movie a reason to have existed. The game has not even started and already it has blown me away. Drat!

And then it happened again: it failed to make me apathetic. As you are introduced to the protagonist, Charles Barkley, you get to view a Grade-A cutscene with top-notch dialogue setting the mood of things to follow. It is all done with such flawlessness that I could not possibly know why those tears were flowing my eyes. Was it due to Charles' inner duel with the need to be a better father and having enough to give his son a better life than his? Or was it because I was laughing madly at the B-ball parodies, the Shadowrun references, and the addicts to fried chicken?!

Of course, not all in this RPG is brilliant bi-lingual dialogue (choose between 'english' and 'al bhed' languages for the game) and hilarious references. There had to be a bit of menu-based combat. And when the battles pop up, once again 'Barkley Gaiden' fails miserably. It fails to be boring. I mean, any decent RPG has to have menu-based battles that consist o pressing attack repeatedly, right?! Well, not here! No, you have to carefully choose if you shall strike with incredible forbidden zaubers or with mad verbotem jams. And it does not stop there either, you must gauge your assaults carefully and wisely, just like you would in a sports game. It really shows that these developers did not learn the lessons of other RPG games (vidcons) and went off making their own clever-funny-original battle system based on different sorts of attacks for every character.

And then, when everything is all well and good with the game, when it literally gets the ball rolling n' jamming, it once again fails to drop the ball and let the momentum fade away into carelessness. In no moment do the jokes become stale, the dialogue never get sloppy, the combat is always engaging, and the overall experience is ad-eternum bedazzling. I figured I had a heart after all as I felt it pumping liters upon liters of adrenalin in my veins as the time came for the ultimate duel between Charles Barkley and that no-gooder turncoat Michael Jordan.

It summary, 'Barkley Gaiden' didn't come close to what I expected after playing so many other RPGs. It failed to disappoint me. The 0$ I spent in this game will never again be re-funded by this game. It did not deserve this retail price (it deserved a bigger one).


If there was one thing I learned with this whole experience, it was this:

I gotta start playing some better games!

Games like 'Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden'.

If amateur game designers start forking out any more free masterpieces like this one, then Final Fantasy XIII (or higher) needn't bother getting released.

zanzard's avatar
Community review by zanzard (February 10, 2008)

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