Review - White Men Can't Jump

Fancy reviewing a Atari Jaguar Game with a modern eye? Then do it here :)

Warning: Grammar-Nazi's are shot on site.

Moderator: a31chris

Post Reply
User avatar
Trev
3DO ZONE MOD
Posts: 4033
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: States
Contact:

Review - White Men Can't Jump

Post by Trev » Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:49 pm

Image

Loosely based on the movie, and I mean loosely (theme, title, and … um? :? ) White Men Can’t Jump is a 2 on 2 half court basketball game that favors rough street style play over the real deal. Fouls, goal tends, and unrealistic dunks are all in ample supply. While it should have succeeded in providing a much needed boost to the Jaguar's small sports library, it really didn’t succeed. Now I certainly don’t agree with the many critics (and even a surprising number of Jaguar fans) who say that this is the consoles worst game (In my opinion, Fight for Life ends that argument quickly) but I will readily admit that the game isn’t very good. The best it can (lame pun alert :oops: ) shoot for, is average.

The game has many of options and gets an early plus for offering plenty of teams to pick. Better have a manual handy though if you want to know what the bars under the player’s names stand for …shot accuracy, energy, and speed for those who lack it (this info really should have been included) The courts, while not as numerous as the players, are truly different, and I appreciate the amount of visual variety. A tournament mode offers longevity that single games lack, and a versus mode is always welcome (this game supports 4 players, as it debuted the team tap) Things seem okay to start.

The graphics may have you whistling a different tune though. The appearance of the “Breakleg Brothers” (they move the lame story along, as you need to win money in matches to pay them back) sets the stage for disappointing visuals. Ignoring their cheesy clichéd appearance (ugly 80’s sports coat, smokes hanging from their mouths, dark shades, etc...) they have little animation, and the stand out like cardboard cutouts with pop-up book movements. :lol:

Image

Once you actually start playing … I’m not quite sure how to describe it. The graphics are rather ugly, yet at the same time almost ambitious for a Jag game (if that makes any sense) Somewhat of a mixed bag, I’ve boiled my main issues down to 2 things.

1 - The graphics are simply much too dark (this is a trait I’ve notice in many Jag games, sadly) Seriously, It looks like the Shadows of Babylon 5 fame invaded this cartridge I found it was often difficult to even just find the ball in this game's drab appearance, and thought long and hard about adjusting the brightness on my television.

The game actually does have an interesting look with some good detail, large characters, solid colors, texture mapping, etc ... but it's so hard to appreciate what you can't see well! This very unfortunate darkness element is frankly much too severe to overlook, and any who’ve played this game can surely testify to this awful choice. :evil:

2 - The moving camera is a burdensome issue. While it tries to be helpful, it ends up moving too much. Its jerkiness made me lose orientation several times. Between this and the aforementioned darkness, I found myself developing a headache after a few matches.

Image

On the audio end, I think I was a couple matches in before I actually even noticed the game’s music. I’m tempted to give props to the generic tunes, if only for not distracting me, but I think they were just drowned out in the sound effects and speech. Speaking of which, the speech is nice and clear and fits the game very well. I think it adds to the package myself, but if you play for a lengthy time you may find yourself getting a bit annoyed, as it does repeat.

Control is not what it needs to be for a sports game. The players move too slowly and passing is a chore. Rather than tapping the button, you need to hold it down. Not only does this slow the action, but it is counterintuitive as it bucks the trend of nearly every other basketball game, whether a simulation or arcade style. As a result, I often just stuck with one player, which isn’t nearly as much fun. :(

As long as I’m griping, I did not care for the dunks (although I’m guessing this was to be a selling point) For a game that seems to be trying to present a semi-realistic approach to street ball, the dunks from beyond the 3-point arc stood out in a poor way. I’d much rather play NBA Jam for the Jag!

Image Image

This game is tough to play for extended sessions, and it also doesn’t prompt much in the way of repeated plays. So yes, WMCJ is a poor game … but it is playable, and far from the Jag’s worst in my honest opinion. If you are a fan of basketball (I am) and love multiplayer games (I do) than this game may offer a bit more to bump it closer to average. Just make sure to keep the Bayer nearby. :wink:

Image

-Trev
Most wanted - Eye of Typhoon, 3DO Magazines issues #14 & #15, Pro Stadium, Defcon 5

User avatar
Trev
3DO ZONE MOD
Posts: 4033
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: States
Contact:

Post by Trev » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:50 pm

This one never got any comments ... I hope it's just cause nobody's played this underwhelming game, and not because my review sucks. :P
Most wanted - Eye of Typhoon, 3DO Magazines issues #14 & #15, Pro Stadium, Defcon 5

User avatar
a31chris
Jaguar MOD
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:09 am

Re:

Post by a31chris » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:31 am

I'll give it a comment. I like WMCJ. I think it plays very well with a friend. My friend and I have a blast with it when we play. It is similiar to NBA Jam in how it plays except more 3D. Not bad single player once you get into it either.

As for the graphics, they are bitmaps which is why they are most of the time consider 'ugly'. But are IMO quite beautiful for what they are and shows off the Jaguars ability to rotate and scale large colorful bitmaps easily.
Adisak Pochanayon wrote:There were a lot of things that could have made WMCJ better. Very few of them were under my control.

NBA Jam on the Jaguar was a better game though. It was my second Jaguar game and I was a lot more familiar with the system and it had much more polished art and sound.
What came after the Jaguar was the PS1 which for all it's greatness, ushered in corporate development and with it the bleached, repetitive, bland titles which for the most part we're still playing today. - David Wightman

User avatar
Martin III
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 972
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:32 am
Location: United States of America

Re:

Post by Martin III » Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:12 pm

Trev wrote:This one never got any comments ... I hope it's just cause nobody's played this underwhelming game, and not because my review sucks. :P
Surely they wouldn't be reading the review if they own the game already? :P

I liked the review. Informative and to the point. Not sure why I read it since I have no plans to get a Jaguar... for some reason I like to read about Jaguar games even though hardly any of them provide the least temptation to buy the system. But I would feel confident in avoiding White Man Can't Jump solely on the basis of this review.

User avatar
a31chris
Jaguar MOD
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:09 am

Re: Re:

Post by a31chris » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:36 am

Martin III wrote:
Trev wrote:This one never got any comments ... I hope it's just cause nobody's played this underwhelming game, and not because my review sucks. :P
Surely they wouldn't be reading the review if they own the game already? :P

I liked the review. Informative and to the point. Not sure why I read it since I have no plans to get a Jaguar... for some reason I like to read about Jaguar games even though hardly any of them provide the least temptation to buy the system. But I would feel confident in avoiding White Man Can't Jump solely on the basis of this review.
The best thing is to try it yourself sometime if you attend any kind of Retro game get together. Its not a horrible game. Its decent. Its HVS very first game on the Jag. Its not perfect but it is IMO nowhere near as bad as everyone makes it out. I enjoy it more than I enjoy slam 'n Jam 95 for 3DO. I put off getting it for years because of all the negative press it received. When I finally grabbed it for like $5 with packaging and instructions I was pleasently surprised.
What came after the Jaguar was the PS1 which for all it's greatness, ushered in corporate development and with it the bleached, repetitive, bland titles which for the most part we're still playing today. - David Wightman

User avatar
Trev
3DO ZONE MOD
Posts: 4033
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: States
Contact:

Re: Review - White Men Can't Jump

Post by Trev » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:47 pm

I was with you until you said you enjoyed WMCJ more than Slam n Jam. :P

Appreciate the comments guys.
Most wanted - Eye of Typhoon, 3DO Magazines issues #14 & #15, Pro Stadium, Defcon 5

User avatar
Martin III
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 972
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:32 am
Location: United States of America

Re: Re:

Post by Martin III » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:13 am

a31chris wrote:The best thing is to try it yourself sometime if you attend any kind of Retro game get together.
They have retro game get togethers? :shock:

User avatar
a31chris
Jaguar MOD
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:09 am

Re: Review - White Men Can't Jump

Post by a31chris » Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:26 am

Trev wrote:I was with you until you said you enjoyed WMCJ more than Slam n Jam. :P

Appreciate the comments guys.

Haha. Yeah I like games that are simpler. To me WMCJ is somewhat like a 3D NBA Jam. With MK style slam dunk fatalities. That I'm almost never able to pull off... damn ... it...
What came after the Jaguar was the PS1 which for all it's greatness, ushered in corporate development and with it the bleached, repetitive, bland titles which for the most part we're still playing today. - David Wightman

User avatar
a31chris
Jaguar MOD
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:09 am

Re: Review - White Men Can't Jump

Post by a31chris » Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:58 pm

Trev wrote:I was with you until you said you enjoyed WMCJ more than Slam n Jam. :P

Appreciate the comments guys.
Let me clarify this some more. I enjoy simplistic sports games. This plays to me like NBA Jam in 3D. It's more simplistic in its controls than Slam 'n Jam. What kills modern sports game for me is the it can get kinda convoluted with how to go about doing things. WMCJ is more arcadey to me and I like that.
What came after the Jaguar was the PS1 which for all it's greatness, ushered in corporate development and with it the bleached, repetitive, bland titles which for the most part we're still playing today. - David Wightman

User avatar
Saturn
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:16 pm

Re:

Post by Saturn » Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:17 pm

Trev wrote:This one never got any comments ... I hope it's just cause nobody's played this underwhelming game, and not because my review sucks. :P
Very nice review! This is the first time I've been in here (Game Reviews section) and after reading it, I'm (almost) tempted to give it another chance. I only played once, for a good 47 seconds so I'm positive I can't appreciate any of the good points it has to offer. Thanks for such a detailed and informative post 8)

Post Reply