Saturday, 31 March 2018

Slam City with Scottie Pippen (Sega 32X-CD review)

Developer: Digital Pictures
Publisher: Digital Pictures
Released: 1994

Slam City with Scottie Pippen is a Full Motion Video (FMV) basketball game that was also released on the Mega CD in 1994.


There's five opponents and you can choose to play to a time limit (3-9 mins), or until a specific score is reached (7-21 points). 1 billion respect points are needed before you can face Scottie, which can be earned by scoring, dunking, or blocking shots (it also decreases if your rival manages to do these). On Offense, the A button shoots and the B button attempts to break past an opponent. What makes the gameplay so tough is that you have no control over spatial distance; the game wants you to create space, but even when an opening appears the footage will cut away to a completely different scene (e.g. it doesn't match up), and your opponent will easily block your shot. As a result, you either need to guess or get extremely lucky to even score a point, especially as there's no consistency as to how much power is required when shooting. Defensively, A raises your hands, B attempts a block and C attempts a steal. Again, the action is confusing, as you can have perfect positioning, yet the video will cut-away to your adversary breezing past and dunking over you. Similarly, you can be face guarding the opposition and their shot will swish through the hoop while the video makes it seem as if you were playing two metres away! The FMV often transitions far too quickly (giving you no chance to react) and even if you do successfully steal the ball or block a shot it's usually a fluke rather than actual skill. The FMV video lacks detail and I have no idea why the game frequently cuts-away mid-contest to focus on fan interactions and chat-up scenes; this interrupts the flow in favour of cringeworthy acting!

Slam City with Scottie Pippen is an ill-advised FMV sports title that takes the exciting world of basketball and reduces it to a laughing stock. The list of problems is never-ending (especially the shoddy core gameplay and unresponsive controls) and you're much better off playing NBA Jam: Tournament Edition (1995, Sega 32X) instead.

Random trivia: The game wasn't released in Brazil until mid-1996.

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