Real Talk By: KJ
A year after ‘NBA Jam’ released, the Data East developed ‘Street Slam’ made its way to the arcade scene. Instead of Jam’s 2 on 2 sanctioned competition, we’ve been bumped up to 3 on 3 play. Gameplay never slows down despite the extra players. The pace this constantly maintains, is a testament to the Neo Geo’s power. All the moves are very easy to do, yet efficient. No juke moves, but there’s plenty of tactics which really work. Pump fake your jump shots, cancel dunks, and perform alley oops.
The game makes it all look smooth. Scoring 4 baskets during a half fills your shot meter. Once full, players can land a unblockable dunk or perfect long-range shot. The super dunks are fantastic. One player launched himself in the air spinning with electricity around him (blanka style), then following it up with the jam. There is more slam dunks to see, and all of which are satisfying. You can’t punch people in the face like ‘Arch Rivals’, but elbow shoving is allowed. This is the games ‘steal’ feature. Get used to the computer spamming it when the game is near its end.
The soundtrack is hilarious retro magic. Some of the tunes are “head bumpingly” awesome. Seriously I would absolutely play this music in my vehicle no questions asked. Sharp sprites on the court and in the background. Some levels feature a lot of background NPC’s all of whom look great. It’s the little touches that add to the experience. If you win on a particular stage, a lady will come up and kiss you on the cheek, while another level has a dog running around the team in excitement. Another court features a live rap performance while you play, and a DJ spinning the Vinyl.
Team attributes are similar to NBA squads of the 90’s. Chicago will have a more balanced crew overall, while team Detroit specializes in lock down defense. My major complaint is that you cannot manually change players on defense. The computer chooses for you. This leads to plenty of opportunities in which the opponent will plow down the court unguarded. Games are usually very close because of that fact. That can be a good thing or bad depending on how you look at it. Slam gives you four credits. The way to keep them, is to of course win the game, and at halftime keep up the lead. Even if your down a point (or tied up) at the half, you’ll lose a credit.
This Wii version is a complete arcade port. You’ll get to appreciate the fluid ballhandling motions of sprites and take in graphics that were stunningly superior to SNES and Genesis. This soundtrack represents everything great about hip hop and street ball in the 90’s. The AI will always give you a run for your money regardless of the difficulty it’s being played on. Two player mode will certainly provide a lot of fun at hangouts. Just another Neo Geo classic to add to the collection. A solid sports title that has style beyond belief.
This is 900 points in the Wii VC shop.
Street Slam Gets
Out of five
+Detailed sprite animations
-Cpu swaps players for you on defense
-Could offer more credits in single player mode