throws a three pointer to win!
Sometimes you have to wonder about video-game
licenses. Basing a game on a summer action movie is
understandable - ideally, the game will capture and
duplicate the same thrills from the movie. But not all
movies lend themselves to video-game-adaptation; what
do you do with an emotional character piece like "Driving
Miss Daisy," or a subtle comedy such as "Dead
That's the case with White Men Can't Jump.
Loosely based on the Mirimax film, this cartridge offers
two-on-two street basketball in various suburban locales.
The action is seen from the half court line, with a
screen view that pans and zooms to follow the action.
Players can opt for a single game or the Slam City tournament,
while game options determine time limits, scoring system,
and control schemes. There are fifteen teams to choose
from, and up to four players (with the Jaguar Team Tap
adapter) can get in on the action.
White Men Can't
Jump has the ingredients
for a solid street basketball game, but isn't completely
successful in assembling them into an integrated whole.
The games most notable feature, the constantly-shifting
dynamic view, is also a source of some confusion; the
"camera" is often near ground level, which
can make determining the position of the players and
the ball a bit confusing. Indicator arrows and practice
helps, but an option to lock the view would have been
nice as well.
Because White Men Can't Jump
is an adaptation of half-court street basketball, there
aren't many rules to get in the way. Aside from a goal
tending penalty and the need to clear the ball, anything
goes. For instance, steals are effected by shoving an
opponent and making a grab for the ball. It's a tad
rougher than your typical NBA-sanctioned basketball
title, but things don't get too chaotic, as aggressive
players are penalized by taking longer to recover from
falls. Still, basketball purists might not welcome the
With the Jaguar
Team Tap up to four people can play simultaneously.
This is the games highest point, as playing with three
friends leads to some wild and exciting sessions. For
one or two players, there's also the tournament mode,
where the idea is to win enough money in street games
for a chance at the Slam City finals. The teams in the
tournament get harder with higher bets, and there are
six levels of difficulty available for single-session
assorted flaws, there are enough plusses to make White Men Can't Jump
worth playing. The computer players are reasonably intelligent,
and there's none of the "attribute boost"
cheating that occurs in some games, such as NBA Jam. The
fifteen different teams vary widely in skills and attributes,
and mastering them all will take quite some time. Finally,
a number of flashy "super dunks" are available
by performing special moves with the joypad, and there's
some cheap, vicarious thrill in finding and mastering
each characters dunks.
The graphics on White Men Can't Jump
are among some of the most impressive and ambitious
on the Jaguar to date, but they're hampered by a few
hitches. High-resolution, highly-detailed sprites are
combined with texture-mapped graphics to excellent effect,
and the dynamic view always keeps the focus on the action.
Indicators and scores are easy to read, though some
of the tournament screens look a little amateurish.
On the other hand, the frame rate is a merely passable
16 frames per second, which looks choppy at times, and
the static backgrounds are disappointing. Finally, the
colors could have been better; there are too many dark
and dull hues, which gives the game a dim, washed-out
to the graphics, the sound effects and music are little
more than adequate. Game sounds consist of the standard
dribbling ball and net swish, along with a number of
"street talk" voice samples. While the voices
are clear and the samples are fairly varied, they're
played too frequently, which makes them repetitious
after a while. The game music is entirely forgettable;
though it's neither horrible nor irritating, it's also
deathly dull, and sounds entirely like an afterthought.
White Men Can't Jump
is a good game, but not a great one - at times, the
action can get too chaotic for some players. The dynamic
camera view is catchy but slightly flawed, and the sounds
are merely passable. Yet in the end, it is a decent
title; players who like rough-and-tumble action and
those looking for a good Jaguar party game will be satisfied
with this cartridge.