Tag: Sports

150 SNES games reviewed #32: NBA All-Star Challenge

The game I am going to be talking about is NBA All-Star Challenge. It was developed by Beam Software and published by LJN (Acclaim in japan). It was released in Europe in 1993.

Back when I was younger there was only one NBA game that ever got plugged into my SNES, and there was only one NBA related game that I ever played at friends’ houses. To cut this rambling intro short, it wasn’t this one.

The first thing you will notice upon playing NBA All-Star Challenge are the gameplay options. There’s one-on-one, three point challenge and horse. This is the game’s first problem. You will have most likely bought it expecting to play full real games of basketball and here you are playing games that only involve two players one either side, and only involve half a court.

When it comes to picking your player, you’re not met with a list of names or even player pictures. No you’re met with a list of 27 teams, and when you click on one of these teams you will see the player that the team has been allotted. So if you are a fan of basketball you better hope you can remember who played for who back when this game was released and hope that they were the chosen one for that team. Of course if you’re not so keen on basketball as a sport and just like a knock around fun sports video game to mess around on this point is a bit mute. Still the main body of this game feels like something that would be just a bonus/side mode in another game which is not a good start.

On television a one-on-one shooting challenge would be a kind of exciting showdown a chance for ballers to see who is the better man away from the confines of the game, with no help from your team mates. You would think that in this situation if you get two legends facing off then the crowd would chant, scream and explode. Picture this in your mind, then take that picture and turn it into a video game. Imagine the sprites shooting the cheers as they score the painful exhaled noises of disappointment, still sounds like it could be a decent concept for a game if it was treated in this way doesn’t it?

Well now I have made you build a pretty picture I am afraid I am going to smash it. Is there chanting? Is there clapping? No, there is no sound whatsoever, except the thud of the dribbling and that scuffling trainer sort of noise. No crowd interaction, no music to reflect if you’re winning or loosing, no music at all. This same dreariness carries over in to the graphics. Sure they’re not bad but they’re not good either. The players don’t really look like who they are supposed to be. Sure they might be the right skin colour and roughly the right height, but beyond that they just look like a bunch of palette swaps all of them moving running and shooting in the same fashion.

The game is not bad for what it is, the controls were at first a little confusing. You have to press a button to jump and then press it again to shoot. And heck, if you press it but decide you dont really like your shot chances well you’re going to have to just press it again anyways because otherwise you’ll be charged with travelling. The crucical thing to get over here is that this is not a basketball video game in the way that something like FIFA is a football game. No instead it is a small basketball-based minigame collection which is only really any good for a couple of hours of entertainment at best. I am certain if I had this as a kid it would have kept me busy for like one rainy afternoon and that would be it. I do think that the game is slightly better in two-player but not by miles. So when considering this game and what kind of score it should get well I guess it would be  something like four out of 10 taking everything in to account.

If your thinking of getting this game I will tell you that most of the copies I can currently find online cartridge only are around the £6 to £8 mark including postage and packaging. My copy was a NTSC copy I managed to find online for £3 with free postage. I don’t want to name names and spoil things but there is a much better NBA-related game out there and i’d hold my pennies back for that.

150 SNES games reviewed #28: Ryan Giggs Champions World Class Soccer

Ryan Giggs Champions World Class Soccer was the game I played a little last night as well as early this morning. It is obviously a football (soccer) game and it was released on the SNES as well as the Mega Drive. It was developed by Park Place Productions and published by Acclaim.

You might not have heard of Park Place Productions largely because they were a bit of a bright light that burnt out very quickly. They were founded in 1989 and in 1993 they had become the largest independent developer of computer games. They had  130 developers making 45 games for 14 different publishers. At the end of December 1993 the company collapsed spectacularly. Basically they didn’t hit some targets they had been set by publishers and as a result of this they were denied payments, pulled out of contracts and literally left Park Place Productions up the creek without a paddle.

The first thing to note is that the whole Ryan Giggs thing is a bit of a con. The UK release featured a picture of the player on the game box and the cartridge label but any real connection to the guy or inclusion of his name ends there. The German version featured a player famous to them Sepp Maier, and the French featured a team likely to interest them, Paris Saint-Germain. None of the three have anything to do with the game beyond the box art and cartridge label though so from now on sod Giggs I will be referring to this as Champions World Class Soccer (or CWC Soccer if I get lazy).

Modes of play included in the game are the standard type, exhibition match and tournament mode. There are the obvious options to turn certain things off and mess with how long the matches last etc but nothing out of the ordinary.

The game’s presentation is pretty decent. There is a TV announcer talking about the match before it starts – talking as in text along the bottom of the screen, but the text is pretty cool. It mentions which team you are and what is good or bad about you. For example I got something on the lines of the following for my first match: “England have always been good at defence but there shooting record is a little unpredictable”. The in game graphics are pretty much the bog standard average football game graphics from this point in time so I don’t have a lot to say about them, they don’t make or break the game.

I like the fact that there is a big blue star around the character you are in control of. It is very easy to know who you are and then there is a button which seems to exist just to help you do little tricks either dribbling the ball around your feet, turning backwards for a second or shooting forward quickly – well, quickly for this game. Unfortunately this is the point at which my review has to get a little bit sour I am afraid that personally I feel that the gameplay is bad. The game is slow, both passing and shooting are hard and frustrating to the point you’ll soon find yourself turning the air blue. Sometimes it takes a few seconds for your character to become properly attached to the ball like you do in most football games. You will have ran on to the ball and it just wont end up under your control so you’ll be running backwards and forwards hoping it attaches to you and then a computer controlled player will just run straight up and claim it with no problem or pause in proceedings.

In my opinion this game is the worst SNES football game I have played so far. I like the TV start, I like the fact it makes it obvious who you are but I don’t really like the controls or the gameplay. It also didn’t give me my any of my demands such as great goal scoring animations or a voice shouting “Goal!”. I would give this game four out of 10 . It’s not unplayable but there are much better games out there for your cash. If you decide that you simply need this game to live the good point is it will cost you only £4 or £5 to buy it online and get it posted to you.

150 SNES games reviewed #24: Super Fire Pro Wrestling 3 Easy Type

Super Fire Pro Wrestling 3 Final Bout was released in 1993 as part of the Fire Pro Wrestling series.

Due to a large number of complaints about the game’s difficulty, developer Human Entertainment released Super Fire Pro Wrestling 3 Easy Type which is the version I own. The main difference in it – apart from a substantial lowering of the difficulty – is all of the hidden wrestlers are unlocked from the get go.

The first thing you will notice once you get past the vast screen of Japanese which represents your choices, you will be met with what I think is fair to say is a massive list of characters. You will scroll through some of them going: ‘No idea who he is’ or ‘Oh he looks neat’, and then you’ll fall upon US wrestling stars most of us will likely know such as Hulk Hogan, Sting, Rick Steiner and the Ultimate Warrior. Each wrestler is ranked based on their attacking and defensive abilities, and their running speed. There are approximately 60 wrestlers in total, which if you compare this number to other wrestling games back at roughly this sort of time is impressive. Another interesting thing to note is that the original version of this game Super Fire Pro Wrestling 3 Final Bout was the first game worked on by the now famous Suda51.

The game initially looks quite simple. The graphics are not great but the game controls well, and has all of the moves you’d expect in a wrestling game – punching, grappling, running, etc. The game is full of little things which make you warm to it though. I obviously don’t have a massive knowledge of 90s Japanese wrestlers but I have picked every single WWF/WWE and WCW star who appears on the roster, and I have been able to work out who they are (their names are in Japanese so this has been done purely based on the fact they obviously look like who they are supposed to be), and I have played as them, instantly noting that the moves they use are moves frequently used by their real-life counterparts. The Warrior does the gorilla press, Hulk Hogan does his signature leg drop and so on and so on. There are digitised sounds that come from the wrestlers and cheers that come from the audience members, the music is fitting and overall this adds to the experience. Two of the buttons on your controller are used for strong blows, another button is used for low blows and the other face button makes you run.

The language is a bit of a barrier. It took me a bit of messing around choosing this and then that option, with no idea of what I was selecting. But once I got myself into career mode it was easy enough to play round after round and make some progress, and I have to admit that I was enjoying it. If someone was interested in this game I wouldn’t say it is too heavy going, but you need to be the kind of person willing to work around the language barrier.

The score I am giving to this game is 6.5 out of 10. this score is not an overall mark of the game’s quality, it’s the mark of how much fun your typical English SNES fan would have with it, taking into consideration issues such as having to fiddle with the language barrier, how it has aged, etc. I think if you were someone who could read Japanese when this game came out it would have been the absolute mutt’s nuts it would have been an easy eight or nine out of 10.

If you’re after this, well it might be hard. I have seen a few copies of the regular version of this for around £13, some boxed, some cart only, but you’ll need a Japanese machine, an import converter or a modified machine. As for the exact version I have reviewed the Easy Type version, I haven’t managed to find one for sale at the moment. It is an interesting game I would recommend you read about it, watch videos on it, etc. But I think your money in this case is better spent elsewhere either on a more modern wrestling game with all the bells and whistles or something a little easier and cheaper to get on the SNES (for example Exhaust Heat).

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