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White Men Can’t Jump – Atari Jaguar

White Men Can’t Jump – Atari Jaguar

92025-White_Men_Can't_Jump_(World)-1Platform: Atari Jaguar

Developer: High Voltage Software

Publisher: Atari

Release Date (NA): July 1995

Genre: Sports Games

Nerd Rating: 4 out of 10

In my quest to find more bad games to review, I decided to go spelunking deep into the treacherous caverns of my storage area where only the greatest of rejects are laid to rest. With one console hot on my mind, I tunneled deeper and deeper to the farthest reaches of my useless and forgotten material possessions. There, I unearthed one of the most wretched, vile of home consoles – a forgotten feline flop for the ages. That’s right, I pulled out my dust-shrouded Atari Jaguar.

consoleFront

Don’t you just love that Jaguar crust on the outer edges? No, this isn’t my actual unit pictured, but it goes to show that the Atari Jaguar is not the kind of system one is inclined to take care of

Just as any console lot you might pick up without any intention of ever actually playing, mine came with a random assortment of six games. Fortunately, one was Alien vs. Predator, but the rest were all forgettable titles. When such is the case, your criteria for selection is “Hmm, this looks bad. Let me take it for a whirl.” And that is exactly what happened when I popped in White Men Can’t Jump.

Let me start off by noting that while this selection was made solely with the intention of writing a bad review, the more I played it, the more I found myself having fun.

Rest assured, it’s still just as awful as you’d expect it to be. I merely got sideswiped by an unexpected bout of entertainment. And who knows? Once you figure out what the hell is going on, you might find yourself regrettably enjoying this guilty pleasure, all while in the very back regions of your mind a thought lingers, a knowing that this joy is about as wrong as it gets. But let’s break it down and see for ourselves if it’s flaws keep it from being a good experience.

Jaguarredscreenofdeath

I want to note that there is nothing that’ll tense you up more than the Jaguar’s fabled “red screen of death.” After lightly cleaning the cart and a few attempts to surpass that fateful screen, I was in.

Once it started, I got the impression this was based on a movie.

In fact, it does sound familiar, so give me just one second to look this up…

White_men_cant_jumpYes, it’s based on a movie. With Woody Harrelson, no less. I need to watch this now.

Anyway, I’ve never seen this flick so my review will be purely from a gameplay standpoint.

White Men Can’t Jump is a mess. An absolute mess. The way this game is framed makes it nearly impossible to digest anything that’s taking place in front of you. The action is slow, yet all over the place, leaving a confused and hopeless camera to only further your disorientation. After vertigo has made itself nice and comfortable in the hospitable environment of your unwilling brain, you get used to this madness and somehow become one with the experience. It is at this point that you can actually play the game.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 11.32.38 AM

Whoa, hey there camera, what are you doing? The action is over here

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 11.40.58 AMTo make matters worse, everything looks dark and muddled. The graphics are impressively unimpressive. Really, it’s amazing that a “64-bit” system, as they so claim, can bring us something underwhelming by Genesis or SNES standards. And the backgrounds are apathetic re-skins to which you’ll barely pay any attention.

The controls are slow and stiff. When you shoot a basket you’ve just gotta hope that some god of fortune is smiling upon you, or else you’ll probably miss. The ball seems to be calling the shots here in terms of whether it makes it through the hoop or skews far away – almost as if it’s trying to break free of this game with aspirations of being in NBA Jam. Which reminds me…

White Men Can’t Jump feels an awful lot like it’s trying to be NBA Jam. With it’s two-on-two set up, the simplicity of gameplay, and even the occasional soundbite “ugly shot,” it begs the question – Is this game trying to be the next NBA Jam? Probably not, since it’s just a poor, forgettable movie adaptation. But still, those are mighty big shoes you’re trying to wear, game. And by the looks of it, seems like you can’t walk the same walk.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 11.29.57 AM

I mean, with teams like “Street Sharks,” and players such as “Grip,” how is NBA Jam supposed to keep up? And real in-depth stats there, too

By the way, the sound. Oooooh the sound. I picture a recording booth. A random group of people – maybe three or four – and a lazy sound editor. The voices don’t seem to be assigned to anyone in particular. Sometimes a female voice will be heard if a female player is on the court. Sometimes Homer Simpson can be heard blurting out “D’oh!” Seriously, who let Dan Castellaneta into the recording booth?

Either way, you are bombarded with annoying phrases every few seconds. You’ll envy the deaf after a while. Or mute the TV.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 12.40.40 PM

Nonsensical phrases are also thrown onto the screen almost nonstop, which is equally annoying. Banged? Really? What the hell are you even trying to say, game?

White Men Can’t Jump is a hot mess. But if you’re able to look past all the shortcomings of this lacking port and get used to the madness…you may just possibly find yourself having a good time. But you really have to give it a chance – and somewhat understand what’s going on.

Like I said before, after a while the shittiness will make sense and suddenly you’ll find yourself actually playing the game as competently as you can with a title such as this one. Ooooor, maybe I’ve just lost all sense and sanity.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 11.35.11 AM

The “X” over the basket icon to the left of the clock means you cannot shoot. The “take it back” phrase is urging you to run outside the three-point line. Once you’ve made it there, “Clear” will appear on the screen and you may then shoot the ball from any spot on the court

One thing I had to figure out was why I’d make a basket, and then seemingly for no reason the game would tell me it didn’t count. Oh boy, was I ready to rip into White Men Can’t Jump over this, until I started to decipher the archaic clues it was giving me, urging me to run outside the three-point line before I was allowed to score. That’s right. At the start of each round the players must take the ball outside this line before they can go for a point. That’s probably street rules, or from the movie, or whatever. But if you’re like me and haven’t a clue, here I am to clear things up for you. Why? So you can “enjoy” this game? I dunno, all I can say is this one little rule adds a nice spin to this sad NBA Jam wannabe.

Sure, it pales in comparison to NBA Jam, but hey. What can I say? Seriously, I don’t know why I had fun playing this. Even though I did get the hang of White Men Can’t Jump, a toddler getting the hang of taking a shit doesn’t change the fact that you’re still dealing with a turd.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 11.30.32 AM

Who the fuck are these guys anyway?

 

Written by ZB

ZB

Since the tender age of four, I have been playing video games to occupy my free time. Raised on Nintendo and Sega Genesis, I have an extensive knowledge and enthusiasm for the classics. Also an avid collector, I have accrued such consoles as the Atari Jaguar, Super Famicom, Odyssey 2, Sega Nomad, just to name a few.

Got any questions, comments, concerns, or threats? Feel free to email me at zb@nerdbacon.com. I am happy to hear your feedback!

 
 

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2 Comments

  1. Hahaha, perhaps if it was a thing back then, they would have been DLC. Well, maybe this is a reason to remake the game in HD.

     
  2. Those are some bad dudes in your last pic. The game surely would have been better if you could pick them to ball.

     

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