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Jammit

Genre: Sports Developer: GTE Vantage Publisher: Virgin Games Players: 1-2 Released: 1994

Jammit was one of those random games that sat there day after day at Goodwill, as trip after trip passed by the game just kept begging me to buy it out of sheer curiosity since it was probably just another forgotten sports title in the Genesis’ library. The day finally came when my curiosity got the best of me and I paid the $1.99 for the complete copy sitting there on the shelf, I figured that at least the box description was amusing enough to purchase.

I finally got home and tried the game out, I could probably consider it an unusual game in most respects. For lack of better ways to describe it, it is as if NBA Jam and Jordan vs. Bird got kinky and had a child; in other words, it is a game of one on one basketball like Jordan vs. Bird coupled with the all the elements of NBA Jam except this time laced with trash talkin’ opponents and mild adult undertones (no it’s nothing you couldn’t let your 8 year old kid play for all you dirty minds out there). The three selectable courts are full of graffiti and set in what looks to be like the rougher parts of town. There are three playable characters, Slade, Roxy and Chill and each have different skills and attributes to set them apart and each has his or her (Roxy) own lines of trash talk when it comes time for dissin’. Their not afraid to tell each other to “shut up” or call each other suckers or fools, and it’s the trash talking that adds an extra layer of originality to the game.

You and your opponent start each tournament with $300 and have to bet a certain amount of money for each game. You can bet $100, $200, or the full $300 dollars. If you bet the full amount your opponent will play harder, but you can clean house in one game as opposed to three. There’s a ton of different shots you can make, and each button as well as several button combos each perform different shots. You even get to call fouls on your opponent, and if you press start there’s an option called “pump it up,” which is used to replenish your stamina when you start to tire out. Trust me, if you don’t use it at the right times then you’ll never keep up with your opponent.

There are a total of eight different tournaments to compete in, each with a different set of rules. The first one is a simple game of one on one, but each tournament adds new rules. One tournament has a moving X, and points are worth double when you score on the X. Later, you can only score when you shoot from the X, and there’s even a tournament where you can only score when you slam dunk the ball. After each tournament you get a password, and it’s needed since your opponents are fierce enough that the game probably won’t be completed in one sitting. When you finally finish each tournament a fourth and final opponent named Judge challenges you to a death match with his choice of rules, and he has all the combined attributes of your characters and also never runs out of stamina. It’s not long before he cleans house against your player, so you had better be playing well.

Jammit is a fairly detailed game in the graphics department. Real actors were digitized for the game, so there’s a fair amount of realism on display here. There is also a lot of detail present in each court, and each has a dirty and gritty look adding to the realistic feel. When you are close to the net and are going for a slam dunk, the view switches to a cinema view of a close up of the net while you try to slam the ball or stuff your opponent. It gets fairly amusing when you and an opponent keep fighting over the ball and missing in the cinema cam view. It is also common for the CPU-controlled players to make very erratic shots and, they get pretty laughable when in the cinema mode. Unfortunately, the game can often be unfair since the CPU opponent can rebound a ball much faster than you during the cinema view, and it gives them the upper edge more times than I care to mention.

Jammit is a mixed bag with the audio. The players have a lot of different things that they say, and thankfully it’s enough to keep them from sounding repetitive. Most of it is pretty muddy at best though, and for that reason it can become hard on the ears. I actually like the background hip hop-themed music that Virgin chose despite it not being one of my favored genres of music.

If you don’t want to get too involved Jammit, then you can just watch a demo of any style of tournament you want since Virgin included an immediately accessible demo mode in the menu, and it’s actually nice to have on for ambiance when you’re messing around with chores or the like around the house. I have to give it to Virgin for this one. It tried something unique, and it works for the most part. Unfortunately, I can’t give Jammit a real high rating because there’s just not enough variety in the gameplay. The different rules are nice and break the monotony up, but the game still gets old fast. If several more courts had been added, as well as more players and maybe even a two-on-two mode, then I would have liked the game a lot more than I did.

If you like NBA Jam or College Slam, then this game’s for you, but it may be one to pass over if you’re not a diehard sports fan. It can be had for a pittance so don’t be afraid to buy it if you see it and are curious like I was, otherwise just take a pass. If you really want to enjoy Jammit to its fullest then it’s a dish better served with a second player.

SCORE: 6 out of 10

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