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When it comes to computer sporting games, it is really important that the gameplay places the player in a mood which makes them feel as if they were really there, playing the game with the same amount of excitment they would experience in real life. I must admit that Crystal Dynamics has successfully accomplished this task making the game of basketball enjoyable even for those who may think they wouldn't enjoy this type of game. This was how I felt before playing Slam'N Jam 95 since I was not very good at the game in high school. In school, I didn't like the game because I couldn't shoot very well and usually ended up as a player watching the game from on court. Slam 'N Jam 95 turns you into a pro basketball player giving you the ability to slam dunk, steel the ball, and shoot hoops even from center court. The feeling of being able to play so well is quite exhilarating! Once you get the controls down pat, you can really start enjoying what the game of basketball is all about.
Slam 'N Jam 95 is designed to be played in three different modes selected from the main menu. The first selection is to play an exhibition match before the new season placing your team against any opponent as a warm-up to the upcoming season. The second selection is a New Season which allows you to start a new basketball season saving your results after each game. Then later on, you can Continue a Season which was saved when you started a new season. The third mode is the Playoffs where you can create a playoff schedule and only play post-season matches. Here too you can save your position and select to continue the playoffs later on. There are also statistics available on the different leagues.
When starting a match, you are given a choice of 27 teams to select from, the player mode you wish to use (one or two players in either manaul play or franchise), and the quarter lenght ranging from 2, 4, 6, 8, or 12 minutes. You can also view the Scouting Report Screen which shows the Home and Away teams with different statistics such as your team's height, shooting percentages, court speed, ball handling and defensive rating. You also see your team's overall league ranking.
The game control is quite easy to learn. You move your players around the court with the Directional Pad (obviously). If you are playing offence, you can shake defenders, pass to another player and shoot towards the basket. When playing defence you can, attemp to steal from the ball handler, toggel through defensive players and block or rebound. In both modes you can pause the game with the play/pause button and watch an instant replay using the Stop button. During an instant replay, you can rewind, fast-forward, replay at normal speed, and move the fast-break camera anywhere on the court. You can't however move the camera 180 degrees to have a view from the other side.
The Graphics are quite good in Slam 'N Jam 95. The players are large sprites and move about on the screen rapidly. Different teams have different uniforms which adds to the realism of the game. Some players will even "show-off" when sinking a basket. There is even a scene where the player shatters the backboard when he slam-dunks and holds on to the hoop. The scoreboard is quite realistic looking and shows up many times throughout the game. In the bottom right hand corner you have a digital clock counting down the time that is left in the quarter you are playing.
During the game you have voice commentaries given by CNN's Van Earl Wright. It's is nice to hear the comments of the game as you play and the croud cheering you on. The sound quality is excellent giving that finishing touch in brining the basketball court to life.
I found it was easier to play offense than defence in the beginning, but with a little practice the defence became a little easier for me. Slam'N Jam '95 is out there waiting for you to pick it up! If you enjoy any basketball, even the slightest amount, you are definitively going to enjoy playing this game!
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