Game Description: In Sega Soccer Slam, you'll unleash merciless kicks, tackles, and steals against excitable, colorful characters from all over the world. Each character in this game wields special powers and moves that earn the big score. Get to the random spotlight that appears on the field and your character will shoot skyward with the ball and slam it toward the unsuspecting goalie. In quest mode, you can unlock secret stadiums and uncover hidden items to improve your already stellar performance. Watch the intensity rise as you utilize your new power moves in other game modes. If you're a little rusty on the field, practice mode will get you going again. When you're confident in your smash mouth hits and soccer tackles, throw in some bad weather and gather up a bunch of friends for a rowdy round-robin tournament.
Soccer never caught much popularity in the U.S. We tried to like it. During the short span of a few months in the early 1990s, soccer fever hit the States, complete with a McDonald's endorsement. But it proved to be just another passing fad. America went on, largely ignoring the sport.
Soccer videogames receive the same kind of treatment. They do exist; they just don't get that much attention. Each year, dozens of soccer-related titles hit several different game systems, and certain people take to them because of a genuine love for the sport. Unfortunately, the majority of gamers seem to overlook the titles in search of something a bit flashier.
Sega has created an anomaly in the paradigm with Sega Soccer Slam. Gamers looking for flash will notice this title from the moment they see the disc case. Right off the bat, Soccer Slampresents itself as something different from the traditional soccer videogame. In the clearest sense, Soccer Slam is an extreme take on the sport, focusing on competition and personalities rather than authentic re-creation.
The name of the game is still soccer, however. Teams of three play against one another to score the most goals before two periods are up,except in Soccer Slam the rules of the game don't apply. Once the clock starts, the game doesn't stop no matter how dirty a person plays. Players are allowed to beat each other around as much as necessary and pull off moves that would get any real soccer player tossed out of the stadium. The size of the playing field is also reduced, giving the action a more frantic pace than in traditional soccer titles.
As I said above, competition is the main aspect of Soccer Slam. Gamers don't have to be familiar with the rules of soccer to play. The prevalent goal is simply to win the match. Without rules to bog down the player, the game allows for a more casual style of play. I know virtually nothing about soccer, save a few odds and ends. I could still enjoy Soccer Slam, because the game is aimed at the more general audience, which isn't the case with most soccer titles.
Soccer Slam focuses more on being a videogame than the simulation of a real sport. The annunciation of the characters is part of this strategy. The teams generally represent a certain corner of the world. For instance, one team contains characters from Western Europe, while another focuses on Central and South Americathere's even an American team (for those who doubt U.S. involvement with anything soccer related). Each team has three distinct characters, each with their own unique personality. Stereotypes run wild in Soccer Slam's roster, which represents different ethnic cultures. There's the brash and loud Scotsman, who wears a kilt on the field; a crew cut, nationalistic Russian; a mathematical-speaking, half-cyborg Japanese woman; and a lumbering American, complete with surfer lingo and football padding. Soccer Slam doesn't score any points for being politically correct, but the representations are all in good fun. They definitely make playing on the field more interesting, especially after one of them scores a goal.
When it all comes down to the wire, Sega Soccer Slam is still a soccer game. Off-the-wall characters, no rules matches—they might attract more attention to the title than if it were a traditional-style soccer game. But soccer is soccer is soccer is soccer. That's not a bad thing. Soccer Slam is an innovative title, and it presents an excellent strategy to market a sport that receives little attention here in the U.S. It's hard to ignore Soccer Slam—that is, oncea gamer is sitting down and playing it.
Disclaimer:This review is based on the GameCube version of the game.
In sports games, there is a clear split between two different groups. One group of games does their best to simulate a sport, whereas the other group takes the sport and changes it in an obvious manner. This latter group is widely referred to as the arcade-style sports games, and Sega Soccer Slam definitely falls into this category, and for the most part it works. By using fewer players, Sega allows for greater detail being attached to each player, as well as other numerous touches, including almost entirely polygonal crowdsa very welcome sight in a sports game.
Soccer Slam really stands apart from other arcade-style sports games by going just a bit farther than other similar titles do. Generally, an arcade-style game mainly changes the rules of the game itself. Soccer Slam also makes a big change in the artistic department, using physically exaggerated players with appropriately cartoon personalities. In this case, letting go of even the appearance of a simulation gives Soccer Slam a very playful and visually attractive style that fits the zany gameplay perfectly.
The real meat of the game is the Quest mode, where you can guide a team to global domination while gathering items that increase the stats of your players. Its quite fun, although only having 6 different teams means that the replay value is somewhat limited. Aside from Quest mode, youre allowed to play friendlies and tournaments, but you can tell that most of the work went into Quest.
One disappointing aspect of Soccer Slam is the occasional bugs that crop up during play. Characters will sometimes get stuck in a single frame of animation, leading them to dribble the ball while appearing completely frozen, and will remain that way until an action button is pressed. Sometimes the players will get stuck inside the goals, which can get particularly annoying when that player is the goalie as that all but guarantees a goal if the other team shoots.
Although its less of a bug and more like a gripe, the animations for when the characters kick the ball seem particularly unrealistic. More often than not, a player will take a shot off the outside of his foot when the angle would suggest that a regular shot off their instep would be easier to pull off and probably more effective.
Another gripe would be the fact that although Soccer Slam is very arcade-y in terms of gameplay, that there are areas that are left a bit too pedestrian. For example, there are the different soccer fields. There are three generic stadiums, plus special unlockable fields for each team. Although each of the stadiums has unique art that make them stand out from one another, there are no changes that actually affect gameplay. It would have been nice to have differently shaped fields, fields with obstacles, or at least surfaces that caused the ball to act differently. As it is, its nice having new eye-candy, but considering youre playing wacky soccer, it would have been nice to have the game be a bit wackier in places.
Overall, Soccer Slam is an entertaining game. Even upon having completed Quest mode with a couple teams, I was perfectly willing to try and run through the game with the other teams, unlocking items for the different players and gaining the special stadiums. Its definitely a bright spot in the canon of arcade sports titles so far and one of the better titles available for the GameCube.
Disclaimer: This review is based on the GameCube version of the game.
According to ESRB, this game contains: Mild Violence
Parents need not worry about the young ones playing Sega Soccer Slam. Everything about the game is clean fun. Even though the title doesn't exhibit the best sportsman-like attitude, all violent encounters are handled in a comical fashion. There is no foul language, as most of the speech consists of the characters bragging about the goals they just scored.
Fans of soccer and soccer videogames should also check out Soccer Slam. It may not be what you're used to seeing in the sport, but it will definitely allow fans to play soccer in a whole new light.
Gamers with a lot of buddies will also appreciate Soccer Slam's multiplayer experience. Gathering three friends to play on the same team is especially fun, and it promotes teamwork. Additionally, gamers have the option of stomping their pals into the ground on another team. Unless you really enjoy wacky sports titles, single players might want to rent Soccer Slam first. A game like this really isn't all that interesting by oneself.