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White Men Cant Jump - The Atari Times

White Men Cant Jump

One of the worst games ever
by Dan Loosen

August 2, 2004
I can sum up this game with three words -- worst game ever. Why? This game isn't that bad on controls, the graphics are okay for the Jaguar's time period and the movie property is still recognizable. So what went so horribly wrong with this game that I have declared it as the worst game ever after first playing it? Even more amazing, how could it had kept that title for over five years in which I've subjected myself to monstrosities such as the Lynx version of Pit Fighter, the painful Back to the Future III for the Genesis, the horribly disappointing NEX X-Men title and the disgusting Lynx Kung Food. What makes this game worse than those?

You might be surprised to find out that I think that this game has decent control that once you get the hang of, you can really start taking others to school. In fact, other than being a little slippery at times, I think that the control for this game works very well. The sound, while being completely generic is about all that is needed in this game. The sound quips of the players going back and forth is okay, but suffers from the fact that you'll hear the same one over and over. Variety would have been nice, but then again we look at the time that this game was made and you can let it slide. The graphics are great. The players consist of detailed sprites and the backgrounds are rendered in 3D with texture mapping that the Jaguar manages to pull off. When the action gets intense, the game's frame rate can slow to a crawl but this wasn't anything horrible at the time that the game was released.

The gameplay is decent. You have to square off against a bunch of other teams to raise enough money to get to the huge tournament and try to take your two-player team to the top. If you win, you win money to help get on your way to the tournament. If you lose, you lose money. It's a great way to keep you playing and challenging better and better teams and is quite innovative.

At this point, you're probably wondering why I am heaping such praise onto a game that I considered the worst game ever. In fact, I've praised the graphics, sounds, control and gameplay. What's so wrong with it? It all comes down to two things: the story and the tournament.

The story has absolutely nothing to do with the movie and was detailed above. Earn money. Get to big tournament. Can you win in the big tournament? This isn't a bad story line necessarily, but the story takes time to build up this great tournament. You can play the game for hours to get enough cash to finally make it to the tournament, as I did. There are 15 different teams in the game, so you figure that you'll be placed into this insanely tough tournament where you will end up facing at least 7 of those, and maybe even a mystery team or two, right? WRONG. You play ONE GAME. One game! That's it! You win, you have just won the huge tournament. You lose, it's all over. You go back to the streets to try again. What the heck?

I remember spending so much time working on my game to finally make it to this tournament, and just when I finally got into the game, it slaps me in the face. I won the first game of the tournament by a large margin and was ready for the next round. Suddenly, I get the "Congratulations!" screen and I am trying to figure out if my Jaguar screwed up or if the game has a glitch. Unfortunately, that's it. The game is over. This is the most unsatisfying "ending" to a video game ever. It seems like Atari wanted to make this into a really nice, deep game but decided that the second half of the game didn't really have to exist. This completely ruins the experience, and you have NO reason to ever play the game again. Throw in the towel, this game is done.

That ending, and that ending alone ruins what could have been an interesting challenger to the NBA Jam games that were popular at the time. Instead, we end up with a game that is over as soon as we start to like it. This game is actually worse than games that are bad from start to finish because it had so much potential, but Atari decided that they didn't need to spend a few days finishing it off and instead rushed this horrible game to market. Don't get lured in by the graphics, sound, control or initial thoughts of gameplay. Avoid this game like the plague. It gets the overall rating of 5% only because it comes with a packed in Team Tap that you can use for NBA Jam.

Where's Snipes and Harrelson when you need them?
It does have a nice 3D look to it.
Such catchy sayings, huh?
White Men Cant Jump
System: Jaguar
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Sports
Graphics Score: 75%
Sound & Music Score: 50%
Gameplay Score: 80%
Control Score: 65%

Final Score: 5%

Reader Comments for White Men Cant Jump

WMCJ - I like it! by LS650 on 2006-10-18 14:06:17
Just as some bad games have a few fans, WMCJ isn't universally hated. I've noticed that fans of sports team games usually hate this one, where as folks who don't normally like such games seem to appreciate this one more. Why? Maybe because it's cartoonish and not difficult? I don't know, but this is about the only team sports game for the Jaguar that I play. The graphics are not bad for early-90s, and I kind of like some of the voice-overs: "Get off me, man!"
Blech. by Stieve the wonder dog on 2007-01-20 10:22:27
Nuff said.
Not so bad Ghetto style by Fsporsche on 2008-10-01 09:21:20
Its ghetto style basketball...I have actually enjoyed playing this game with my friends using the team-tap...It does have a fun factor involved, the graphics are not bad, sound is good and the controls are fine.
Phat Game by Bruiser on 2015-04-16 01:47:55
Still come here for the reviews while I get my episodes together... There will be a few strong words regarding tournament mode in an upcoming review but as far as 2-player Jaguar games go, you could do a lot worse... Though Jaguar owners are a pretty lonely bunch.
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