Sega Soccer Slam
Back in the day, NFL Blitz sparked a revolution amongst sports games. Most sports games at the time were very statistic dependent and insanely in-depth, which turned off many who wanted just a pick up and play game. Sure there were games like NBA Jam on the market, but Blitz really defined what an arcade sports title should be: fun, fast and exciting. Now, gentle reader whom clicked the tagline even though you were warned not to, you must be wondering what the hell I am rambling on about, as this is not a review of NFL Blitz. No, this is quite obviously a review for Sega Soccer Slam, a game for Xbox. But you see my friend; Sega Soccer Slam is the Blitz of Soccer.
Sega Soccer Slam (Henceforth to be dubbed SSS) has one thing going for it that makes me like it over regular soccer games. It’s not slow as all hell. No, in SSS you will be scoring a dozen goals a game, and with some hella cool style might I add. When you first load up SSS, you are given quite a few options on what you can do. As I was a ”n00b” to the game, I opted to go into the games practice mode, in which you can learn the basic techniques of the game. This mode actually makes it pretty fun as you can learn all the kick ass moves in the game such as ”Killer Kicks,” my personal favorite move. Killer Kicks are when one player on your team kicks the ball up into the air and another player jumps up and kicks it while the game has moved into ”Bullet Time,” allowing you to aim the shot in slow motion.
After completing the games Practice Mode, I decided that I would start a season, or Quest Mode as the game calls it. Six teams were unlocked, so I picked the team that hit hardest because their name sounded cool- Subzero. After that, I was presented with a few options. I could go to the Soccer Shop and buy items that boosted my skills, check stats at the Stats Center or I could get straight to the action in the London Stadium. Considering that the season hadn’t started and that I had no money, I went to the stadium to play my first game. I had the option of controlling the entire team, but instead I chose to control just one player, the feisty German Lola. As I got into the match after a quick load, I started my first soccer game.
Even though it was only 3-on-3 soccer it was a great match. My team was able to pull off a close victory of 8-7 over my first opponent with a stellar goal from my lady Lola. You see, my team had earned some power-up points, and by triggering their effects I was able to speed ahead of the opponents and score a goal off my head. After the goal, I watched the replay of my shot and I was impressed. The players all looked really good and so did the animation.
I then went to the soccer shop, but I found that the measly hundred dollars that I had earned couldn’t buy any of the items, so I looked for another way to earn some cash. Lo and behold, a new option had opened up! In here, I could earn some cash for each goal that I scored. With the new found money, I went to the shop and bought a necklace for Lola that increased her skills and unlocked some concept art for the game.
As I played along, I was able to buy more items and more importantly the game got harder. The opposing teams became less gentle and were more willing to slide-tackle me, and even punch me to keep me from getting clean shots and passes. Of course, they weren’t the only ones doing all the hitting. It’s quite important to beat the living hell out of your opponents, as it prevents many goals that would normally go in. Thankfully, there are no officials in the game so you can go on beating them without remorse. Of course, offense without defense is just plain silly, so you have all sorts of flips and spins that you can do to avoid your opponents.
Sometimes though, I didn’t feel like getting into my season, so I opted instead for Arcade Mode. Arcade Mode allows you to pick a team, stadium and tweak a few options like game time, difficulty and the speed of the game, and then you get into a completely insignificant game that has no effect on anything else in the game. Alternately, you can go through a Challenge Mode to unlock hidden players or you can go through a Round-Robin against 5 teams. As you progress through the game, you unlock different stadiums as well, all with different crowds and environments that fit the location of it.
Graphically, SSS looks great. The players are very well animated and their moves are fun to watch. One thing that stood out to me was after you score a goal, the person who scored trash-talks the camera and does flips to show off, but their clothes never seemed to get dirty. The replay videos are really fun to watch, and so are the trash-talk segments. The arenas are decent, but a few were drab and basic. The weather effects were nice, but they actually had no effect on anything, so they were basically a pointless addition.
The games audio department is in need of some work sadly. While the games voice-overs from the player’s trash-talking are pretty good, they grow repetitive quickly, which is sad because a lot of funny things could have been said had some effort been put into it. Another thing that surprised me was that there was no music during the match, just the annoying announcer. The announcer has some funny things to say, but like the players they grow repetitive, and since you hear him more than anyone else it gets irritating fast. One cool feature is that all the players have accents matching their nationality.
Overall, I felt that SSS was quite a good title. I’ve spent good time with this game and there is no end in sight. Sadly though, I’ve turned off the player and announcer voices and have instead opted to listen to MP3s through my computer instead. However if you want a good soccer game that is a lot of fun, I highly recommend Sega Soccer Slam.