SEGA SOCCER SLAM for Nintendo GameCube, $80. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
Unlike playstation 2 and Xbox, which tweak well-known game franchises like NHL 2002 and MLB 2002 to fit their own consoles, Nintendo's purple GameCube depends for its success entirely on unusual games that are unique to Nintendo. It's a brand loyalty thing.Do people want to shell out big cash for obscure but one-of-a-kind games rather than the biggies? No idea seems too strange for the GameCube crew. Take, for example, Soccer Slam.
For all the games and new products being launched to tie in with next month's World Cup, it's unlikely you'll see another game even remotely like Sega Soccer Slam.
As the name suggests, Soccer Slam falls halfway between the Beautiful Game and Raw Is War. It's about as far away from a straight-ahead soccer game as you can get.
Massive, mask-wearing hulks take the field and, to a degree, struggle to put the ball into the net. There are curling shots, delicate skips over opposing players and driving runs into the opposition's end -- in short, everything that a real soccer match might have. There is also brutal violence, the kind that would be more appropriate in Grand Theft Auto 3 than a typical sports game.
If the goalie hangs onto the ball, don't wait for him to put it back into play. Instead, just run up and clobber him. The same rules apply for anyone else on the field.
Tooth-jarring hits are encouraged throughout the game, so if the action starts to seem routine, as it does after a few minutes, go and knock someone flying.
Admittedly, hockey-style checks aren't the first things that come to mind when you think of soccer, and the gladiator-style brawls of Soccer Slam probably won't be mirrored in real life during the World Cup, but maybe the cartoon brutality here will keep you entertained while you try to stay awake until 4 am to watch a live match between Poland and the USA.