I know I swore a sacred oath to never play an RPG Maker game for the site, but this is an exception; mostly because it was actually made in GameMaker, just like Hotline Miami.
The game's set in post-cyberapocalyptic Neo New York in the year 2053, 60 years after the original Barkley Shut Up and Jam game. Things haven't gone so well for the world in the meantime: basketball has been banned, many of the former players are now dead, and Barkley has been left to raise his 12 year old son Hoopz on his own. His friend Balthios is actually the great grandson of NBA player LeBron James, who is 22 years younger than Barkley, so our hero must be getting on in years.
|Barkley Shut Up and Jam! (Genesis/Mega Drive)|
For some reason I keep thinking Shut Up and Jam is a platformer, but I'm probably getting it mixed up with Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City (which I should totally play some day). The Jam! games are actually both just 2v2 basketball games.
And then the Pump lets me save my game. He was a save point all along.
I've heard a few people talking about this Ultimate Hellbane guy in the game now, and he's apparently a real menace, considered to be almost as dangerous as Charles Barkley in fact.
Barkley isn't well liked these days, as he used a Chaos Dunk move at an NBA game 12 years ago, accidentally killing thousands of people, and triggering a backlash against the sport. The government banned basketball entirely in the aftermath, and many players were massacred in the Great B-Ball Purge of 2041. Barkley survived but... hasn't been taking it very well since.
BUT THEN, AFTER RETURNING HOME.
But I suppose things could always be worse.
But who is our secretive saviour?
Hellbane claims he's been a victim of bad publicity, and isn't actually all that bad. He knew that Michael Jordan was coming for Barkley, and told Hoopz to hide in a church, so the kid should be safe for a while. But he wants Barkley to come meet with someone down here before joining his son.
This Egyptian looking place is actually the B-Ball Catacombs, an ancient resting place under the city haunted by the restless ghosts of former ballers. So it actually all makes perfect sense. I've spotted my first enemy ghost right now in fact, floating around on the level in plain sight, so at least I know I'll be safe from random encounters. I guess I'll run into him and start some JRPG combat.
Alright this has a standard turn-based JRPG battle system, I'm controlling Hellbane this turn, and I can Blitz, Zauber, Counter, use an Item or Escape. Well I definitely understood some of them at least.
Okay let's see what Blitz does.
Oh, and then it turns out that Barkley has his own set of moves with different commands, so I'll need to remember all of them as well. And then I suppose figuring out which is best for each situation would be a smart move as well.
A FEW BATTLES LATER.
Well it turns out that this isn't just a sequel to Barkley Shut Up and Jam, but also to the movie Space Jam! And it takes the movie's mythology pretty seriously it seems, with the characters stopping to discuss things like how Barkley feels about the time he was magically trapped in a basketball. Or something, I dunno, I never saw Space Jam.
Guess I can add fan fiction to the list of things this game is parodying now.
Hey wait a minute, I recognise that enemy on the top left.
|Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City (SNES)|
A FEW MORE BATTLES LATER.
I don't think I'm going to trust this game's opinion on medical matters however, as it also claims that bball juice will restore 99% of your health. I'll just grab some protein paste and keep moving.
There's no voices in this by the way, besides from the narrator at the start, in case you were wondering. Though there is an option to play the entire game in Al Bhed. You know, that made up language from Final Fantasy X. One of the developers must have been really bored that day.
ONE BOSS FIGHT LATER.
I'm sure I recognise this dungeon art from somewhere. Oh right, of course, it's blatantly ripped from Chrono Trigger. Actually I think I recognise that error number from somewhere too, which is weird because I've never remembered an error number in my life.
That bball spider's awesome too, because it's made from a signed ball.
It's funny how these villagers are pretty much played straight, and their situation is actually used to examine Barkley's own. They may be hiding down here in the sewers, but they're not hiding from themselves; they're being true to their heart. Barkley on the other hand has been living a lie for twelve years, denying the call of the b-ball.
It's all very serious and meaningful. Wait, is that Yogi Bear up there?
"The Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru animated television series is based on the visual novel..." Damn.
"The story follows the main character Mizuho Miyanokouji, a male high school student who transfers into an all-girls school, and how he lives his life interacting with many girls who do not know he is actually a boy." Uh-huh. Actually, I'm not curious anymore.
Funnily enough, it only seems to have the one season though.
Anyway he's happy to see that Balthios has finally brought Barkley to him, until he realises he's brought him the WRONG Barkley. Oops, turns out he was meant to bring Hoopz. To the church my friends, there is no time to waste!
Anyway, seriously there's no time to waste. It's just a matter of time before our mysterious nemesis performs another Chaos Dunk... or worse!
It's always better to list facts rather than attempt to be poetic and entertaining, that's my philosophy. But seriously now, we need to rush to the church and get Hoopz as we've wasted enough time as it is.
This is the downside of having scripted dialogue events plus a changing party of characters. To make it possible for me to go down there again, the developers would have had to add a second set of dialogue for every event featuring Balthios in the place of Hellbane. Or turned them all off I suppose.
Where am I meant to be going again? Oh right, the church. Time is of the essence etc, I remember now.
LATER, AT THE CHURCH.
Damn, is this a Judas Priest song playing in the background? No wait, that's the singer from Deep Purple... this is that track from Blue Dragon (youtube link)! Didn't see that coming. This tune is pretty amazingly cheesy, so it's perfect for this game. And I think this the perfect time to turn the game off.
Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden might be a joke game, but there's a definitely a game in there. In fact if you did a find/replace on the script and changed all the b-ball references to 'magic', turning Barkley into one of the last of the magic knights or whatever, this could almost pass as a straightforward SNES JRPG. Which I guess might be the point.
And I actually do kinda sort of want to keep playing it. So I guess I'll have to give it a gold star, and hope the upcoming sequel lives up to the style and wit of the game, and builds up on it. Except with non-shite graphics this time.
Oh, I almost forgot, you can get Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden for free for PC and Mac from the official site.