Every now and then I stumble across games I have never heard of, Saturday Night Slam Masters is one of them. I came across it in one of those “Top 10 hidden gem” lists.
So… What is Saturday Night Slam Masters, and more crucially, is it any good?
Played Street Fighter 2? Played Final Fight? Played a Capcom game circa 93? Well, SNSM It looks like them all, right down to healthbar.
it is classic Capcom, and therefore looks exactly as you’d expect.
The characters are well animated, the crowds seem lively, and the stage is fairly detailed. The issue here, is that the stage never changes. Like Street Fighter, you get on a plane fly to the challengers location, you then fight the character in their home country.
Unlike Street Fighter, all the stages look the same. I am not asking for all Russian fans to be in fur hats, but I would have liked some variety in the stages. Getting your ass whooped over and over on the same stages gets old very quick.
Each character has an ring entrace, where they walk into the ring with pyrotechnics, and pose, this is actually pretty good, and isn’t really beaten until games like Day of Reckoning (or other 6th gen console games). They are brief, they are repetitive, but they are still pretty good.
“THIS IS SOOOOOO HARD.”
SNSM is hair rippingly hard, the first level is easy, the 2nd level is fucking nails. The 3rd level… The 3rd level is my hell. Even on 1 difficulty (out of 8), I struggled to get past level 3. This is a major negative to the game. Anyone can play and have fun on Street Fighter, even Mortal Kombat, they are easy to pick up(but difficult to master). SNSM is impossible to pick up and play, so will put off most players.
SNSM has a surprisingly large list of moves, but they are all context specific, meaning, you’ll never see them. Back grapples, as an example, you can never get behind your foe, unless they are dazed. Dazed state (like Street Fighter) is pretty random, so the chances of you managing to learn the move is next to zero. Turnbuckle and aerial moves simply don’t work and they ALWAYS fail to connect.
Grappling is counter intuitive too, you have to hold (up) then press (a), if you press (left)/(right) and (a) will Irish Whip them, meaning, you’ll spend the first few hours throwing people at the ropes in tired frustration as you’re most likely going to be moving towards your opponent.
Some of the Street Fighter 2 moves have made an appearance, for example, The Great Oni does Chun Li’s Spinning Bird Kick, but is now called “Cyclone Kick“, several characters do E. Honda’s Hundred Hand Slap, which is now irritatingly called “Patty Cake“…
You can beat the game by bugging the enemy out, do Spinning Bird Kick, and go stand near them, they’ll roll out the ring, and then jump back in. Now, do the Spinning Bird Kick, and repeat the process.
60% of the time it works every time!
There are 8 playable, and 2 bosses in SNSM, however, the Megadrive/Genesis version allows you to control the two bosses (Jumbo Flapjack and The Scorpion)
SNSM’s characters are somewhat plagiarised from Street Fighter, and some of these characters would go onto appear in the Street Fighter series in different guises. Rasta IS Blanka, Biff Slamkovich is pretty much Alex, and Gunloc is Guile’s brother.
Hagger is a slight continuity error. In the Japanese version, SNSM is set BEFORE Final Fight, whereas in the English Translation he is referred to as “former mayor of Metro City“.
Like all Tournament Fighters/Beat ’em ups, the game lives or dies by the multiplayer. Thankfully, SNSM is fun, especially in battle royal mode. I never played the arcade version, but if you can get your hands on a multi-tap for the SNES you can enjoy 4 player battle royals!
SNSM is OK, and will be fun in short burst, but the difficulty curve is hideous, and will put off a lot of people, unless you’re really into your fighting games.
Sadly, I can see why SNSM become a “hidden gem”, put simply, many games at the time were better than it.
There really isn’t much else to say!
Pros: Fun in bursts
Cons: Hard as hell!
If you are uber keen on Fighting Games then you can add another 20 points to this score.