Review by JDeLuna
"A *great* change of pace..."
If it's one thing SNK is known for, it's fighting games. But many of SNK's greatest works have been in other genres. Case in point...Windjammers. Which, when you break it down, is a glorified version of Pong. So you *know* it has to good. Here's the background story, if you can call it that...the yearly Windjammer Tournament has come. The Tournament where the world's greatest Windjammers meet to do battle. So what's a Windjammer? Well, take a bodybuilder, put a frisby in his beefy hand and you've got it. Competition is one-on-one showdowns between Windjammers. Each trying to get the frisby past the other and into the goal behind them. It works, and looks just like Pong. But there are some added twists for fun; after several volleys, you or your opponent will "charge up" and unleash a super-powered frisby shot. The nature of these super shots vary between players. But they all have a screwball flight pattern, which means stopping them is *quite* a challenge. As for scoring, points are awarded for goals scored. The goal itself is mainly yellow, but a small portion is colored red. Three points are awarded for scoring in the yellow sections, and five points for a red goal. Matches are divided into three sets, lasting about 90 seconds each. The player with the most points at the end of the set, wins that set. Duh. Best of three sets wins.
GRAPHICS: The NeoGeo has stood the test of time. And it can still pump out games that look as good as anything out there. But Windjammers *does* look a little dated. The sprites aren't very dynamic, and there could have been more colors. Also, the portraits of the individual Windjammers are kinda dull. To it's credit, Windjammers provides excellent atmosphere, with a well animated crowd, and little details like an umpire and cameos from other NeoGeo stars. ***1/2
SOUNDS: The music is one of the best features of WJ. And chances are, if you've played WJ in the arcades, you didn't hear any of it. The background music itself is very hard to hear outside of your living room. But bass lines are IN YOUR FACE. They set the perfect tone for gameplay. It's tempting to play in time with the beat. The sound effects are also top-notch. The thump of the frisby hitting your player will make you cringe. And goals are greeted by a blaring whistle and screaming fans. ****
CONTROL: If you've played Pong, you know Windjammers. It's simple, yet extensive, controls only add to the basic gameplay. And since you can pick up the controls instantly, your attention is devoted to gameplay. There are only two buttons. The first button makes your player slide, allowing you to cover a lot of ground and make some spectacular saves. That same button also tosses the frisby when you've got possession. The other knocks it into the air. Like a set-up in volleyball. And gives your player time to charge up a super shot. ****
REPLAY: Windjammers is a great one player game. And you'll play many hours before growing tired of it. But the real fun is in two-player action. It's addictive, clean fun playing against a friend. And the high-impact, pro-sports nature of the game gets you juices going. ***3/4
Windjammers is a must-have for NeoGeo owners. Especially if their a fan of sports titles. It'll cost you around $100, but it's *well* worth it. It's a wonderful break from SNK's fighting game complex. And show's the NeoGeo can do something other than Fatal Fury.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99
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