BILL LAIMBEER'S COMBAT BASKETBALL / Hudson / SNES
 
 
There's really not much room for goonery in basketball, at least not like there is in hockey or football. But Bill Laimbeer was about as close to a professional goon (or "enforcer" if you're a Pistons fan) as you can ever get in the sport. Don't get me wrong, the dude was a solid center and a key part of some championship teams, but he also played during the eras of Magic, Bird and Jordan and is not the choice you would expect for a video game endorsement unless it's something totally off the wall.

Welp. This is pretty off the wall. It's the year 2030 and as with contemporary Charles Barkley, Laimbeer has aged magnificently and now both runs and plays in a futuristic full-contact basketball league. Everyone looks like Birdman Whatshisfart from the Heat (except wearing riot gear), tackling on the court is allowed (accompanied by a hearty "Sawwww!" every time) and you can pick up little homing bomb things that knock the opponent over for a bit. Of course since this is early SNES era Nintendo none of these things result in the sort of violent outcomes of a Mutant League, dudes are just temporarily inconvenienced by being knocked over for a bit and relieved of the ball.
 


So the game really plays more like a slower-paced football or rugby variant except you have to throw a ball through a hoop at the end instead of just running it in. Whereas NBA final scores often go into the hundreds of points, a Laimbeer game that cracks the tens could be considered a shootout. This is exacerbated by the complete lack of aim or ability to do anything other than one generic shot. No layups, dunks, etc. In fact, the game entirely ignores every gamepad button except Start and B, really. I actually had to go on the internet to figure out how to shoot when every button other than pass/tackle didn't do anything; turns out it's the same button, you just have to be standing still when you press it.

Someone probably should have let Hudson know that when you hire a dude to endorse a sports game that doesn't mean he also has to program it himself in Klik N' Play. I could forgive an arcadey "alternative" sports game having a lack of depth to some degree, but to the point of not using 5 of the 6 controller buttons AT ALL? AI is also typically atrocious and you'll likely start smoking the computer right away as soon as you figure out how to shoot. There's a very rudimentary sort of league mode that allows you to name both your own team and the other teams in your division but it doesn't add much. Slow, clumsy, bleh.
 
 
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