Once in while, we have to unexpectedly pull a game from the floor at Ground Kontrol for some much-needed R&R. This week, NBA Jam suffered an on-the-court injury that’s going to take some special attention, so we called in a substitute: The rarely-seen Run and Gun!
The “other” arcade basketball game released in 1993, Konami’s Run and Gun obviously wanted to capitalize on the success of NBA Jam with its American localization of the series known as “Slam Dunk” in Japan. Sure, many gamers grew up with Arch Rivals or Konami’s previous title Double Dribble, but from ‘93 on, it was all about four-player basketball in the arcade!
Run and Gun differs from the more widely-known NBA Jam in a variety of ways while sharing some key similarities. The first and most obvious difference is the camera angle – instead of viewing the court from the side, you’re right in the center looking down toward the hoop, with a 3D effect that immerses you in the action more than the side-scrolling featured in NBA Jam. Sprites are large and detailed, with more complex animations. And, of course, this game is not officially licensed by the NBA. Sure, you can pit convincing facsimiles of the Bulls and the Pistons against each other, but they’re only known as “Chicago” and “Detroit”, respectively. Finally, there’s a hilarious half-time show featuring the “Cheer Girls”!
Then there are some familiar features. Not only is the game fast-paced and straightforward, you’ll hear some strikingly similar sound bites as you land threes and “heat up”, and the music doesn’t stray far from the synthesized R&B or hip hop beats that saturated most everything in the 90s. Rather than feel like a cheap ripoff, Run and Gun has a ton of charm and stands out as an underrated sports game that had no realistic chance against the massive Midway title here in the States, but deserves a handful of quarters all the same.
Pump up your kicks, adjust your mouthguard and step up to Run and Gun while it’s on our arcade floor. You don’t get many chances to drive the lane on Konami’s court, so if you’re a fan, bring some friends down and play this as much as possible!