Man, the 90’s were weird.
In the late 80’s and 90’s Basketball got a huge surge in popularity, due in no small part to one Michael Jordan. At the time, Michael Jordan was the shit… even if you had no interest in sports, he was your hero. Everyone knew about him and he was basically B-Ball Jesus.
During this heightened interest in Basketball, it wasn’t unusual for players to make the leap to other media… television, film, and even games. Shaq Fu, Barkley Shut Up and Jam… crap like that. And of course, Michael Jordan got a game of his own as well… in the form of a platformer on the SNES.
Yes, this is a thing that happened. You play as Michael Jordan, on a quest to rescue other unnamed basketball stars from an evil mastermind. Along the way you use basketballs to fight off monsters and solve puzzles and oh my god I can’t believe this is real.
The game is a fairly straightforward platformer. Your goal is to reach the end of the stage, while unlocking doors along the way. Some doors hold a captive teammate, though it doesn’t seem to be mandatory to find them before clearing the stage. Your primary weapon is an apparently endless supply of basketballs, but you can find powerups like fireballs, ice balls, homing balls… balls all up in this bitch.
The stages can be pretty long, and thankfully there’s checkpoints along the way in the form of hoops, which you need to slam dunk. This can be a bit finicky though, as the ball travels at a sort of angle… this is also irritating when you need to kill small enemies on the ground, which can only be hit by dunking.
What’s surprising, though, is how… okay the game is. Unlike, say, Shaq Fu, the controls are actually responsive and work well. The stage layouts, while sometimes a bit vague as to where you need to go, are decent enough too. The game’s really not bad, save for some frustrating elements. One issue is the bat enemies… small, fast, and hard to hit, they always seem to swoop in from out of nowhere and damage you.
Another irritating element is introduced in the second stage: breakable walls. There’s nothing to indicate that a wall can be broken (the cracks in the picture above only appear after hitting it once), and I ran all over the stage unsure of what I was supposed to do before I figured out I needed to break a wall to proceed.
In addition to Jordan’s likeness, the game features some product placement as well. Gatorade and Wheaties serve as health items, and their logos are featured on the score screen as well. You’ll also notice that they only got rights to Michael Jordan himself… the Chicago Bulls are never mentioned.
So really, that’s all there is to say about Chaos in the Windy City. It’s a surprisingly decent game, though nothing special, and not nearly the embarrassment that Shaq Fu or Slam City with Scottie Pippen were.
You know though… this kind of reminds me of something. Yeah, a platforming game featuring a celebrity named Michael, weird magic powers, running around opening doors to rescue people…