Sega Soccer Slam is a great, simple soccer game that proves its worth as an excellent multiplayer game.
The game itself is designed quite well. The stadiums are rich and detailed, and each character is like a comic book drawing fully animated. There aren't too many flaws graphics wise and that's mainly because they went for a cartoon-ish look for the whole thing which is really a pleasure to look at.
The sounds aren't too extreme, just your average grunts and groans when a player gets hit. Plus each player has a one-liner and the start of a game, and whenever they score. Each player also has their own little theme music that plays when they score a goal. There is an announcer as well who has a European accent. As gameplay gets fiercer he does get more excited, which is nice to hear rather than a bland announcer. Unfortunately, you may find him to get on the annoying side but luckily there is an option to turn him all the way down.
In the game itself there are a few modes of play to choose from. There is then standard quick-play mode, which is self-explanatory. Then we have a Tournament mode, which is a 5 day (not literally) tournament where the team with the most wins is the victor. Also there is the Quest mode, which is the most fleshed out. It's similar to a Tournament, but you can earn cash for your victories which you can use to buy concept art or items that boost your player's abilities. There are also challenges that occur between games and you will earn money based on how well you do. A neat little feature in Quest mode is that halfway through there is an All-Star break. Where they separate the best player onto 2 different teams and face them off against one another. It's a nice opportunity to play a team with a character combination you wouldn't get to use otherwise.
There is also a Tutorial mode which will give you a run-down of the moves and how to pull them off. It covers all the basics and if it's your first time playing the game it's a good idea to check it out just to experience how to pull off each move. It's not too long since there isn't a whole heck of a lot you can do, but the simplicity of the game is actually quite enjoyable since it's easy to remember how to perform the moves.
One of the main drawbacks is that there are only a total of 5 teams, which isn't a whole lot. It takes away some of the challenge from the Tournament and Quest mode. To advance you must rank 4th or better, well when there is only 5 total teams, ranking 4th isn't that hard. The other more realistic soccer games have tons of teams, and the similarly-styled Super Mario Strikers (Mario Smash Football) has 9 different captains, which is basically 9 different teams. It would have been nice to have 2 or 3 different teams in the game, be they unlockable or not.
You begin the game with only 3 stadiums, but through playing the 'Quest' mode with each team you'll be able to unlock the different stadiums. These stadiums are located in different regions of the world based on the team's cultural background, so the overall appearances of these unlockable stadiums are different and varied. It is also possible to change the weather settings when you choose a stadium. The 4 possible options are: clear, fog, rain, or snow. These options have no drastic effect on gameplay, but are a nice addition as they change the whole overall appearance.
Perhaps the best part of this game is the multiplayer mode. On the Gamecube you can have 4 players all playing at once. A neat feature is that since there are 4 soccer players on every team (including the goalie), each player can lock onto a certain character and play as only them for the course of the match. It makes locating and positioning yourself much easier throughout the game. As well as keeping everything organized so you don't have 4 people scrambling to acquire control of the person closest to the ball.
For those who enjoy setting records it's possible in this game as well. You just have to input your name, and then select it whenever you choose a side. The records keep track of most games played, most won, most goals in a game, etc. So again with the multiplayer it adds a bit of a challenge to keep your number 1 ranked spot ahead of your friends.
While Sega Soccer Slam excels at being a multiplayer experience, that doesn't mean that there is no joy in a single player experience. It's still a fantastic game of soccer even if 1 person is playing it. This game is recommended completely for anyone looking for a fun sports game, even if they aren't the biggest soccer fans.