Note 1: This arcade PCB was attached to an HDMI Supergun. It was played on a 39-inch HD-tv.
Note 2: If you like basketball games, check out my reviews of Nekketsu Street Basket, Capcom Sports Club: Dunk Stars, Dunk Dream, and Dunk Dream ’95!
Note 3: *There also, from videos I’ve seen, appears to be another version of Punk Shot (Japan? Europe?) that allows you to play against multiple different teams. In that version, your team is called the ‘West Siders,’ and you play multiple ‘Rounds’ against different teams: The Ramblers, The Slammers, The Wanderers, The Jammers, and The East Enders. In this version, you don’t appear to have the four quarters, like in this version I’m reviewing here, and it appears to be a 2-player only version. There are more characters and a bit more to the cutscenes in that other version.
Brief History: Punk Shot was released by Konami for arcade cabinets in 1990. There are two different board versions – a 4-player version and a 2-player version. My PCB is the 2-player version.
Gameplay: Punk Shot is a two-on-two basketball game, featuring only two teams: The Ramblers and The Slammers. On a two-player board, if playing together, Player One and Player Two will control the Ramblers, and in VS, Player One controls the Ramblers and Player Two the Slammers. All players perform identically, with no defining attributes like speed or defense separating them. Games are split into four quarters, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins. If the score is tied at the end of the 4th quarter, the game ends in a tie – there is no overtime in Punk Shot.
Environments: Punk Shot is a ‘street’ basketball game akin to Dunk Dream, and three different locations are available: The Park, Downtown, and the Harbor. You can select which one to start in at the beginning of the game, but after each quarter, the game moves to a different location, so you’ll see all of them over the course of a game.
Control: On offense, Button I (the first button on your arcade stick) passes, and Button II shoots. On defense, Button I punches the opposition to steal the ball and Button II jumps up to block a shot. Also on defense, pressing both buttons together executes a flying clothesline on the opposition to dislodge the ball, or, if you hit them squarely (easy to do), executes a German-suplex on them! Also, you only control one member of your team, but you can ‘give commands’ to the other team member by pressing the appropriate button.
Obstacles: As you play, various ‘obstacles’ will occasionally prevent you from scoring. For example, try for a jump shot, and you may find a bird conveniently flies in the way of the basket just as your shot is going in! Step on a broom that an old lady has thrown on the court, and you’ll trip and lose the ball. Making a fast break? Well, slow down, because a dog ran on the court and pulled your pants down! There are quite a variety of these obstacles, some you can avoid and some you can’t, but they don’t happen frequently enough to become irksome and really add some charm to the game. Also, they happen to the opposition as much as they happen to you, so use them to your advantage!
Energy: You have an ‘energy bar’ that serves as your ‘play time’. This is adjustable in the DIP settings, but basically, when it runs down you’ll need to press Start to enter another credit.
Scoring: Slams, jump shots, and down-court heaves are all appropriate means of scoring. However, there are no fouls (and therefore no free throw shots), and more surprisingly, no three-point shots! This is a bit jarring at first (particularly when you hit a long shot and are still only awarded two points), but you’ll quickly find that it doesn’t mean you can’t close the gap on the opposition quickly. Soon into a game, you’ll notice that as soon as someone scores, the other team immediately takes possession of the ball under the basket, and is ripe for an attack. There were numerous times when I had a decent lead on the CPU when they’d get a basket, punch the ball right out of my hands as I was getting ready to ‘in-bounds’ the ball, and lay it back in. Four points for the CPU in like 1 second!!! You have to be on your toes the whole game, and no lead is safe!
Game Settings: If you consult online, or if you have the arcade user manual, you can adjust the settings of the game on the DIP switches. However, my manual is incorrect somewhat, stating that you can adjust the quarter times between 2 and 5 minutes; this is incorrect, as it’s actually between 3 and 6 minutes. There are also four difficulty levels – the CPU gets a bit more aggressive as you increase the difficulty, but even on Easy, you have to stay aggressive yourself to win.
The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: B+ It’s nothing particularly special, but Punk Shot is incredibly fun to play, particularly if you have another person. The control is great, and the replayability is high. It’s outstanding that, like Dunk Dream ’95, you have co-op in this arcade basketball game. On the downside, there are no three-point plays, and the control setup with the first button being ‘pass’ and the second button being ‘shoot’ is opposite from what a lot of other basketball arcade games use (takes about one quarter to get used to, however, then it’s smooth sailing). No, there’s no tournament to win, no different teams to select from, and no alley-oop team moves, but Punk Shot is great for a quick arcade basketball romp that is sure to have you coming back for one more game. Other than Arch Rivals, how many basketball games allow you to throw a haymaker at the opposing team’s players?