In 1994, Shaquille O'Neal was one of the biggest sporting names in the world. Not quite on a par with the great Michael Jordan, but a huge star in his own right nonetheless. So much of a star that he was allowed to do whatever he wanted in the entertainment world, including releasing more than one questionable rap album. Somewhere along the way, it was decided that basketball and hip hop weren't enough and Shaq slam dunked his way onto games console worldwide.
At the time, fighting games were the hot ticket with Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat garnering huge praise from fans and critics alike. Most importantly they were selling in their numbers. Perhaps seeing dollar signs in the beat-em-up genre, the NBA superstar decided that his first foray into non-basketball video games should take place within the world of fighting. In fairness to Shaq, being seven foot one he was somewhat of a believable tough guy and any game featuring his likeness was going to stir up interest at the time. Unfortunately with all the focus being on Shaq, somewhere along the line they forgot to put in the game part. What was released was a truly broken game that to this day is considered one of the biggest duds of all time.
All of the attention clearly went on Mr. O Neal's character, though he wasn't the only character involved. There's also a budget Catwoman and a red naked thing, should you want to branch out, though there was no real point as Shaq was the only decent character in the game. No matter who you control though, the gameplay was equally broken. Control responses took a second or two to compute meaning you're at a distinct disadvantage before you even come up against how horrible the fighting was in general.
Even if it did work properly, the fighting was dull and seemed unaware of what made the popular games in the genre so good. Being that special moves were such a big deal in other games, you'd think they'd be given lots of attention. Instead they were minimal and frustratingly difficult to pull off even if the buttons DID respond properly. Controlling your fighters was a chore and playing the "right" way did nothing but make sure you had no fun at all. The game became a lot easier to play if you didn't actually THINK about what you were doing and just blindly battered the buttons like Shaq blindly signed away his image for the game.
At least they didn't forget about a story. Shaq was on his way to a charity basketball game in Tokyo because he's such a benevolent guy. While there, he does the typically tourist thing and visits a random dojo. In there he finds out that he is "special" and get's transported to an alternate dimension where he has to save a child from an evil mummy. All while wearing his basketball gear. Standard.
It's all hilariously awful and a prime example of stuffing a celebrity into a game for seemingly no reason. It should have been a lesson to the industry but of course they didn't learn. At least they can say it's the best fighting game based entirely on an NBA star. But by comparison it even makes "Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City," look good.