Jordan vs Bird: One on One

a game by Milton Bradley
Genre: Sports
Platforms: NESNES GameBoy
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 4 reviews
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Jordan vs Bird: One on One
Jordan vs Bird: One on One
Jordan vs Bird: One on One
Jordan vs Bird: One on One

We back in the early 80's, a little computer called Electronic Arts released a game called “Dr. J and Larry Bird Go One-on-One.” The game featured two of the hottest players in the NBA, Julius Erving of the Philadelphia 76ers and Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics.

A decade later, the now-retired Dr. J has been replaced by Michael Jordan, and Electronic Arts has grown into a computer and video game mega-company, due to the high quality of their products. Luckily for Genesis owners, Jordan vs. Bird retains the same quality action found in the original EA basketball game, plus some great new improvements.

Take It to the Hoop

Jordan vs. Bird is really three half-court basketball games rolled into one. The bulk of the game is head-to-head one-on- one, which is played to a set score or for a certain time period. You can play either NBA superstar -- the slick shooting Bird or the quick-footed Air Jordan. It all depends on your preferred style of play, a on who you like more.

The second game is a three-point shooting contest starring Larry Bird. You have 60 seconds to can five bins of basketballs – 5 balls per bin. The last ball in each bin is a Money Ball, worth double points.

ProTip: Speed is essential in the three- point competition. Grab for another ball before the last ball you launched hits the basket or you'll run out of time.

Finally, there's the Air Jordan Slam Dunk Competition. Here, you take control of his Aimess and maneuver through a selection of specialty dunks, such as the Hole-in-One and the Windmill. Then, your dunks are rated by a panel of judges.

It Must Be the Shoes!

Electronic Arts wouldn't have gained a great reputation for hot sports games, if they simply recycled games each time they ported it to a new system. Jordan vs. Bird for the Genesis is filled with new, exciting features that improve the game play without complicating it.

For starters, there's an instant replay feature, a standard in all new EA sports titles. You can set the replay feature on Auto or Manual. It all depends on whether you enjoy seeing yourself get burned by a great move over and over. If you're not a masochist, you'll want keep it set on Manual. The game also has a new Hook Shot feature, which is a one-handed, arcing shot that will befuddle a defender if executed correctly. The Hook gives you plenty of offensive shot selections-something the original game did not have.


If there's one knock on this game, it's that the computer player is a weenie. Even at the toughest setting, the computer can be tricked, outrebounded, and out-hustled (necessary to win this game). In all fairness to the programmers, however, this game was designed as a two-person contest, which is what one-on-one basketball is all about.

Download Jordan vs Bird: One on One

Game Reviews

  • Manufacturer: Milton Bradley
  • Machine: Nintendo Entertainment System

It's amazing how resilient One on One has been through the years. The original One on One, designed and programmed for the Apple II computer, was released over seven years ago - eons to today's young video gamers - by an upstart company known as Electronic Arts. This computer basketball game featured NBA stars Julius Erving and Larry Bird as the principal on-screen ball players, going so far as including their real-life playing strengths and weaknesses. Two nice touches included were shattering backboards and an instant replay.

We're into a new decade now, and One on One is back. This time it's the Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan who's the main attraction and the system is the NES. Some things haven't changed, though. The new One on One is basically still a two-player basketball contest, and Larry Bird is back as well. Gone are the shattering backboards and instant replay. But in their place are some very worthy substitutes: Michael Jordan's slam-dunk contest and Larry Bird's three-point shootout. Welcome to One on One: Jordan vs. Bird.

Jordan vs. Bird contains three one-on one basketball contests. You can play against either a friend or the computer in a standard game (with two-, five-, eight- or twelve-minute quarters), a "15 or 11" competition, in which the winner is the one who scores fifteen or eleven points first, or a warm-up match where you and your opponent practice playing. Other selections allow you to change the difficulty level, the winner's-out rule and how fouls are called. On-court violations include traveling, going over the 24-second time limit and not clearing the ball. Charging while on the offensive or blocking while defending constitutes a foul.

The basketball players on the game screen are supposed to represent Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. Player strength, weakness, style and technique - based on these two NBA players - are programmed in. Thus, the video Michael Jordan is supposed to perform like the real thing. Each player throws and recovers the ball in different ways, depending on whether or not he's standing in a "sweet spot" - those areas on the court where Jordan or Bird can make a basket easily and accurately.

The slam-dunk contest challenges you to perform Michael Jordan's famous aerial basket maneuvers such as the windmill, the twister, the back slam, and, of course, the famous "air Jordan". A warm-up screen lets you perfect these moves before going into the contest. And there's "follow the leader", where Michael Jordan demonstrates how to do the various slam dunks and invites you to do the same.

In Larry Bird's three-point shootout, you must make as many baskets as you can within a time limit and with a certain number of balls. The balls are taken from bins and thrown from five different places on the court. Like the slam-dunk contests, a practice screen is provided for you to hone your basket shooting skills.

Graphics definitely aren't a disappointment. No elflike basketball players here. These video depictions of Jordan and Bird are full-bodied characters complete with moving limbs. And the smooth animation is a plus, too. When you perform a successful "air Jordan" in the slam-dunk contests, the video player moves like the real Michael Jordan. Flickering, a common ailment in many Nintendo sports games, is nonexistent, which is especially nice when playing the one-on-one games. The only problem with the visuals - that's noticeable right off - is that the video Michael Jordan has more hair on his head than the real Jordan. Yes, I know. I'm nit-picking here.

Jordan vs. Bird is a superb update of the original One on One, making its predecessor look dated in almost every aspect. It is, however, a title that might have limited appeal. Unlike the many other basketball games for the Nintendo, this is a showcase of the celebrity status of its two endorsers - make no mistake about this. Though competitive play is central to the one-on-one games, Jordan vs. Bird turns basketball into more of a show than a sport. In fact, it's basketball spectators and fans that should be the most enthusiastic about Jordan vs. Bird.

Electronic Arts' Jordan vs. Bird for the Sega Genesis promises to be one of the hottest sports games of the year! With realistic graphics and fantastic game play, this cart boasts some of the coolest moves ever to hit the court. Choose from a variety of options like slam dunk contest, three point competition or go one on one against either the computer, or against a friend. If you chose the slam dunk contest, you can pick from a list of the greatest dunks that you have ever seen. In the three point contest, you must get as many baskets as you can within the time limit. If you are looking for a basketball game that is realistic as well as a great challenge, give Jordan vs. Bird a shot. The game should be available in March.

One-on-one basketball with the NBAs creme de la creme. As in the NES and PC games of the same name, you take the role of Air Jordan or the Birdman in a hot game of half-court. But if that's not enough, there's also a Three-Point Shooting Competition and a Slam Dunk contest. Just think, you could answer the burning question: Is it Michael or the shoes?

Snapshots and Media

NES/Famicom/Dendy Screenshots

GameBoy Screenshots

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