NBA Full Court Press
The NBA is the hottest professional sport going these days, especially among those of you who are young enough to be the future of America. The invasion of the NBA replica jersey as appropriate public attire is evidence of that. That being said, Microsoft is not wasting any time tapping into that bubbling vein with the introduction of Shaq Fu are all absent from this presentation. Microsoft has compensated for that by letting you add customized players to your game. But why waste time with those three when you can input yourself and your buddies to compete against the world's finest? Lest we forget, the best feature of this game is commentator Kevin Calabro, voice of the Seattle Supersonics. Who wouldn't work hard just to hear him exclaim, "Great Googily Moogily!"?. Never seen the United Center other than on Sportscenter? Here's your chance. Full Court Press lets you lead your favorite team or all 29 teams through a complete season. If you have a lot of sick days and no significant other, you may be able to play the entire season. If you have a life, you can simulate any number of games. One loud OUCH -- the fragrance pitcher, MJ, the future governor of Alabama, Barkley and
The court is set up in typical isometric fashion. When you play on full screen (the only way to play), you can seem to lose Dennis Rodman to the Twilight Zone. Proficient shooting and scoring are a welcome change from real life's Fratellostallball. Hit certain spots on the court and even the gargantuan Gheorge Muresan will pirouette the spin dribble and "Look out, Rocket Love!" he will "Whamma Slamma Mama!!" Players are rated in numerous categories which can be altered, if you get tired of Hakeem scoring at will. You will notice a distinct difference if the Reignman, Shawn Kemp, takes it to the rack as opposed to Steve Scheffler. The game is much like basketball itself is supposed to be played, fluid and graceful with plenty of highlight reel-making plays. You will be rewarded by Calabro for inspired defense with either a "he's on him like the villagers on Karloff" or "he's all over him like Cagney with half a grapefruit."
Unfortunately, Full Court Press deals you the 1995-1996 rosters. You are allowed to trade, but miss out on rookies and new free agents like my fellow Sun Devil, Big Ike Austin. One thing that stands out about this game is that it gets more fun the more you play, similar to skiing. You are automatically provided with each team's five favorite plays. However, if you are as much of a couch coach as I am, you can alter your team's tendencies and offensive and defensive play selection. If you are familiar with console games such as the recentseries, you will be able to pick this game up quickly and advance to All-Star level, where the teams pick up their D and will pressure you into giving up "skyjacks." However, given enough time and passing skill, you will soon be able to dominate the lesser opponents and hopefully stop David Robinson et al. Eventually you will be at a stage that even Calabro will have to shout excitedly, "No one do the voodoo like you do."
The graphics are another shining trophy for the creators of this game. You are treated to realistic-looking sellout crowds with the elegantly laid yet somewhat garish home court designs of each NBA team. The players are very realistic -- holy motion-capture animations, Batman. You can see the various behind-the-back and through-the-leg dribbles as well as not having to view the omniscient officials. Dennis Rodman's hair will even change several times within the course of one game. The time and effort put into developing a game that plays as well as this must have been substantial.
Kevin Calabro, commentator extraordinaire, follows the action precisely and on time. The sounds really add to the experience of playing Full Court Press. The background music beats enthusiastically while you set up the game and make your substitutions -- similar to a time-out at a real NBA game.
You can play Full Court Press against your buddies... with a little additional hardware. For direct connect -- available serial port and modem cable; for modem play -- a Hayes-compatible modem (14.4kbps minimum); for network play -- a Windows compatible network card. If you get a chance, try your hand against a human opponent, as the computer has a tendency to like to sub players like Stanley Roberts and Bill Wennington at point guard. While fine players in their own right, The Glove, Gary Payton, had a field day stripping these giants and setting up Shawn Kemp to dunk and get the "flyin' chickens in the barnyard" going.
Windows: 486 DX2/66 or higher (Pentium recommended), Microsoft Windows 95, 8 MB RAM minimum (16 MB recommended), 2X or faster CD-ROM drive, 256-color Super VGA, mouse or compatible pointing device (game pad or joystick recommended), sound board, and speakers or headphones.
Microsoft has pulled no punches with its entry into the field of computer hoop games. You will constantly find yourself amazed at the fluid gameplay and accompanying commentary, which does not get tiresome. One can only hope that Microsoft does not stop its production of professional sports games at basketball. You can find something for everyone here, whether looking for the anything-goes circus of arcade style ball or for a more true-to-form simulation. Full Court Press deserves to be ranked with the best; the American Bandstand-o-Meter tilts the scales at an respectable 85.