NBA Showtime On NBC
If you’ve played NBA Jam then you know the theme. This game is a two on two action-fest that glorifies dunks, three-pointers, and fancy plays. Forget about defense and player position because those aren’t what the game is about. Even though the NBA Jam formula is the same, the graphics, music and game selections are upgraded.
The gameplay is simple and extremely addictive. Frankly, I’m shocked at the amount of time I spent playing this game when I’m not even a basketball fan. Maybe that is why it has such appeal: you don’t need to be a fan to enjoy monstrous slams or awesome alley-oops. There are 130 NBA players to choose from but the real fun is in creating your own player. You can pick an NBA star head, mascot,s or various creatures like a gorilla, a horse, or even an alien. If you have trouble imagining a horse running up and down the court dribbling a ball, you’ve got to check this out, it’s hilarious.
The reason why this game is SO addictive is that there are a ton of attributes you can spend your "points" on to make your player a three-point shooting star, a dunking stud, or a well-rounded player. When you win three games you get an additional two points to invest in your players. Pretty soon you’ll find yourself playing game after game to get those extra points so that your custom player can be the greatest ever. If you don’t like the body or attributes you’ve chosen you can switch them at anytime, so that you don’t have to start all over again. You will also get certain privileges to choose from, like a hot spot or your own jersey.
One thing I really didn’t like about the gameplay was that the attributes don’t really seem to matter. I had my three-pointer attributes turned all the way up and I made and missed just as many shots as when I only had it a quarter full. Same thing with two-pointers, dunks, speed, and so on. The only thing in the attribute category that I noticed any huge difference on was height. At the end of a game you get a trivia question and if you get it right you get some trivia points. Get enough trivia points and you’ll get some attribute points.
One of the other major things I didn’t like about the gameplay was this: if you’re winning by a lot the AI kicks in and reduces your lead in the blink of an eye. This is because the AI team will suddenly make every three-pointer (no matter how far away), block your shots, and steal the ball if they’re even close to your player. The result is that all games come down to the wire and are usually won in the last 15 seconds. Pretty irritating and it made me feel as if I was simply wasting my time through the entire game just so I could get to those last seconds. If you're a better team why can’t you blow them out?
If you’ve played the arcade version you’ll be disappointed. The arcade is done so well that the players look real. The Playstation version isn’t bad; it’s just that the hardware can’t handle the polygons as well as the arcade. This really affects the gameplay because it is often hard to see who has the ball and difficult to follow passes. Frames are also dropped so don’t be surprised if you see a player in one spot and in the next millisecond he magically appears in another. Meshing is another problem where limbs pass through each other. You can really see this when they do the freeze frame at the end of a quarter and you’ll see the basketball halfway inside someone’s head or two bodies sharing the same legs.
This is a fun game but it has its faults. They really need to improve the graphics so that you can better see who has the ball and improve the gameplay to where not all the games are decided by the last 15 seconds. I’d recommend renting it first and then if you still like it, make the purchase.