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NBA Jam Tournament Edition (DOS)

72
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Zovni (9355)
Written on  :  Nov 26, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2.6 Stars2.6 Stars2.6 Stars2.6 Stars2.6 Stars

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Summary

Hyperkinetic Basketball frenzy

The Good

I've always thought that most sport games appealed mostly to those people that wouldn't be caught dead participating in that sport, and instead prefer to somehow bathe in all that gladiatorial glory that showbiz has splashed on sports events. I mean, one doesn't want to simulate a basketball game, one wants to bring down an entire stadium as Jordan! That's regardless of wheter a ball is involved or not. NBA Jam sort of proves that theory for me and stands today as the first game that somehow realized this and simply left any simulation pretense and gave you the gaming equivalent of an end-game highlights showcase. In short: all the action, all the stars, none of the hassle.

The game allows you to select any of the NBA-licensed teams with their corresponding players and duke it out in two-on-two matches for the main championship. The thing with the game is that the gameplay on the court is completely jacked-up to arcade levels. Characters just fly through the screen as if on wheels and that's without using the turbo gauge every player has (y'know, just as in real life!), you can shoot hoops from any part of the screen with a simple button and pass it or push (and injure! yay!!)an opponent with another. The fun part happens with all the unique and outlandish dunks you can perform with button combinations which amount to very gratifying "money shots". You can fly and spin through the air, break the board, and even make the ball explode and turn into an unblockable fireball!! Cheesy?? Yeah!! Unrealistic? Of course!! But you know what? It's fun!! The game just exudes an arcadey charm that trascends it's basketball-sim roots and make it an original fast-paced game that is a blast to play on your own and even greater when played co-op or against a friend.

And for a change, this particularly exciting arcade game got perfectly ported to the pc! All the original arcade jammin' can be now experienced on a nice 486 PC without any major problems, and unlike the 16-bit versions this port mantains all the arcade graphic, digitized speech (actually the voice calls for the players and the announcer) and features of the upgraded T.E. version which featured more hidden characters as well as stat changes and smaller additions.

The Bad

It could get old reeeeeal fast. Unless you make a constant use of it's multiplayer capabilities you won't get much fun out of the limited arcade and tournament modes, after all there's really nothing that lifts the game up from being a simple arcade game with equally simple gameplay. There's only so much we can take of that, right?

The graphics were never that hot for me, with far too cartoonish looks for the players and really chunky animation (something that wasn't so noticeable on the arcades because of the blinding gameplay speed).

The Bottom Line

Fast and entertaining arcade game that barely resembles the sport it's based on but makes a fun diversion nonetheless. Don't ask too much of it and you'll get a lot of enjoyment out of this perfectly ported arcade classic. And as always: much, much better when played with friends.