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SummarySimple but fun
The GoodThis is one of those simple games that I enjoyed playing without really being able to tell what's so good about it. The game is easy to get into and fun to play. It doesn't have a complex set of rules & game mechanics (of course this isn't necessarily a good thing, generally I can appreciate over-ambitious games that try to be everything).
The kiddie/street/pick-up basketball theme has been worked out well. The kids each have their own recognizable personality and specialties. Before the game each team picks three players. Players are picked in turns, each team selects one player per turn. Just like it happened way back in elementary school. Each basket counts for two points. There's no three-point line and you don't take any free throws either.
Court design is well done. You play ball on one of these courts: school, suburbs, alley or city. Again these designs fit the overall theme. Not every court has a clearly defined out-of-bounds line. I especially enjoyed the interactivity of the courts. The ball bounces back from thrash cans (alley), you'll lose the ball when you dribble on the garden hose (sub-urbs), oil makes you slip (city) etc. However, I think the interactivity could have been improved. For example it would have been fun if every once in a while a dog stole your ball or if you could break a window. Remember how Epyx used this aspect to add a lot of fun to their best game, California Games? Who could forget the letters of the Hollywood sign falling down (skateboarding) or hitting the seagull with footbag? Oh yeah, the courts (background graphics) are also OK to look at.
It's fun to play with two persons (playing on one PC of course). Sound is very simple, just some bleeps, but at the right moments. Nowadays I really can't stand the PC Speaker, so I'm glad this game is rather quiet.
The BadGraphics could have been better. The game was released in 1987 so it could have featured EGA graphics.I guess this would have made it easier to separate the players of the two different teams. Sharper / better player sprites would have been very welcome; when all six players are grouped together it's very hard to tell what exactly is going on. (note: it seems that the (original?) commodore 64 version did have the extra colors).
Controls are a bit too simple. The control scheme of Street Sports Basketball was designed for those one-button joysticks which were very common back then (hmm.. this brings back memories of my old MSX 1). This means that there's one action button with which you both shoot and pass. I often passed the ball when I wanted to shoot. You're just never really sure what will happen.
A.I. is rather stupid, especially that of your teammates it seems. Moreover passing the ball is rather difficult; I think over 40 % of the time the ball doesn't reach it's destination (either because it is intercepted or just because it's thrown in the wrong direction). This seriously affects your strategy (which because of the passing problem mainly consists of a lot of running, you won't see any could ball-movement in this one).
I wish there was some sort of a tournament mode.