SummaryOne of the best basketball games for GameCube
The GoodThis game is awesome in every way. The graphics is excellent for a basketball game that was the first released for the GameCube. The courts, players, and crowds look amazing. They are so much better than some other games that are released later in the GameCube's life. The most impressive thing about the graphics is the face-mapping of every player in the game. They look so realistic! Kobe looks almost 100% like Kobe. Shaq, Duncan, Garnett, McGrady, Iverson-they all look so real. Players in the game move fluidly and realistically. The animations are very well done. Most of them are motion-captured by Kobe Bryant so they are indeed realistic moves in a video game.
Speaking of moves, this game has a ton of moves a player can do. There are many different dunks and layups animations that will make this game feel like the real NBA. You can even do a fade-away jumper ala MJ. It looks so sweet! The developers put a lot of graphical details in the game. Some players even have their freethrow routines, and the crowd will hold up signs and wave sticks to detract the freethrow shooter.
The sound in this game is more than adequate. There are about 3 songs in the game that keeps playing over and over again. Fortunately, the songs don't get irritating overtime. The commentary in this game is handled by the Clippers announcer, Ralph Lawler and Fox Sports Earl Van Wright. They do a wonderful job commentating during games. Wright will occasionally gives background information of players. Lawler has all of his trademark saying in this game such as "Oh Me, Oh My" and "Bingo!".
One interesting thing is that they will say players' nicknames. Shaq, for example, has many nicknames and they will often referred to him as Shaq Daddy, the Diesel, the Big Aristotle. It's really cool! The PA announcer is the Lakers' Laurence Tanner. He does a good job introducing the players before the game and during the game after a basket made. On the court, you will hear sneaker squeaking, occasional laughter and grunting, and crowd chants. The crowd gets really loud, especially when your team is making a comeback late in the game. Jams are thunderously loud and players scream when they dunk. It really adds excitement to the game.
There are four modes of gameplay: Quick Play, NBA Season Play, Arcade Play, and Skills Mode. Quick Play is essentially an exhibition. You pick two teams and get to play a game quickly. NBA Season Play allows you to play through an entire season. It keeps track of statistics, team scores, and allow transactions. You can play all 82 games or reduce it if you like.
If you don't like to play through an entire season to get to the Playoffs, you can just go straight to the Playoffs. Arcade Play is a really fun mode where there are basically no rules and players can do extraordinary dribble moves and dunks. There are hotspots that are worth a certain number of points. Stepping on one of those hotspots and making a basket will give you points ranging from 4 to 15 pts. This mode is great fun and will keep you entertained for hours, especially against friends. Skill Mode consists of Practice and 3 Point Shootout. In practice you can control any of the five players on your chosen team and you can pass, shoot and dunks. It's a great way to improve your game if you're new to the game. The 3 Point Shootout lets you play against the CPU or other users through several rounds to see who will be the best 3 point shooter of the Shootout.
Other options in the game include Create a Player and Update Rosters. In Create a Player you can create and edit a player's appearance to your liking. Then you can put him on any team you like and after each game he'll gain points that you can use to increase his attributes. The number of points he gets depend on his performance, so if he has a monster game he'll get lots of points. Update Rosers is where you can trade players. Under Options and Preferences, almost everything can be changed to suit your taste.
The BadThis game doesn't have a franchise mode, which would give it a big boost in replayability. Also, a few more songs would have been great. Another gripe is that there's only one court in Arcade Play so it looks boring after a while.
The Bottom LineOverall, NBA Courtside 2002 is a great game for basketball gamers who happen to own a GameCube. This game is rock solid and its Arcade Play mode will keep you and your friends entertaining for hours. If you prefer serious basketball, the game's NBA Season Play mode is more than adequate. You can trade players, and the stats tracking system keeps track of players stats, team stats, league leaders, and team standings for your viewing pleasure. This is one game that can be a solid simulation if you wanted it to be and an NBA Jam-style game if that's what you want. It's like getting two games in one!