Review by !.ACA.!

Reviewed: 09/10/02 | Updated: 09/10/02

A … NBA Street is the greatest arcade style basketball game ever produced.

NBA Street is the greatest arcade style basketball game ever produced.

For an arcade sports game to ‘work’ there must be a certain balance between reality and insanity. NBA Street mixes the best of these two worlds and delivers the best arcade style basketball game ever produced. Off the hook dunks will keep you coming back to this game time and time again.

NBA Street opens with a very simple menu system, allowing the player to jump right into the game and see what the fuss is all about. Like all arcade sports games, the game utilizes a PIN type login, where you can keep track of your records, such as wins and losses. Next, you’ll choose your team and select three players for a game of three-on-three street ball. After licensed NBA teams and NBA players are selected, you’ll take your game to one of the many street courts found throughout America, from the hot Arizona sands to the cool Philadelphia streets.

The game’s engine runs smoothly, and it runs beautifully. Dunks, shots, and dribbles are all cleanly animated and are quite impressive to look at. The game offers so many different dunks and dribbles; it’s great to see so many different animations.

NBA Street takes the realistic atmosphere of a street pickup game and throws in incredible, dunks and dribbles. The “Dinner’s Served” dunk, for example, is a self tossed alley-oop off the backboard. There are many other crazy dunks, most of them having a basis in reality, but ultimately becoming unreal in the game. Players soar through the air and slam it hard, in attempts to raise their special Game Breaker bar.

The Game Breaker bar is NBA Streets’ equivalent of NBA Jam’s “He’s on fire!” Once your Game Breaker is filled, you’ll be ready to perform a Game Breaker shot. Game Breaker shots can turn a game around—for successfully hitting a Game Breaker shot, you’ll remove from the other team’s score the amount of points you score. For hitting a two point Game Breaker, you’ll score two points and your opponent will lose two points. A Game Breaker shot can instantly turn the game around.

Games are played to twenty-one points, playing by ones and twos. There is no clock or timer, unlike every other basketball game on the market. Fouls are not called, and there are very few violations.

Break your opponents ankles with the “Slip and Slide” dribble and you’ll once again be on your way to filling up that Game Breaker bar. Every special dribble and special dunk you perform counts towards the Game Breaker, as do steals, blocks, and well timed passes.

These special dunks and dribbles are performed by holding down different combinations of your turbo buttons. The shoulder buttons (L1, L2, R1, R2) are all turbo buttons, so holding different patterns of those buttons down will result in a different dribble or different dunk.

Some nice commentary, and music by 3LW puts the game’s audio right where it should be. The legendary Michael Jordan, your game’s host, even has his share of lines.

Players new to the world of street ball can take a crash course in the game’s controls and basics, an incredibly useful mode where you’ll learn the basics of the game without having to read the instruction manual.

The one-player game mode puts you on a tour across the nation, stopping at various regional areas where you’ll pit your team’s best ballers against another team’s best ballers. Win the game and you’re allowed to take a player from that team and add him to your team. Roster space is limited, but you can make an extremely talented team, putting players like Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, and Kobe Bryant all on the floor at one time.

After you defeat a set amount of teams from a certain region, a special regional team will challenge you. These street ballers are not real NBA players, but they’re ordinary city kids who are just as good, or better, than the NBA pros. Adding these players to your team is often a good idea. But should your roster fill up, you’ll find yourself releasing some of the weaker players to make room for the new talent that you’ll find on your trip across America (and Canada, briefly). Instead of stealing a team’s player, however, you can take skill points towards your very own, create-a-player.

NBA Street allows every user to create one player and add that created player to the user’s roster. The create-a-player mode is deep and well thought out, making it extremely fun to create your very own baller, either male or female. Go with ghetto street clothes or a team uniform, select your shoes, choose a nickname from the long list of names (such as Sweet Pea, Girl Next Door, etc), tweak a handful of other options, and then put your player’s stats together.

Using the points you earn from winning games, you can make quite a baller with the create-a-player. Increasing your player’s height, shot accuracy, speed, and other categories all slowly eat your points away, so you’ll be out of points before you know it. Almost immediately you’ll want to win more games to earn more create-a-player points.

Taking your game to the street with a friend is the true way to play the game, though. Run your custom team against a friend’s custom team and see who has chosen the best ballers, compete with hidden teams, or just play a game with real NBA teams.

Two player mode is where the game shines, but it is also the source of the game’s biggest problem. The game’s camera is fixed to a side-scrolling view of the game, where player one always scores on the right net, and player two always scores on the left net. This doesn’t sound like a big issue, and it’s not, but player one will always have an advantage from being so familiar with scoring on the right side (from playing one player mode).

NBA Street is quite possibly the best arcade sports game ever. NBA fans should find the fast paced, intense action quite fun, while even non-sports fans will appreciate the button combos and heated games. The game has no glaring flaws or glitches, making it extremely hard to pass up.

Game Stats:
Players: One or Two
Genre: Sports
Cost: $49.99

A … Presentation (Menus, Manuals, and Finishing Touches)

A … Graphics

A … Audio

A … Game Play and Story

A … Camera and Control

A + … Value (Replay and Cost)

A … Final Grade

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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