Review by KasketDarkfyre

Reviewed: 12/27/01 | Updated: 12/27/01

A nail in the coffin!

With the release of the original NBA Jam for the SNES, you’re given the opportunity to play through one of the most widely known sports game series in video games, and you’re able to do so with a rather interesting looking game. While the basis of the game is simple, you’ll find that the different type of shots that you can take is what makes the game what it is. Even though the game seems as though it goes on forever, you’ll find that the ability to save your progress in the middle of the season is something that will keep you hungry enough to come back and play more when you feel like booting the game up. The basis of the game is simple; you make more points than they do before the end of the game. The turn off is that it doesn't matter if you're winning or losing, the game takes forever to complete and make it to the championships! Some of the more groundbreaking areas are with the actual game play. You score points not only for three points and jump shots but also for some physics breaking slam-dunks that can either start at the free throw or the three-point line. With several different slam ducks to accomplish, you'll spend more time talking trash to your friends when you jam a tripe flip slam duck in their face!

Back and forth along the court to score points or attempt to stop your opponents from scoring too much. With each successful shot that you make, you will eventually be turned to On Fire status, when this happens, you can make shots from just about anywhere within the half court mark, and you'll be dishing out the points. The introduction of the Turbo button in this game gives the gamer the ability to move faster and to make the slam-dunks. What the down side is to all of this, is that the computer can either be easy, or stomp you into next week with little more than a thought! Some of the better aspects of the game are that you can perform super slam-dunks that don’t really effect your score, but are a small addition to what you get to do in the game. There is nothing here that is too advanced other than you have to use the jump and shoot button at the right time to collect the super dunk. Small things like this are what make the game play fun, but don’t really effect how you do through the actual games!

The SNES isn’t exactly the type of controller for this with the different layout of the buttons but is so simple to use that you can pick up and go with the game without having to learn anything extensive. You have three buttons to press during the game, one is the turbo button, another is the jump/shoot button and the other is a pass button. Some of the learning that you may do in NBA Jam is just trying to get the slams to come off, and those are down through a combination press of shoot and turbo as well as a directional pad movement! The problems that you may have with the stiff interface of the SNES control really don’t come into effect here because as long as you have an open line and an open shot at the basket, you’ll do well to take it and run before the computer catches you. Simple control like this beats out other basketball games simply because anyone can learn how to play and learn how to play within a short amount of time.

I said this before and I’ll say it again and again with every version of this game simply because it needs to be said; if I ever have to hear Dick Vitales voice again, I'll kill someone! There is no game music to speak of, and all you here, is the consistently annoying voice of that man calling out that you {or your opponent} is on fire or that another nail in the coffin has been laid down for your victory or theirs. The sound effects are pretty much limited to squeaking of shoes on the basketball court and the sound of the ball going through the hoop with no more than a swishing sound. This is sad considering that it was released at home after the arcade version was out for a while, so some music and some other sound effects like the crowd cheering would have been nice!

The visuals are smooth as silk, although you can't tell what your players look like. Just take comfort in the fact that you get to see their picture when you select them, and the fact that the slams look awesome enough dismiss the fact that you can't tell if that is really Pippen dunking or just some computer controlled crony! The different effects that you find in the game are also enough to make you step back and blink. Even though the SNES isn’t well known for exceptional visuals for their sporting games but, in my own opinion, these are some of the best ones that I’ve seen for a SNES sport game in a long time. The best effects that I can see in the game come with the different super dunks that you throw down and stuff in your opponents’ face, and nothing beats the triple front flip slam into the basket, especially when the backboard shatters!

Even though that announcer has to die a horrid death, NBA Jam is a pretty solid basketball game that puts two on two action ahead of everything else! With the slam dunks and the constant trash talking is enough to keep interest in the game for a while, but in the end, it isn’t enough to keep you riveted for more than a couple of hours at a time. Considering that the game has a pass code feature in it, you can play for a couple of hours and then shut it off only to come back and play again later. However, with the aged dating on the game, there is no telling if the battery is good anymore or not, so play this game and get far into it at your own risk!

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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