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NBA In the Zone '98

Rated KA for Kids to Adults


Nintendo 64 (N64)






February 1998

ROM Size:

64 megabits


One to Four Simultaneous


Sports (Basketball)


Controller Pak (123 pages)


Rumble Pak



> Final Rating: 2.8 out of 5.0


After some rather impressive showings on the PlayStation, many had high hopes for NBA In the Zone '98 on the Nintendo 64. Well, all hopes have since been squashed. Even though I'm not a big basketball fan, I can still tell that NBA In the Zone '98 is a paltry attempt at a b-ball game. After International Superstar Soccer 64, how could have Konami gone so wrong? I'm guessing the different development teams had something to do with it, but it's still amazing just how much worse NBA In the Zone '98 is.

Gameplay & Control

The biggest problem with NBA In the Zone '98 is that it doesn't play realistically—and that doesn't mean it's more arcade-like to be fun. The way the ball drops after rebounds (along with the other inaccurate ball physics), the lack of strategy, and the terrible passing scheme all completely ruin the experience. Furthermore, the artificial intelligence is woefully lacking, with guys standing by idly and the computer hardly trying to play a team game.


One good thing is all of the optional choices in the game. For example, in the options you can change the quarter length, toggle stamina, choose a different camera angle, and change the difficulty level. Some of the rules you can change are the various second violations, fouling out, goal tending, and the shot clock violation. You can also change the controller configuration, which is a very good thing, but there are some limitations to doing that, which also makes this a Catch-22 situation. For instance, you cannot assign a button to do two things, you cannot use the L or R buttons, and you cannot use the Control Pad.

Graphics & Sound

Surprisingly, the graphics in NBA In the Zone '98 are some of the worst on the system. The animation is quite choppy, the game moves too slow, and the graphics are just plain blurry.


On the other hand, the sound in NBA In the Zone '98 is pretty good. There are some great-sounding rap tracks at the title screen and in the menus, and there are a ton of sound effects, including calling out player and team names and the score as well as some occasional play-by-play comments. On the other hand, all of the effects sound tinny, and the environment isn't very enticing with rare organ music and rare crowd reactions.


Even though it had a two and a half month head start over all other five-on-five basketball simulations on the N64, you would have still been better off avoiding NBA In the Zone '98, because the graphics are yucky, the realism isn't there, and overall, the game just doesn't feel right. Konami's next effort is going to have to take a gigantic leap if it expects to compete with the likes of NBA Courtside.
















Disappointingly, NBA In the Zone '98 is one of the worst games on the Nintendo 64. It doesn't play realistically, it looks terrible, it doesn't sound that good, and most importantly, it's not fun to play at all. Even though NBA Courtside isn't exactly the best basketball game ever, it seems like it compared to this one. How could have Konami gone so wrong?


Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: April 7, 1998

Appendix Added: May 20, 1998




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