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NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC

Rated E for Everyone

Platform:

Nintendo 64 (N64)

Publisher:

Midway

Developer:

Eurocom

Released:

November 1999

ROM Size:

128 megabits

Players:

One to Four Simultaneous

Genre:

Sports (Basketball)

Save:

Controller Pak (10 pages)

Optional:

Rumble Pak

 

 

> Final Rating: 4.2 out of 5.0

Introduction

Midway took extreme arcade-style sports to the next level with the excellent NFL Blitz, and the same development team has breathed new life into the arcade basketball genre. The magic of the original NBA Jam is back, and it's better than ever.

 

For the Nintendo 64 duties, Midway turned to Eurocom Entertainment Software. The development house has produced everything from great ports of not-so-great games (War Gods for Midway) to enhanced ports of games (Cruis'n World for Nintendo) to original software (Duke Nukem: Zero Hour for GT Interactive). As with NFL Blitz, the home version of NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC noticeably lacks some graphical flair and some sound samples compared to the coin-op version. But an admiral job was completed considering the resources available.

Gameplay & Control

NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC emphasizes simplicity in the control department to ensure fast, frantic action. Although the controller configuration can be changed, the default works perfectly fine. On offense, Turbo is the R or Z button, Shoot is the B button, and Pass is the A button. On defense, the B button jumps to Block or Rebound, the A button is Steal, and the R button (or Z + A) is Shove or Push. From there, Turbo can be used in conjunction with Pass and Rebound for something faster and more powerful. You can double-tap the Turbo button while moving to spin or while stopped to clear out. Head fakes are accomplished by quickly pressing the Shoot button with your feet planted. Alley Oops and Double Dunks are two cool teammate moves.

 

New to the series is fouls. Commit five fouls in any quarter and your opponent will be given a three-point free throw attempt and the ball if the shot is made. All fouls are wiped from the slate at the start of each quarter or after a free throw attempt. Like NFL Blitz, violence is a fun part of NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC.

 

Just like prior NBA Jam games, when the same player sinks three consecutive shots, he becomes "on fire." That player gains unlimited turbo and a greater shooting percentage. Team Fire now exists, too, when three consecutive Alley Oops or Double Dunks are made. Then both players are "on fire." Goaltending doesn't count as a basket, so that can help get you on fire or keep you like that longer. On the other hand, your fire can be doused either after the opposing team sinks a basket or after you make five shots while in the flames of blazing glory.

 

In the options department, NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC lets you adjust difficulty level, music and sound effects volume, and the speed of the clock. Then you have the choice to enter a name and PIN number to save statistics and to create your own player.

 

With the Create-A-Player mode, you first adjust attributes. Total points need to be divided among height, weight, power, speed, 2 ptrs, 3 ptrs, steal, block, dunks, and dribble. So you can decide if you would rather have a three-point shooter, a power forward, or a dunk master. You can also acquire more points by answering trivia questions. Next, you get to select two of seven privileges: Stealth Turbo, Big Head, Drone Big Head, Court Select, Choose Hotspot, Hide Attributes, or Choose Jersey. The privileges always will be in effect to give you a slight advantage. Finally, you pick a name and number before saving your player to the Controller Pak.

 

The hardwood action of NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC follows the over-the-top formula of NFL Blitz or Ready 2 Rumble Boxing with frantic speed and extreme moves. You choose two NBA stars from a specific team (each team has four to seven players). All 28 NBA arenas are represented, and 130 total players are in the game. Substitutions also can be made at halftime, if necessary.

 

Then four three-minute quarters ensue. A jump ball meter, where you have to press the buttons as fast as you can, determines who gets the ball first. Just like the NBA, there is a 24-second shot clock. The two-on-two action then gets fast, furious, violent, and high flying from there. Players can dunk from the free throw line, drain a three pointer from half court, and push each other around to try to get the ball.

 

Also, Midway has designed the artificial intelligence so if one player starts to pull away, then the other player has a better chance to steal balls and make three-point shots. This keeps most games entertaining to the very end—often the final shot decides the outcome. As a final note, NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC supports four-player simultaneous play.

Graphics & Sound

As the name implies, NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC uses the NBA on NBC license. That means actual NBC graphics and overlays, actual NBC music and sound effects, and the actual NBC camera angle are used. It really helps the atmosphere, lending authenticity to the game.

 

Since it was ported from the arcade, the Nintendo 64 version of NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC lacks the high-count polygon models and detailed facial animation. Nevertheless, this polygon-based game animates smoothly and quickly. There are literally hundreds of over-the-top dunks and animations. And the player models aren't too shabby, either. You will notice this at the end of each quarter when there's a rotating, up-close still-frame shot of where the action stopped when the siren sounded. Players are distinguishable, too, since their faces are texture mapped and their bodies are scaled to real-life size. Noticeably missing from the Nintendo 64 version, however, is instant replay after big-time plays.

 

Sound is a very impressive aspect of NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC. NBC's theme music plays at the beginning of the game and other low-key jammin' background music plays during the game. Sound effects are what make an impression, however. Even though the NBA on NBC license is used throughout the game, the announcer is not from NBC. The announcer is Tim Kitzrow, who is the same enthusiastic and outrageous person who called NFL Blitz. The majority of his calls from the arcade version, with the exception of player names, are included. Furthermore, players sometimes talk trash after great plays: "Who's your daddy?"

Conclusion

NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC is one of those games that isn't innovative, technically advanced, or terribly deep for its time. But it's just so much fun that you can't help but play it over and over—notably with two or more players. If you want the magic of the original NBA Jam rekindled, give NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC a shot.

 

Graphics:

3.8

Sound:

4.1

Control:

4.2

Gameplay:

4.3

Lastability

4.2

OVERALL:

4.2

 

DOWN THE ROAD

Not available.

 

Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: February 25, 2000

Appendix Added: N/A

 

 

 

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