In 1993, Midway games forever changed the video game sports. With its over-the-top and largely popular two-on-two basketball title “NBA Jam,” sports games became popular for both sports fanatics and non-sports fans alike. Following the success of “NBA Jam,” Midway continued to reign as champion of “arcade-style” with sports games such as “NFL Blitz,” “Wayne Gretzky”s 3-D Hockey” and further updates of “NBA Jam.”
Unfortunately, with little change from year to year, these unrealistic games were getting old among arcade and home console gamers. However, with the release of EA Sports Big”s “NBA Street” for Playstation 2, it appears that a reemergence of “arcade-style” sports games is on the horizon.
What makes “NBA Street” so successful is the combination of old ideas from Midway”s “NBA Jam” series with newer ideas from EA Sports Big”s first release, “SSX.” In the tradition of “Jam,” “NBA Street” features air-defying dunks, more rejections than Screech ever received from Lisa and physical play only matched by the fights of Tazmanian devils on the Discovery Channel. Also like “NBA Jam,” the game is not a typical five-on-five match-up. Instead, the game uses a three-on-three setup which allows for more up-tempo gameplay. With fast gameplay and a smooth frame rate, gamers will be able to pick this game up anytime for quick thrills.
While quick thrill videogames are always good to have, they usually end up having lots of dust on them after several months. This is not likely to be the case with “NBA Street,” for in addition to speedy gameplay, the game also features an intuitive trick system. While unlike anything ever seen in a basketball game before, the game”s trick system is very similar to that of “SSX.” By holding the square button and using different combinations of the shoulder buttons on the Dual Shock 2 controller, gamers will be able to pull off outlandish moves similar to those seen in the recent Nike commercials featuring NBA stars and streetballers.
Also similar to the recent Nike commercials is the fact that “NBA Street” offers a perfect blend of street ball and professional basketball. While the game features the likes of Kevin Garnett, Chris Webber and Allen Iverson, the game also has a wide array of street ball legends. This combination makes for an interesting twist in the City Court mode, where you build your team from a combination of the NBA and street ball players you beat.
In addition to great gameplay and game modes, “NBA Street” offers spectacular graphics and sound. Unlike the game”s evil stepbrother, EA”s “NBA Live 2001,” “Street” prefers to use sharp graphics and great surround-sound as opposed to blurry graphics and meecrob sound effects.
Considering that EA Sports Big can bring new life to snowboarding games, and now also basketball games, it will be interesting to see what they can do for the snowmobiling genre in their next release, “Sled Storm 2.” Hopefully after that, they can bring new life to other genres such as fishing and bowling.