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NBA Showdown (SNES) artwork

NBA Showdown (SNES) review

"NBA Showdown isn't worth playing. At all. We'll leave it at that."

NBA Showdown tries a pretty clever trick. It attempts to pass itself off as a basketball game. Sure, if you look on the back of the box, you'd think it was actually a fairly decent game - full NBA rosters, season mode, and detailed stat tracking. However, NBA Showdown manages to take the fast paced game of basketball and turn it into a slow, plodding game of running back and forth, with absolutely no speed. At all. Not in the slightest.

First, the good parts of the game... All the NBA players from the start of the 1993 season are in the game. There's no Bird, but there is Jordan, Reggie Lewis, and a few others that have since retired. Shaq and Penny are both still on the Orlando Magic, which is always a good thing.

Some of the season mode is also great, as long as you don't play any games, or question the logic of the game. You can play the full 82 game season, or other adjustable lengths (41, 20, ect.). All the stats for all the other teams in the league are also tracked. Trades are even allowed, a rarity for the pre-Live basketball games.

Unfortunately, there is no balancing mechanism for the trades. Wanna trade Charles Barkley straight-up for Craig Ehlo? Go right ahead! The roster size is always 12, so you can't trade or release players, or make multiplayer trades. In fact, unless you rearrange lineups, you can't even trade players past the starting five. It is an early SNES basketball game, so the effort made is commendable, but it's still extremely lacking.

Once you start the game though, it gets ugly, in every possible sense of the word. The normal speed of a basketball game is gone; in its place is a pace that can be described as ''lethargic'' at best. Time slows down as you play NBA Showdown. It takes around four to six seconds just to bring the ball up the court each possession.

Of course, you could just pass it up. The defense never ever manages to steal a pass, even to the point where the ball PASSES THROUGH THE DEFENDER'S BODY into the hands of the player catching the pass. Defense is a pipe dream. Blocking is nearly impossible, and even attempting to steal usually results in a foul.

The computer doesn't even try to switch defense assignments; put a guard in at the center position and watch him drive past the center every single time. A simple tap of the shoot button for a headfake will also get the computer in the air. It doesn't matter if you're trying to shoot a three pointer with Dennis Rodman, the defender will still jump like a moron.

Because of all these gross errors, the computer is laughably easy to beat, even on the ''Superstar'' level. If you start a lineup with five guards, it's possible to beat the computer by over one hundred points, every single point on either layups or dunks. Easily.

There is only one significant gameplay element in NBA Showdown that actually provides some entertainment. A few characters have speciality dunks, ones different from all the others featured in the game. Jordan's ''Kiss The Rim'' classic from an old slam dunk contest is particularily impressive. However, since the rest of the game is so horrible, it's no reason for a purchase.

NBA Showdown can't even provide a suitable multiplayer experience. Two player games are backstabbing affairs, where each player tries to outcheat the other; i.e. Who can leave their guards out for the longest time on court, who can hit some three pointers, ect. Actual skill has little to do with winning a head-to-head NBA Showdown game.

Graphically, NBA Showdown is hideous. It's barely a step-up from Bulls Vs. Blazers, the first basketball game that EA Sports made for the Super Nintendo. The same court and crowd is used for every single game, except that the court logo changes depending on who is the home team. Players look vaguely like their real life counterparts, and by vaguely I mean extremely so. The skin tone is correct for most of the players, that's about as good as it gets. There are no names on the back of the jerseys either, only numbers. Team logos aren't even on the jerseys.

It's hard to believe, but the sound and music in NBA Showdown is WORSE than Bulls Vs. Blazers. Apparently, the Bulls with Jordan and Pippen play in a morgue, because there is absolutely no crowd music. No stadium chants, blaring music in the background, nothing. Complete silence. Even the simple sound effect of dribbling the ball seems muted and dead.

NBA Showdown isn't worth playing. At all. We'll leave it at that.

sgreenwell's avatar
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)

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