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NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC (Nintendo 64) artwork

NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC (Nintendo 64) review

"I missed a memo. "

I missed a memo.

Here I see gawkish, chicken-winged players engaging in dull two-on-two showdowns. Options are minimal: offensively, one can either pass or shoot, or working the turbo button into the mix, pass -- with authority! -- or shoot -- with style! -- that only marginally improve percentages. A double-tap of the turbo performs a less than visually stunning crossover that, regardless, turns the opposition's knees to butter. Should you pass the ball and be the single player, you'll still be in control of the man without the ball, though you can override the new caretaker's decisions with the pass and shoot buttons. But this is not so thrilling, as he's usually hoisting up a shot long before you can work to get open.

Defensively this exhibit is even flimsier. Go for a steal and sometimes, randomly and not based on position of the ball relative to the dribbler, it will magically be stripped. Jump up for a block or rebound only to find yourself feebly pawing the air most occasions, and in the strange case of a rejection, watching your opponent track down the loose ball for an even easier follow-up. Three-pointers rain from half-court. Defenses can often be dribbled around for easy lay-ups.

As a whole, NBA Showtime on NBC leaves everything to be desired. I know I'm not spoiled by the likes of NBA Street; I never understood the appeal of this title long before the EA powerhouse showed it up and did the "larger-than-life" concept to death. Let it be noted: this is not NBA Jam, either. That game rightfully earned its place in arcade lore.

Undoubtedly Showtime is weaker here than in the arcades; its announcing has been cut to nothing and games cannot be saved without a memory pack. You'd think with the console transition the interface would improve; spend too long deciding between creating a player or starting a contest and you'll be watching the computer demo soon enough, emphasizing it was a lazy port. Certainly better unlockables could be devised; hidden players are revealed only through looking up their name and pin number -- yes, pin number -- online and inputting it in the create a player feature. Other bonuses are available only if you care to make a mad dash inputting codes on the load screen before each game. Is it worth it? It might be if these were icing-on-the-cake extras, but they're the only ones, and even with them from the get-go it would barely be passable.

I take it I just wasn't filled in. Why is this good? How is this any different from the archaic titles of yore, such as Arch Rivals on the NES? That game boils down to pass and shoot play, has unremarkable presentation and limited options, and features two-on-two action that doesn't feel proportionate to the court size. It was an ugly affair.

This is the same game, for a different generation. It was bad at the time. It's laughable now.

drella's avatar
Community review by drella (April 06, 2008)

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