Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Game Review - NBA Jam

If you're a junior basketball coach, you'd want to keep your charges well away from NBA Jam, where players are rewarded for showing off and shoving the other team on defence. As a rule-follower myself, I felt a bit uncomfortable at first with this laissez-faire approach to the game J.Naismith built, but after a while you get used to the mania, and how it marks a refreshing change from the 'if it's in the game, it's in the game' attitude of other sports sims. For those unfamiliar with the original, NBA Jam essentially revolves around a fast-paced game of 2-on-2, in which players have abnormally big heads and can leap higher than the backboard to deliver court-shaking dunks. For those already converted to the church of 'Boomshakalaka!' this version updates the players to today's rosters, but you're able to unlock the players from the early '90s version, as well as other basketball legends not named Jordan. There's also a 'remix tour' which involves a slightly different version of 2-on-2 with power-ups (but these don't tend to affect the game that much), as well as a backboard smashing game, a 'domination' game in which you shoot and try to capture seven spots on the floor, and boss battles. And you can still catch 'on fire' if you make three consecutive shots. Like all sports games it tires after a bit, still it's not like you can replace it by going down to your local court and doing backflips from the free throw line. Or growing a gigantor head. Or shoving your opponent to the ground. At least not without some unintended side-effects.

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