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NBA Jam PlayStation 2

Published by Acclaim
Developed by Acclaim
Released - Out Now
Price : £39.99

A long time ago in the US there was an incredibly popular arcade game called NBA Jam which offered a zany look at basketball. The game arrived on several consoles and was again very popular but then the series lay dormant until Acclaim decided to bring it back to the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Of course today we have other zany takes on sports such as NBA Street, SEGA Soccer Slam and the Hitz and Blitz series so how does the original madcap sports game compare? This review looks at the PlayStation 2 version of NBA Jam.

Let's begin by taking a look at the gameplay modes that NBA Jam has. Well surprisingly there are only 3, Exhibition, Jam Tournament and Legends Tournament. This limited choice is perhaps the biggest problem with the game. It's either a one-off friendly match or a choice of two tournaments. In case you're wandering the Legends Tournament is a tournament for the teams of yesteryear dating from pre '70s to '90s. The matches are shown in black and white although the special effects that accompany the zany moves are still in colour. There is nothing wrong with the modes on offer, it's just that there isn't enough here when compared to titles such as NBA Street and it's sequel. To add a bit of extra appeal though you can spend the points you earn during play in the Jam Store. Here you will find stacks of unlockable items plus you are also able to create your own players and team, which is always a welcome feature.

When it comes to the gameplay though NBA Jam still has what it takes to remain enjoyable and humorous. The 3 vs. 3 gameplay is fast and action filled. Almost every move can be modified by use of the turbo buttons. The action never gets bogged down and the outrageous dunks never cease to amuse. A hotspot function, that requires a full hotspot meter to use, enables a hotspot to appear on the court and if you shoot from it you'll see some extra special shots that normally aren't possible. This feature was similar to the hotspot that appeared at random in SEGA Soccer Slam, although it's perhaps a better idea that you have to fill a meter to earn a hotspot (by making good moves, tackles etc.) rather than it appearing at random. The only criticism I can make of the gameplay is the seemingly over-reliance on alley-oops. The amount of them in a game is just crazy.

Visually NBA looks good and as you would expect the players do look out of the ordinary. The heads, hands and feet of the players are oversized. The courts look quite good and the usual polished floor look is again put to good use. The animations are a bit of a mixed bag though. Whilst all the 'super' moves look outrageous the basic animations of the players are simply OK but could be a lot better. The framerate never wavers though and remains constantly smooth throughout.

Generally speaking the game is fine for deaf gamers. All the information is shown visually or in text. The only information you'll miss out on is commentary, which doesn't affect the gameplay although it can be quite humorous at times and it's a shame that you'll miss out on this aspect of the game. In every other way though the game is fine.

NBA Jam makes a successful return and the PlayStation 2 version is certainly a good addition to the series. The only disappointments come in the limited amount of gameplay modes. Compared to other titles of this nature, and indeed to most other sports titles that have been released over the last few years, the game doesn't offer a lot of variety. Still if you long for that NBA Jam experience then you'll be pleased with what's on offer here.

Overall Game Rating: 7.4/10
Still an enjoyable game but could do with a greater range of gameplay modes to add substance to the the game.

Deaf Gamers comment:
The humorous commentary isn't subtitled but otherwise there are no problems.