SNES Review – NBA Jam


He’s on fire! Playing this game recently with my buddy really brought back memories of my childhood! I was never much of a sports video game fan (can don’t care about sports in general bedsides olympics – go CANADA!) but every once in a while something came along (like NHL 94) that managed to keep me engaged. The sports games that I liked usually had awesome multiplayer and simple but satisfying game mechanics – this game does both pretty well!


The game starts of with game mode selection – I headed straight for multiplayer (and have actually never touched any of the other game modes)! Teams from the East and West NBA divisions are present, and players select their team made of up two NBA stars. There are a number of stats for each player including speed, dunks defence, and 3 pointers that help diversify the teams, and the stats actually matter! My buddy’s player had higher dunk points than me and was actually able to do some impressive dunks that my players just couldn’t do.   In spite of this, I never felt like one team was more powerful than the other – it matters as a player how you play more than which team you select. The NBA license is well used and really gives this game a sense of authenticity.


In terms of gameplay, you take control of a team in a 2 vs 2 matches. Controls are easy and arcade friendly – one button passes, one button shoots (or dunks), and one button turns on TURBO which makes the player run fast! I really like the simplicity of the controls because they are intuitive and because so much cools stuff can happen just with button sets! If the shoot button in pushed with the turbo button down while close to the net, players can do some amazing dunks! It’s just fun to see players fly high and smash that ball though the net! There just wasn’t enough dunk animations and they aren’t as fancy as they should have been.


One issue that annoyed me however was the inability to control one of the two players on my team – even when the ball was passed to this player! I fumbled around in the options menu and was able to turn this off so that I had more control of my team, but still don’t know what the developers had this as the default option! One thing the developers did right however was the use of the SNES multitab! This is one of the few games that support up to four players! This is the reason to get this game!


In terms of sound – the announcer makes this game hilarious – “that was a terrible shot,” and “he’s on fire!” are just some of the best lines he uses. They really make the rivalry between teams fun and encourage making fun of your opponents. Graphics get the job done but are pretty bland and the players look generic. Very few special effects apart from the shoes changing colour when the turbo button is used.

Overall, this is a sports game that has simple but fun gameplay, excellent sound, and great multiplayer! Graphics are meh, and as the game is about dunking, I felt a tad let down with the variety of dunks available. Overall I give this game a 7/10. The dunk problem did eventually get addressed with the release of the tournament edition but I will tackle that in a later review! In the meantime – enjoy the awesome multiplayer!


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