I was a huge fan of NBA Jam on the SNES – I loved the over the top action and awesome multiplayer – and thats saying something considering I don’t consider myself a fan of basketball! When the Nintendo 64 came out, NBA Hang Time shortly followed and presented itself as a true sequel NBA Jam. So – is it any good?
In terms of gameplay, the game feels very similar to NBA Jam. The game is centred around 2 vs. 2 basketball games. You select a team of two players and battle it out! The controls are simple – you shoot with down C, pass with Right C, and turn on turbo by holding A. If you are on the defensive, you can block with down C. The simplicity of the controls makes the game quite accessible and fun. By combining turbo with shooting, you can do some pretty amazing dunks that are even more over-the-top than in NBA jam! The tension between using your turbo to run back to defend or save it for shooting makes for a fun dynamic in the game. Overall though – the gameplay is simple and fun, but there is not much depth and it can get a bit stale after a while.
I found playing against the computer quite hard, but the true fun of this game comes from multiplayer action! I remember playing 2 vs. 2 with three of my friends growing up, which was an absolute blast! One troublesome issue that I initially found was that that when you are playing alone, you only control one of the players on your team and can’t take control of the other player unless you change the option in the menu. I found this an odd decision because it took control away from the player – but after changing this in the menu, all was well!
The game also included a CRAZY character creation mode (as seen below). You can create a player by modifying everything from facial features (including chicken head) to your height and stats. While I didn’t play with it very much, I think I would have loved it as a kid back in the 90’s. Once complete, you could save your player and use him in regular matches which was quite hilarious.
In terms of graphics, the game looks pretty ugly with low resolution 2D sprites – but there is a charm to it that I find nostalgic. The game runs very well with no slowdown that I was able to appreciate. The heads of each character are supersized which looks a bit jarring initially but fits nicely with the rest of the over-the-top action. The game also employs a lot of fun special effects so spruce up the ball and players like making the ball a fireball! The music in the game is low quality but the announcer can be fun at times, although the flow of speech is usually quite truncated making it sound quite artificial.
In summary, this is a simple over-the-top basketball game that can be fun in short bursts but lacks staying power. If you have friends to play with, pick this one up and create some funky characters to play against each other! If you are planning on playing this one alone however, I wouldn’t bother picking it up. Overall, the game isn’t quite as good as NBA Jam but still deserves a score of 7/10 for its great multiplayer action!
Final Score: 7/10