NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC Review
Another title to Midway's ever growing list of arcade titles can be added, and it's NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC. Midway is really mostly known due to their outrageous sports games. First it was NBA Jam, which arrived on the Genesis, SNES, Gameboy, and Sega Gamegear. The game sold exceptionally well and Midway knew that that was the start of a new franchise. Soon that franchise begin to grow bigger, as another version of NBA Jam was released, it was called NBA Jam T.E. (Tournament Edition). I personally put many hours in to the game, I would play the game to the point of my fingers feeling numb. After quite sometime NBA Hangtime hit the markets but it didn't make the impact that the previous games made. Had Midway's series go kaput due to the lack of gameplay options and repetitiveness? Probably so, but I really don't think so. Now that I have gotten my hands on NBA Showtime I can safely say that it brings back memories of the good ol' 16-bit age. So see how Show Time fared out.
I remember reading a statement somewhere about Midway claiming that the graphics were supposed to be as good as the arcade port of Showtime. Turns out the graphics weren't really close to the arcade port. The PSX version of the game features somewhat grainy looking characters. Overall the characters move fluidly and smoothly with some seen polygonal clipping, and the motion capturing is pretty good. What really grabbed my attention about the graphics was that the facial expressions are superbly detailed. Almost every little detail can be seen, everything from the persons hair to the shape of his nose. The graphics aren't completely disappointing, they are pretty good for the most part. But if some detail was taken out of the backgrounds, and added to the characters the grainy effect could have been gone, and we could have been playing with solid looking players.
Nothing much has changed between the gameplay of the previous versions. It's still the same game with no fouls, no outs, no self passing, basically to sum it up "no rules". But don't get too happy, because Showtime does have one rule and that's the "goal tending" rule. Pulling that move out would result in boring gameplay, the only thing everybody would do is goal tend. I know many of you have probably played an NBA Jam related game, so I'll spare you the boring talk. What I will tell you is that the game features some crazy looking alley-oops as well as some extreme looking dunks. I also loved the opening FMV with the NBA on NBA tune and all the highlights shown definite plus. Oh and by the way the game is 4 players via multi tap. And on the last note for the gameplay, we couldn't get rid of the CPU assistance because there is no option for that. That means when you pass the ball to the CPU player, he plays for you but you can make him pass and shoot.
What all sports games are supposed to have is good commentary. And NBA Showtime is no exception. Although the game doesn't feature commentary on the caliber of Triple Play 2000 or FIFA 2000, NBA Showtime still manages to have on time play by play commentary, as well some color commentary. The quality of the speech is great, there is no break up and as I said before the clarity is crystal clear.
For some reason I couldn't get a hold of the control. It's either that I have been playing to many other sport titles, or maybe the control layout is pretty bad. The top buttons are used for turbo, while the X, Square, O, and Triangle buttons are to pass and shoot. Getting used to the layout was hard for some reason but I got the hang of it after a while. Basically I think the control layout is the same as the other games.
If you are looking for a good 4 player hoops game, this is the one for you. If you want to escape reality for a while make sure to pick up NBA Showtime and invite 3 other friends (that is if you have any). In the end I wasn't much disappointed with NBA Showtime, the game featured that same great gameplay that made NBA Jam what it is today.