(More old ST Review stuff from the 90’s)
Roll up sports fans and prepare for some serious basketball.
There’s no doubting that sports games sell by the bucket these days. The Jag has always been a bit of a poor relation in this respect though. Hopefully NBA Jam will change all this.
NBA Jam allows you to play against the Atari Jaguar or your friends. Whilst the Jaguar plays a mean game, it’s when you’re up against real people that games like this start to shine. With the ability to use both the Pro Controller and the Team Tap add-on, NBA is designed with just this in mind. NBA Jam allows up to four players to compete together.
Each game consists of four quarters. At the start of the first quarter, you choose your two players. You should aim for a mix of strong shooting along with good passing and blocking. If your combination of players doesn’t work out, you can always substitute either or both at the end of each quarter. Badly injured players can also be swapped out this way.
Assuming you win, you then get to play against another team. As the matches progress, you slowly work your way up the league.
The computer players start out very easy to beat but soon toughen up as you start to improve your play. Don’t expect to finish this cart in a hurry. With over 120 different NBA stars available for you to compete with (and against) you’ll be well occupied for some time.
During play, the A, B and C buttons act as shoot/block, pass/steal and turbo. These are used in various combinations to play the ball in a variety of ways. Exactly which manoeuvres can be performed is also controlled by the players individual abilities. You get different points depending on the distance you managed to make a successful shot from. In some game modes, powerup icons appear on the court to add extra abilities and increase skills.
The graphics are generally pretty good, especially for a cartridge. Each of the players have been individually digitised with representations both at selection time and during play. Unfortunately, the heads on the players are oversized to an alarming degree making them look deformed. The animation is adequate although a little more effort on the backgrounds would have improved things a lot. It is also quite hard to follow which player you are controlling during fast play. Lots of static screens add to a generally polished overall appearance.
The soundtrack pounds along with suitably frantic tunes and all sorts of audio effects add to the atmosphere. The sound is a cut above the average for a Jaguar game with individual calls for the various players.
The Options screen has plenty of adjustments to gameplay including tag mode, computer assistance and various timer parameters.
Overall, NBA Jam TE is a difficult game to quantify. In multiplayer mode it really comes into its own but for solo players the charm may wear off all too quickly. Some people really rate this game highly though. This is probably a game you should try to have a go of in the shop before splashing out your sixty quid ; after all, this is in the upper tier of Jaguar prices.
Product: NBA Jam Tournament Edition
Contact: JTS Atari
Telephone: 01753 xxxxxx
Min System: Jaguar
Highs: Multiplayer, Great Sound FX
Lows: Vastly overpriced, Odd Looking Players, A Little Repetitive
With a few friends, NBA provides tons of entertainment. You may get bored if playing on your own though.. 70%