January 2, 2000

NBA Showtime - Review

Release Date Publisher Developer Players Rating RRP
VMU Game Difficulty Save Size Vibration 60Hz 50Hz Border
NoEasy19 BlocksYesYesNone

Yet another of Midway's 1999 Dreamcast games, this time an NBA based title. NBA Showtime is a continuation of Midway's highly successful NBA Jam series of games which began years ago, and is the first basketball title on Sega's new machine. With NBA2K still several months away this will be the only choice for basketball fans for quite some time.

NBA Showtime is a 2 on 2 basketball game with the gameplay emphasis firmly set on fast action and spectacular dunks. Restricting the number of players to four on the court removes a lot of the confusion when you have ten players on a court trying to get the ball as in most other basketball simulations. The four player restriction also allows for some great 4 player action, assuming you have or can get a hold of 4 Dreamcast controllers.

NBA Jam was renowned for it's over the top style gameplay and unbelievable dunks. NBA Showtime is no exception. As with previous games in the series most of the rules in basketball have been thrown out and the gameplay is pretty much free for all. Some conditions still apply such as the shot clock and 3 point line, but that's about it. The variety of dunks, lay-ups and shots available are unbelievable. It's even possible to make your player jump in the air so high that he's off the screen and then slam the ball through the hoop for 2 points. Definitely fun against a novice human opponent, or someone who has never played the game before.

Graphically, NBA Showtime varies in quality quite a bit. Parts of the intro are grainy and should have been better, while other parts of the intro have superb video quality and is easily on par with the excellent video of NFL Blitz. The menus are good with some great player photo's when selecting your teams. Unfortunately, the in-game graphics can be a little on the fuzzy side and the crowds are very two dimensional. There is also occasional collision problems, especially when the players are crowded together or when someone dunks the ball. Fortunately, the game is very smooth with no hint of slowdown at all. The players are superbly animated, even during some of the over the top styled shots and dunks. The replays are also very good and only occur when something very special happens on court and not just randomly when someone scores like so many other games.

Sound wise NBA Showtime has nothing that wouldn't be expected. The crowd noises are adequate and the commentary, while not the best I've heard in a sports game, is pretty good. The music is directly from NBC who have endorsed the game, hence the subtitle NBA Showtime : NBA on NBC, and is atmospheric if not that exciting.

While everything may sound great there is a pretty big problem with the game, which can be annoying. The computer has a catch up feature which, no matter how hard you try, makes it virtually impossible to obliterate an opponent. In one match I played the final score was 156-156 after 3 over times which is when the game ended. For most of the game the computer and I were shooting consecutive 3 pointers.

NBA Showtime is yet another strong Dreamcast title for Midway. With fast action and great atmosphere this game is one of the most enjoyable arcade styled basketball titles in years. Playing in multi-player mode only adds to the excitement, and there is nothing better then sinking a long bomb from half court to win a match. If your an NBA Jam fan you'll love this title, if you like sports games I can't see you disliking this title either.

Graphics Sound Gameplay Value Overall