NBA Showtime: NBA
Publisher & Developer: Midway
Genre: Arcade Basketball
Capabilities: VMU & Jump Pak Compatible
2-on-2 arcade basketball action, much like the NBA Jam and Hangtime games, but in 3-D. The only other arcade basketball game by Midway to go 3-D was NBA Jam Extreme, and it didn't turn out to be all that good of a game with sloppy control, so will this one fail as well, or improve upon Extreme's weaknesses.
Graphics were very impressive, of course they're nothing like in NBA2K, but they're just right for an arcade game. All the faces are textured nicely, and surprisingly look a lot like the real thing. and all the players are loaded with muscles like in Caricatures, where they look unlifelike, and completely out of proportion, but I guess it fits the arcade genre nicely. You get instant replays too, but they aren't as great as the one's found in NBA 2K, where they only last a few seconds, from only one angle, and with no special zoom ins or anything, but at least there was an effort, for example, some replays are shown right after a simple slam dunk that don't even look the greatest. There is a nice opening FMV though, that makes use of the NBA on NBC television theme, that makes you think youre about to play a simulation basketball game. You got lots of great background courts to play on, from in doors, to the beach, or city court, they all look great, and are fun to play on. Theres nothing really wrong with the visuals, but the big characters might turn away some fans use to playing the Live series.
There's only one announcer, but he does a pretty good job calling the action, and he doesn't sound like a talking robot like the announcer in NFL QB Club '98 for N64. All the sound effects are done nicely like the monster dunks, the ball swishing through the hoop and bouncing off the board and so on. Sometimes the NBC music gets really annoying, but otherwise, everything sounds pretty good.
If you played previous Jam or Hangtime games you know how to play. It's 2-on-2 action, with monster dunks, easy 3-pointers and barely any rules. I wish goaltending was always legal, since it happens way too often in this game. I heard there were free throws in this game too, but I haven't run into a free throw situation when I rented the game. This game incorporates some of the new moves that debuted in NBA Hangtime such as spin moves, alley-oops, and double dunks, all which look pretty good and with practice, become easy to pull off. In the previous Jam and Hangtimes, when you jump to block a shot, your player seems to stay up longer than your average sim game, which of course I got use to and made game play pretty good, but in NBA Showtime your players are in the air for way longer than you should be, and by the time your player lands on the ground after a missed block, the team has already scored.
But my biggest complaint about the gameplay is the really awkward default controller settings they give you. They're nothing like in previous Jam or Hangtime games, and you'll get mixed up from the start. Usually I can adapt to many different control schemes, but I couldn't for this title, but thank god I can change the controller settings! But the average gamer usually doesn't change the controls at all and just stick with the default settings. The game is packed with a few modes like exhibition, season, and tournament modes, plus the great create a player mode where you can make your own player from scratch. You only have 4, three minute quarters, and can only make substitutions at halftime. The game does seem to move at a more sluggish rate then previous hoop games from Midway, strangely.
There's a few bonus modes like tournament and season play, plus you can even create your own player which is really fun to mess around with, with lots of things to do, you can even give him his own nickname which the announcer calls him by! Plus there's 4-player action too, and unlike most sports titles, this one doesn't take up half of your VMU, only 18 blocks, and 2 for each created player. But you better hope the awful default controller settings don't drive your friends away from this game.
+: Some nice visuals here, Create-a-Player is great, Nice exclusive console modes like tournament and season
-: The game plays rather sluggish, horrible default control settings, poorly done instant replays
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 6.2
Replay Value: 6.7
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 7
It's a pretty good buy if you like arcade sports games, but In my honest opinion I like the old 2-D NBA Jam/Hangtime games a lot more than this. I definately reccommend renting this game first before you buy, plus make sure to change the control schemes to the previous Jam/Hangtime games, because you'll have lots of trouble getting this one down.