Basketball with no limits: this game is the ultimate two-on-two arcade game now for the Nintendo Game Boy! No more pouring all those quarters and getting weird looks from the arcade staff staring at you behind the prize counters, because you can finally play the exciting basketball game at the comfort of your own palms!
In the Options menu, you can change the button assignments, assistance from your CPU teammate and even the difficulty mode. Given how terrible the gameplay can be, despite it being bland and redundant, I can't imagine someone playing this game on "Hardest" mode. Even if you were a hardcore, salty gamer, you wouldn't even survive the first game versus the Dallas Mavericks. I'm sure some of you will do it for kicks and/or for laughs, but in trying to beat this game, "Normal" mode is hard enough. In an effort to try and complete this game, and fast, I did so on "Easy" mode.
With that said, I went all out and defeated all 27 teams (today, the NBA has 30 teams) despite the wonky controls and gameplay. The result? You win an NBA Jam Championship trophy and your name in the rankings. (On "Easy" mode, and after winning the championship, I went 29-0.) The game finishes with credits. There, that's it. After beating the game, you get to play the "Juiced Mode" which makes the players 'run' faster. Even in that mode, the controls are still not good but it makes for less pressure applied when pressing the buttons to get your players to do what you want them to do. Slowly, it wears your hands out as you continue to play. Depending on how hard you press the buttons, it may also wear out the buttons on your Game Boy (same for the Super Nintendo, if you're playing this on the Super Game Boy).
The graphics aren't much, and the images of the players look like a 4x4 image stretched out using Adobe PhotoShop. Well, this is for the Game Boy so we can let it slide in the graphics department. As for the graphical animation, it's nothing too special. I would've liked to see a little animation of the audience every time a player dunks. For the scores, who's who? The on-screen graphics showing the score doesn't represent which team represents which score, leaving the gamer in disappointment. There's a reason why sports games on TV leave the score graphic on the whole time, even during down time, during a time out or during a possession. Now, okay, yes, back when the NBA was on NBC, it was a thing for the live on-screen graphics to display the scores and the game clock after the ball gets inbounded, then gets removed, forcing viewers to strictly pay attention to the game. Great, but this is a video game, not a live basketball game. I think the programmers were overworked and didn't even take time to fully integrate that feature, and possibly the pressure from production management likely wanted to get this game out quickly, despite its flaws. While I feel Acclaim and Beam could've done better, I, too, get the feeling that they may have been more focused on the console and arcade versions of this series. (Console versions will be reviewed in the near future.)
The music? Monotonous. It's a soundtrack that's repetitive, and not something you hope was on CD, or digital MP3 download. The sound effects, however, were fine, but it was just the music. It would be nice to hear something a little upbeat, yet sophisticated, and it would be nice to hear a different soundtrack for the final matchup against the final 28th team.
Since one gamer won't be able to play through the whole game in one sitting, you may want to save your game. How? This uses a password system, but here's where things get even more frustrating: The password is....FOURTEEN CHARACTERS LONG! This is a Game Boy game, why would they make the password so long to enter?! Other games, like Bomberman GB, only requires 4 characters when inputting the password, so why does this game require 14 letters and number? Worst of all, while you're busy writing the password code down, if no activity is done on the screen featuring the password, it then automatically cuts to the next part, which could be the team roster or the title screen. Horrendous. (I went all out to defeat this game in one sitting on "Easy" mode, and that took me roughly 6 hours, not counting some breaks I had taken here and there.)
Despite all those critiques, I will say this: I had a dramatic, heated matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers; I played as the Los Angeles Lakers. Ahh yes, cross-town rivals in the city of Angels (I grew up, currently live and am from Los Angeles, California my whole life). Talk about a dramatic comeback AND forcing overtime! Here's video for proof; Light-colored jerseys are the Lakers, and the dark-colored jerseys are the Clippers ("Coaching Tips" and "Halftime Report" have been edited out for the sake of time):
That was rough....but an amazing effort. I was so nervous I got off my seat during the fourth quarter—no joke.
NBA Jam is a marvelous series in the sport of basketball, and having to knock off your opponents without any worries of fouling out brings some humor and intensity to the game. While we can forgive the game of its graphical touch, as the game utilized all it could that the Game Boy can allow, the controls and gameplay were abysmal and could've gotten a higher score, or, perhaps during its release, could've gotten a "Million-Selling" medal from Nintendo.
Unless you're a huge fan of the series, are a video game collector, or a big basketball fan, you're not missing out on much.
Not to worry: Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns won't make your video gaming needs blurry. Get some max-level boost: