Thursday, December 08, 2005

5 Hours of NBA Jam T.E.

The other weekend, I played 5 consecutive hours of NBA Jam Tournament Edition for Genesis. My head pounded for the next two days so maybe this marathon playing has passed me by since I am getting older afterall. It got started because TV offered no good choices and my XBox won't be opened for three weeks. I was always a decent Jam player, but I never dominated my friends in Jam like I still do in NHL 95. Tournament Ediition added lots of extra power-ups that you could choose before playing without any codes. It also offers a greater statistics, player ratings, and rosters. Of course, being an Acclaim game, there are plenty of secret power-ups and hidden characters.

I still remember going to "Nobody Beats the Wiz" in Paramus and getting the original NBA Jam the day it was released. It was the only game I got right away. After spending plenty of quarters at its arcade machine, I'm sure my parents were happy to know this only cost them a one-time fee of $50. It was hard for me to get past the idea that I could play this for free whenever I wanted to in my house. Down with visits to the arcade!

Time for some ugly basketbrawling. (original NBA Jam)

NBA Jam has always been a fun and fluid game. Like my NHL 95 cartridge's battery, the NBA Jam battery has seen better days and no longer saves my information. Therefore, to beat all 27 or so teams, I had to keep the Genesis on the entire time. I recognize I could have taken a break by walking away with the Genesis on, but that would've been too easy. I set the timer to extra fast and the drone difficulty to 4 (out of 5). I chose the Jazz b/c I still love seeing a pixelated John Stockton throw it down on the baseline. The combination of 2 3-point shooters and a dunker with a high creativity rating made for a good run.

Tournament Edition places a higher emphasis on injuring your opponent by shoving him to the floor. The more times they're shoved, the slower they become. Against the computer, this is pretty easy to pull off because it doesn't always recognize the rational thing to do when it's getting pummelled. Versus a human, it's a real beatdown on both ends. I was losing after the first quarter in about 1/4 of the games because I kept knocking people down. This strategy worked well and paid off later on b/c the computer had few healthy options by the 3rd and 4th quarters.

I usually had the following rotation: Qtr. 1 - Stockton and Malone, Qtr. 2 - Malone and Hornacek, Qtr 3. - Stockton and Hornacek (sometime Malone if he wasn't hurt badly and I needed the extra help), and Qtr. 4 - Stockton and Malone. By not playing on the highest difficulty, I got away with two short PGs in the 3rd. For the next rainy day, I will try the highest setting. I have no plans to use any later versions, especially when they put Keith Van Horn on the 1999 cover.

I noticed some aspects of the game: the CPU will make every full-court shot which means you must be up by 4 to win the game if there is even a second on the clock, the FT line hook shot is deadly, it hurts my pride getting knocked over by Spudd Webb but feels even better to dunk on him, hearing "boomshakalaka", "oh my!", "he's on fire!", and "ugly shot" never gets old, a 1995 game lets you think about how many dynasties the NBA was supposed to have in places like Orlando and Charlotte...provided MJ never played, how many paycheck piligers in the videogame are still playing today, and not having MJ and Shaq to play with sucks.

Make sure your battery works so you can play against the developers and their special teams after unlocking them (as if anyone will take my advice and use this blog when playing this game). Turning off the Genesis also loses the unlocked All-Star team that replaces the Rookies, as well as really expanded rosters with 5 or 6 players. I lost two games over my 5-hour marathon, with an exciting win over the knicks that required 4 goaltends and "on fire" 3's from Malone in the last minute to send the game to OT. This is still a great 2-player game that's lots of fun with options like 9-point full court dunks, bomb earthquakes, and speed bursts.

This should be the last mid-90's Genesis game review for a long time as I leap forward in videogame technology to 2001 when the XBox was released. Once my XBox gets fired up, the genesis will start collecting more dust, unless of course you want to play Genesis for old time's sake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I happened to come accross your blog because the battery on my NBA Jam does not save games, so you blog came across my searches.

Great blog. I love NBA jam and I am not into sports games that much. sometimes it amazes me how this 16bit games are better than their cd counterparts. I am not ready to do a NBA Jam Marathon but once i get a few days from work I will try to do it :)

great post.