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NBA Hoopz
Score: 89%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Midway
Developer: EA Games
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 6 (Multitap)
Genre: Sports

Graphics & Sound:
NBA Hoopz is a very arcade-like basketball game and this shows through in both the graphics and sound alike. The court looks nice and the surroundings look nice, but because of the limitations of the PlayStation, the players just aren't very distinguishable from each other. A valid attempt to have incredible detail was made with the shading and modeling of players, unfortunately this is all washed out in the PSX version of NBA Hoopz.

As with the graphics and gameplay, the sounds of NBA Hoopz give you the total arcade at home feel. Although not perfect, the announcer's short one-liners are very accurate and keep you informed of all of the action on the court, from each pass to every bone-crushing dunk. Court noises are very well done also, including the thunderous sound of a monster jam on your home stereo system!

The only reason to ever port an arcade-style game like NBA Hoopz to the home market is because of gameplay, and that's where this baby shines! This ain't your typical NBA game. Hoopz is a rough, 3-on-3, full-contact version of the real deal. Here 'NBA' definitely stands for 'No Babies Allowed.' And it is here where your favorite athletes are ever so slightly fictionalized, allowing them to make some of the most amazing dunks you've ever seen.

Speaking of dunks, everybody's favorite shot is a major element in NBA Hoopz... and these jams aren't your ordinary everyday 'oh, look, I touched the rim' dunks. Instead, these are the kind of slams that bring down the house... every time! Did I mention that the good people at Midway brought in my man, Shaquille O'Neal, to motion-capture his post moves? Yepper, and you'll definitely feel the rattling of the rim as you dominate the paint.

One of the best features of NBA Hoopz is the ability to play with up to 6 players (5 players with one Multitap, 6 players with two) for the ultimate party game. Highlights included in NBA Hoopz are player and team editing, the ability to select your position (guard, forward, center), tons of players from real NBA teams, and my favorite, very fast gameplay with easy to use controls. Another cool feature is the ability to test your NBA knowledge with trivia questions that reward you with extra player attribute points to disperse among your teams. Also included is the ability to create a tournament or play any number of games (up to 82) in Season mode. The best part of playing a full season is that unlike NBA simulation games, Hoopz games get over very, very quickly, so it won't take you long to get through the entire season.

NBA Hoopz is pretty straightforward. Hard-hitting action combined with fast gameplay makes this very fun game. There are 3 difficulty levels to choose from in Hoopz, but the difference isn't that noticeable. No matter which difficulty level you choose from, the computer seems to help keep the game close, which is another aspect of the true arcade experience. As an example of this, I played one game on the highest difficulty that went into four overtimes, before finally losing!

Game Mechanics:
This is my kind of game! There are basically only 4 different buttons to use in Hoopz, and each one allows you to configure it. Hard core arcade action should be based on gameplay, and not complicated moves and button pushing, and this game is a good example of just that. Basically, learn to use your turbo buttons when you need them, and let off when the necessity is not there. This fast paced game is all about scoring, and the defensive aspect of the game involves blocking shots and blatant shoving to steal the ball. Offense allows for two things: launching from behind the arc and bringing down the house. Anything else is just plain sissy. NBA Hoopz may end up having a short replay life if you're by yourself, but as a multiplayer game, the shelf life will stay strong for quite some time. If you like basketball and you are more interested in a fast-paced party game than a true simulation, then NBA Hoopz may be for you.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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