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Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside

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Reviewed by Everard De Matas First came Midway's NBA Hangtime, a basketball game that looked and played more like an arcade game than it did a sport simulation. Then came Konami's NBA In The Zone '98, a blurry offering with limited options and sluggish control. And now, nearly two years after Nintendo 64's release, the big 'N' enters the sports arena with its own basketball game.

Graphics 7 out of 10

No comparison, this is the best looking hoops game on the console. Additionally, real faces of NBA athletes have been texture-mapped onto players, reflections actually look good and animation is smooth. Players sporting square-like heads upon close examination. Worse, players move as if they're suffering from horrible constipation, with stiff, robotic bodies that don't flex or bend. Seriously, I never knew professional basketball athletes have such amazing posture.

Music and Sound 7 out of 10

Top-notch music and sound effects compliment the game. A plethora of "rappy" beats, scratches and grooves add a touch of mood to the title. Crowds cheer realistically and dynamically, play-by-play calls by Vic Orlando are crisp, clear and realistic, though a bit on the unexcited side, and the in-game music works much to the title's benefit. Technically, this is an excellent example of what can be achieved on the cartridge format.

Game Challenge 6 out of 10

The game is not much of a challenge because they do the same moves and every time a short player goes to make a shot they always get blocked. When I bought I was exited I thought it would be a blast when I had put it on I was not impressed but I love Basketball.

Game Play-Fun 6 out of 10

Courtside plays moderately fast, has a number of signature and special moves and a finely tuned combo-system. Players can, for example, spin, dribble under the leg and then shoot with a relatively simple combo. Likewise, players can call picks, alley-oops or change positions on the fly. Controls are intuitive (B for shooting, A for passing, L/R and camera buttons for positioning and specials), and logical. All of this comes together for the best basketball gaming experience yet seen on Nintendo 64.

Rumble Pak 7 out of 10

The rumble pack works okay with the game. When you make a shot, partially blocked it rumbles and when blocked it rumbles more. But the rumble pack is not very sensitive to stuff probably because of the slow gameplay.


The frustration lies in some the moves. The computer you play against does the same moves over again. Always does the post up move even if the whole lane is clear they still do the same move. I get really angry because of that. However, it's still not perfect. The biggest problem lies in Courtside's decidedly dull gameplay. I just don't get a feeling of fast-paced basketball competition with the title. Though framerates are wonderful, everything moves at a slower pace, especially when compared to NBA in The Zone '98 for Playstation . Certainly this is the best basketball game Nintendo 64 has seen, and its gameplay doesn't just outshine, but totally obliterates the likes the current competition for the system.

Overall 7 out of 10

Rest assured, Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside is the best basketball title available for Nintendo 64. Tight controls and a tweaked gameplay engine deliver the basketball simulation that Nintendo 64 owners have been asking for, but haven't gotten. Great graphics and average sound only make the game that much better. However, Stiff animation, a sometimes slow-pace and lack of style/character keep the title from a higher score in the end. Still, basketball fans will love it and we do recommend everyone give it a try or at least rent it first.

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