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NBA Hangtime

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Reviewed by Matt Carlson

Overall Game Rating: 4.1

Overall 4.1 - Exciting and lasting replayability with multiplayer play with saved created players that advance in ability as you win more games, combined with the feeling I get of playing a fast paced upright arcade game in a mall somewhere make this well worth the somewhat steep game price. Graphics 3.0 - Good 2D bitmaps, lots of variety of player actions, good quality, but not great. I love the transitions between selection screens and the game itself. It makes me feel like I'm playing on an upright arcade machine. Sound 3.0 - Good sound. Music is "arcadish", but I like that. The announcer is pretty good and has a large vocabulary of nicknames you can choose for your player. Control 3.5 - I had no problems handling my character. Everything is based on the joystick/d-pad, 3 buttons and combos of the same. The initial button layout is terrible, but it is configurable. In a one player game, I sometimes have a little difficulty controlling my teammate. Gameplay 4.5 - It's got all the gameplay you would want in a basketball game of this type. The game isn't too simple, if you wildly press buttons, you won't do well, but a mixture of passing and wise shooting will help you do well. Lots of outrageously insane basketball dunks and moves when combined with created players using the alien heads (chickens, frankensteins, etc...) makes for hilarious play! Lastability 4.2 - With the controller pack save, designing your own player, then trying to increase his/her abilities over time, along with a good statistic history of your player, there is a lot of replay value here. If you're not going to play it much multi-player, I could see it getting tiresome, though. Having only played NBA Jam in the arcade, and liking it, I very much enjoy NBA Hangtime. It gave me N64 thumb blisters within one day of playing it. It is a very close port of an arcade basketball game of this type and all the flashy transition screens make me feel like I'm playing in an arcade. The gameplay is standard for a basketball game of this genre, but the initial controller layout is just lame. It's a good thing you can configure it however you wish. While I still prefer the analogue stick, you can still use the digital joypad for control. I found the computer players to be reasonably intelligent and the initial difficulty setting provided me with a good challenge while I got the hang of the game. One area where is game really shines is in the create a player ability. Note that a controller pak is needed in order to save stats and created players. Make your own character and play with one or more friends for a great time. You can choose from various special silly special abilities like "big head" or "hidden attributes" and also adjust your attributes on a sliding scale. Make a tiny fast guard who can shoot from outside and steal your socks when you're not looking (not really), or a tall, skinny center who can block like a wall. You can also choose (from a list) your player's nickname and have it used by the announcer during the game. The best part of making a player is that your statistics are saved from game to game and every four games you win you are given more points to spend on your created player. After awhile you can spend points on special abilities not normally available. This is where the long term replayability of the game will come in. The second great thing about this game is the fact that its multiplayer. Its always a 4 player game (2 on 2), but that can be any combination of computer players and human. Who can't resist ganging up on the computer in a 2 player vs CPU game? The top ten players in various statistics are kept and the player is reminded of any overall standings they have whenever they log into a new game with that player. For those folks who love special hidden codes and cheats this game is loaded with them. I personally don't see the point of hiding game options from the player, but since I can find them on the internet I guess it doesn't matter to me. There are hidden players and hidden codes that give all players in a game strange proportions or special abilities, etc... Overall, I really like the game. I recommend it to anyone who's doesn't hate basketball or who isn't tired of this particular genre. If you're not going to get much of a chance to play it with friends, I could see it getting old pretty fast. The concept is your basic basketball game, so if you're not sure about buying it, a quick rent of the game should give you enough of a sample to decided if it's your cup of tea. One final reminder, since there is no save on the game itself, this game looses a lot of its best features without a controller pak.

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