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NBA Hangtime

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Reviewed by Scott McCall After two disappointing in-house conversions (MK Trilogy and Cruis'n USA), Midway turned to an out-of-house developer (Funcom) to do an N64 version of NBA Hangtime. Guess what? The difference in quality is astounding. NBA Hangtime is the true sequel to NBA Jam T.E. Just because Acclaim has a game called NBA Jam Extreme (because it bought the rights to the name under Midway's nose) that doesn't mean Acclaim's game is in the same series, or even in the same league. Right away, let it be known that this is essentially a better version of NBA Jam. Don't expect any radical changes because there aren't any. As a whole, the Nintendo 64 port of NBA Hangtime is excellent. They squeezed all the animation, all the voice samples and, yes, even the halftime rap song into a 96 megabit cartridge. The graphics are pixel-perfect, right down to the scaling from the arcade version. The sound, although in mono, is near-exact to the arcade; it's not the grainy samples that you were used to from the 16-bit era. The control does what you want and is completely configurable. There is one flaw with the game, though some people will appreciate this. The artificial intelligence in the game is very good, but resorts to some "cheating" techniques when it gets too far behind. This can make the game very frustrating and difficult even on the easiest level of difficulty! One of the major pluses to this game (other than the four-player mode) is the ability to create your own player. The downside is that you need a Controller Pak to save them. However, that means it's easy to take your creation over to your friend's house and play it on their game. Overall, NBA Hangtime is the best version of NBA Jam on any system. And there's no load time to contend with! If you're a Jam fan, then you'll want to pick this game up, or at least rent it. Non-Jam fans need not apply, though, as there's nothing new here. Just a solid (albeit unrealistic) basketball game that's great for parties.

Graphics: 3.7 out of 5 Sound: 3.8 out of 5 Control: 4.2 out of 5 Gameplay: 3.9 out of 5 Lastability: 4.0 out of 5 Overall: 3.9 out of 5

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