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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Black Ops

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- Cool “street” moves

- Neat customization options

- Shows good potential

 

 

- Announcers don’t have enough

to say

- Customization doesn’t seem affect gameplay at all

- Getting to know the players

takes time

- Potential’s not enough to beat other basketball games

 

 

Review: Street Hoops (Playstation 2)

Review: Street Hoops (XBox)

Review: NBA Live 2003 (Gamecube)

 

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Street Hoops

Score: 5.5 / 10

 

No one expects much from new sports franchises.  I remember when the Vancouver Grizzlies brought the NBA to town.  Attendance numbers were fair but no one expected them to win a Championship right off the bat.  But after a while, fans just hoped – prayed – the Grizzlies would win a game or two.  Maybe hit a lay-up, sink a free throw or look like they knew what teamwork was.  Then, after three years, the team finally moved to Memphis (where, incidentally, they still suck).  If Activision’s Street Hoops (SH) were an NBA team, they’d beat the Grizzlies but it sure doesn’t mean they’d win a Championship.

 

street-hoops-gamecube-1.jpg (29484 bytes)          street-hoops-gamecube-2.jpg (36715 bytes)

 

SH inaugural run shows a lot of potential but it just has too many problems to be much competition for games like NBA Live 2003 and NBA 2K3.

 

First strike against SH is that it actually locked-up on me.  I was midway through the 2nd half of a tournament game when all the players vanished and the game froze.  Being experienced with PC games, I’m not unfamiliar with game-crashing bugs but this is the first time I’ve encountered it on a console.  Granted, it only happened once but it was enough to cause anxiety during important games.

 

The rest of SH suffers from having no history – no previous efforts – to build upon.  Electronic Arts has had years to hone their b-ball and the same can be said of Sega.  SH has features that set itself apart from the Sega and EA series but it has many problems the others have worked out.

 

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For starters, 92% of every faked shot will put the defender in the air.  This means easy points (for both sides) as the defender goes up and the attacker dribbles around for the easy two points.  It didn’t seem to matter who I was playing against or under what conditions.  It becomes quite repetitive, especially when you can’t call plays.

 

Since a small minority will know anything about the street ballers in SH there’s a learning curve when it comes to figuring out who’s who, their 

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strengths and weaknesses, and even what position they play.  Some of this can be alleviated by remembering EA’s first NBA games: The short guys are guards and the tall ones are forwards.  Amazingly enough the AI will actually set picks (on occasion).  But their defense leaves much room for improvement.

 

The announcers need more to say.  The delivery and style is consistent with the street theme but when you’ve heard, “What a paaaaass!” a dozen times in one half, I’ll wager you turn the announcers off.

 

Wagering is actually part of SH.  You can bet money on various aspects of each game like who will lead at the half, most dunks and so on.  The money won (and earned through winning games) can be used to purchase new equipment, buy your players new haircuts and tattoos.  Now, if those aspects actually meant something to the gameplay I might have better things to say about it.  Any “upgrades” don’t seem to make an iota of difference – an aspect entirely fixable in future editions.

 

street-hoops-gamecube-3.jpg (32484 bytes)          street-hoops-gamecube-4.jpg (42076 bytes)

 

Animation is smooth (whatever the camera angle) and really benefits the unconventional nature of street ball – kick passes, weird-looking crossovers, run and gun – that SH is shooting for.  Of course, some repetition creeps in here and there, especially with victory celebrations.

 

Control is responsive enough too but the occasional glitch holds SH down.  The worst offender is shot fakes that turn into accidental shots.  This happened to me 3 or 4 times a game – deadly when the score is close – even when I’d gotten it into my head to brush the shoot button.

 

Street Hoops could be a strong basketball contender – it has all the equivalent modes and features plus some moderate challenge from the AI – if it learns from it’s shortcomings and does something to address them.  It might be worth a rental to see how much potential SH has; otherwise, just give it a miss.

 

- Omni

(January 16, 2003)

 

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