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Q4 2003



- Rim-rattling action!
- The well-known series is finally on next generation consoles
- Gameplay handles well…much like the Jam of old



- After years of absence, I expected a lot more from the series than what was delivered
- Mostly fun with friends and a keg
- Generic stadiums
- No franchise mode
- “JAM Store” is feels superficial



Review: NBA Street Vol. 2 (PS2)

Review: NBA Inside Drive 2004 (XB)

Review: Street Hoops (XB)

Review: NBA Live 2003 (XB)

Review: NBA Jam (Wii)



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Score: 6.8 / 10


nba jam xbox review          nba jam xbox review


BOOMSHAKALAKA! It wasn’t long ago that NBA Jam was the best selling sports game. It wasn’t long ago that the unique blend of bizarre gravitational dunks and being “on fire” was the equation to making money. Much has changed since those days when NBA Jam dominated the cartridge realm. Now, entering the world of CDs/DVDs and next-generation technology, the team behind NBA Jam have kept true to that same equation, however the circumstances have changed and, quite frankly, fans of old are impressed but others will have a hard time jumping into the legendary series.

Acclaim made sure that the newest installment of the series would keep true to its many predecessors. With that in mind you’ll notice that the game plays almost the same way as it did all those years ago. The three-on-three action is back with the




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same hotspots, even more ridiculous dunks, and special features that really do “turn back the clock”. Acclaim has added a boatload of new dunks that will have you awestruck every time. Never before has a half-court dunk looked so pretty. In addition to the dunking, the same rules that applied before are again implemented. For example: if you miss a three pointer and put the basket back in without letting it drop to the floor, the basket still


counts as three points. On the defensive end, NBA Jam is as aggressive as ever. The same “pushing” and “shoving” is still there along with block sequences that look a lot like Spike TVs Slamball.

The action on the court remains fast paced and quick. The three-minute quarters are more than enough time to execute the craziest of moves. Although the moves and aerials are flashy, certain animations fall short of the same standard. For one, the basic movement of the players looks quirky. The way players run up and down court doesn’t feel realistic with certain anatomical problems. On top of that player faces look awkward. Yes I know that his is an arcade game and there are certain areas that have been pulled out of proportion, but the faces need to replicate the players, especially in a three-on-three game. Other than that, the animations work seamlessly with the gameplay reminding me of the same pace and fun from the original.

The NBA Jam series has never been revered for its sound, other than the deep announcer voice, and the same remains with the newest version. It’s as if Acclaim has recorded the same music and sound effects from a cartridge to a CD. They truly sound identical. The music is one area that steps beyond others. Famous artists, such as Chaka Kahn, have their songs in NBA Jam, though they aren’t heard most of the time because of the fast-pace. The play-by-play commentary is done by the same individual who recorded the first NBA Jam. All in all the sound fits the mood and style of NBA Jam surprisingly well.


nba jam xbox review           nba jam xbox review

In terms of graphics, NBA Jam does deliver some decent visuals, though nothing really stands out. Stadiums and crowds are generic throughout all teams which means no Staple Center or Madison Square Gardens for those who are picky about arenas. As for the crowd themselves, the animation looks great. Individual fans can be seen walking through the aisles during a game as well as reacting to time-specific action. The players are also nicely modeled and detailed. Though have no nit-picks with the graphics, I certainly would’ve enjoyed some unique twists to rare situations. Being “on fire” is nice, but I would’ve enjoyed something extra and new. Even though nothing groundbreaking is introduced, NBA Jam remains true to its roots and is still loads of fun.

Much like the original a Franchise mode is lacking strictly make NBA Jam fun, most of the time, with friends. Courtesy of the “JAM Store” you can purchase new stadiums, upgrades, and attributes for your players. Also available is a 1970s mode which is played in black and white. These extras add value to the game, but are not everlasting.

When compared to EA’s NBA Street, the NBA Jam series feels outdated. Even though it still plays and feels the same as it did years ago, there are better street games out there other than Jam. If you still want to feel that retro-love pick up NBA Jam, but don’t expect to be blown away by its features or anything new, for there is truly a lack of both (except in terms of dunks… there will always be lots of dunks).

- Eric Lahiji
(April 8, 2004)


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