NBA Street – GC – Review

A long time ago, on a
basketball court far, far away, a war began among the local superstars. 
Princess Playa was in turmoil, so Dunk Skywalker and Obi-Ball Kenobi came to
her rescue.  However, they were unable to stop the Street Lords from
completing their battle station, called the Death Court.  Now it would only be
a matter of time before Darth Baller and his army of Clonehoopers struck

And so,
NBA Street was born.  (Note: Star Wars does not really have anything to do
with NBA Street.  But that sure would make a cool b-ball game, don’t you
think?)  NBA Street is the opposite of every simulation basketball game. 
There are only three players on each team; it’s possible to slam dunk a ball
after catching it while flying 20 feet in the air; there are two meters at the
top of the screen that unrealistically enhance your player’s abilities (more
on that later); blocking is not only legal, but encouraged; and the game
automatically ends when a team scores 21 points (except in the case of a
tie).  All of those things may sound crazy to the average b-ball fan, but to a
gamer, it’s the flavor of the week.

A point that I always try
to stress in reviews is that the fun should always come first, then realism. 
Electronic Arts has mastered both, and the unique thing about NBA Street is
that its unrealistic gameplay is done in a way that’s believable.  I can
picture street ballers playing in my head, and my vision closely resembles
this game.  The players’ nonchalant attitude never changes.  They pass the
ball and do amazing slam-dunks as naturally as they would sit at a computer
and type.  Their half-cocky, half-laid-back style is exactly what you’d expect
from a master street-baller who is playing just for the sake of playing — and
bragging rights — as opposed to a five million dollar salary.

Each of the game’s 13
locations were modeled after or inspired by real street courts.  I’m not
overly familiar with the real locales, but I know of Rucker Park.  Based on
the pictures I’ve seen of the real Rucker Park, I’d say EA did a good job. 
Rucker Park looks like Rucker Park.  The only thing missing are the hundreds
of fans screaming in the background.  We probably won’t see visual effects
like that until the PlayStation 3 or 4 is released…

No EA Sports BIG game
would be complete without a "big" list of tricks to perform.  NBA Street does
not have as many tricks as SSX Tricky, but the ones it has are great so I
don’t care.  You will perform each of them at least a dozen times per game, if
not a hundred times!  It never gets repetitive though.  That’s because the
tricks are (1) really cool, (2) fun to perform, (3) they can be used as an
attack move to knock down your opponents, (4) they award you lots of points
and (5) they raise your boost meter.  When the boost meter is full, two turbo
buttons can be held while shooting or dunking to perform a Gamebreaker.

Gamebreakers are special
performance shots that give you more points than any other trick in the game
(trick points, that is, not goals!).  During a Gamebreaker, the screen
lightens a little as if something magical is about to happen.  To enhance the
shot even more, your shot/dunk is shown from three different angles.

Gamebreaker shots give
you 25,000 points, while Gamebreaker dunks give you 50,000 points!  75,000
points are awarded to you for dunking the final goal of the game.  Points are
then used to create your very own NBA Street player.  You won’t be able to use
any of the points earned from the games, but the amount of points you receive
is dependant upon your final score.  So do your best to out-trick the rest,
and before you know it, you’ll be playing with a 7-foot woman named Queen B.

EA is definitely the
leader in simulation sports games, and now that they’ve gone "extreme,"
they’ve proven that there is no sports genre that they can’t tackle.  NBA Jam
rocked the house ten years ago (it may not have been that long ago, but it
sure feels like it), but for now, NBA Street is the only street baller I
need.  I wish this had been a full-fledged sequel though, or even a
half-sequel.  NBA Street is a great game, but I beat early last year on the
PlayStation 2.  Now I’m beating it again on the GameCube, and aside from the
NBA players, little has changed.  Love NBA Street and would highly recommend
it to anyone who has never played it [to death] before.  If you have a
PlayStation 2, get that version instead.  It plays slightly better and
currently sells for less than the newly released GameCube version.

Reviewer’s Scoring Details

Gameplay: 8.5
NBA Street plays
nearly identical to the PlayStation 2 version.  For the most part, this is the
most perfect basketball game ever made.  It is a port…but I love it just the
same.  Hopefully this port will open up NBA Street to a whole new audience.

Graphics: 7 
NBA Street hasn’t
changed much since its release on the PS2 last year.  None of the players look
like their real-life counterparts, but the street ballers look great.  The
backgrounds are pleasing to the eye as well.  However, all of this has been
seen a million times before.

Sound: 4
NBA Street’s phat
beats are rather flat.  Last year they were an average annoyance.  This year,
they’re pure torture.  I think that one of the songs is new, and that just
happens to be the worst one in the game!  The bad sound doesn’t stop with the
music though — the commentary is horrendous.

Difficulty: Easy
I only lost one
game when I beat NBA Street last yea
I didn’t lose at all this time around.

Concept: 6.5 
As an original
game, NBA Street deserves a 9.  As a port, it deserves a 5.  But since the
rosters were updated and the gameplay is still great, it deserves a 6.5.

Multiplayer: 7
At the heart of
every sports game is its multiplayer mode.  As of late, most of them have
included a four-player mode.  Unfortunately, developers are still releasing
sports games that only allow two people to play simultaneously.  To all of the
developers out there who are planning to release another two-player game this
year, please don’t!  Add a good four-player mode and THEN release the game. 
Or better yet, an online multiplayer mode.  Aside from fighting games,
two-players just aren’t enough anymore.

Overall: 8
Attention all
wannabe street-ballers out there: NBA Street is the game for you!  That is,
assuming you haven’t played it before.  NBA Street’s greatest flaw is the fact
that it is a port.  It seems as if every great third-party GameCube game was
released on the PSone or PS2 first.  NBC airs commercials that say, "If you
haven’t seen it, it’s new to you!" to promote re-runs of their hit shows in
the summer.  It’s best to apply that logic here.