If ever there was a case against realism in videogames, this is it. Is real life basketball so enthralling that we should settle for a normal slam dunk over a flaming helicopter dunk? I should go start the Church of NBA Jam already – or at least marry it – there’s not a b-ball game review goes by that I don’t profess its superiority.
So now we come to NBA Showdown, the eleventh title in this 26-strong dearth of sports-games-in-a-row. Can you feel the struggle? We are literally pushing on through like constipated razor blades; forced and painful though it is, we just have to get them out of our system.
It’s quite possible that once upon a time, this was the most realistic basketball simulation money could buy. What that equates to in this day and age of whiz-bang textured polygons and bloom lighting is utter boredom. Take that realism!
The gameplay is realistic too. Stop-starting every five seconds because your stupid players can carry the ball over the sideline. And you can’t even punch people over! What’s with that? This game was such a snorefest I fell asleep and was penalised for holding the ball too long! Give me a break! NBA Jam does the inbound pass automatically! The phrase “never let the truth get in the way of a good story” never rang truer – I’m not sure if that’s ironic or not – but here’s the redux: “never let reality get in the way of a good videogame”.
Showdown has at least one thing going for it: it’s one of the blessed few basketball games to actually feature Michael Jordan. That the title remains as pedestrian as it does in spite of his illustrious presence is testament to its blandness.
We have reached the dreaded ‘N’-zone of this EveryGame journey; a veritable graveyard of iterative sports titles. But take heart, little warrior! I see a glorious ‘S’-bend on the horizon!