By David Mayne
NBA Jam: Tournament Edition
Console: Atari Jaguar
Developer: High Voltage
I’m not a big basketball fan. I take that back. I like basketball video games. Better? From Double Dribble to NBA2K12, it’s all good. To be honest, the only reason I got into NBA Jam in the first place was because it was 99 cents at a flea market, and I couldn’t bear to let the poor little guy sit another hot, sticky day on some toaster-hawker’s dirty blanket. The NBA Jam in question was actually for the Sega Genesis, and what a game it was. Fast paced, one on one basketball action with cool color commentary and easily accessable controls.
The Atari Jaguar was many things, usually colorful expletives, but it did score a few times in the games department. High Voltage’s NBA Jam: Tournament Edition was one of those few diamonds in the rough for the Jag. With nearly identical game play as it’s 16-bit cousins, the 64-bit Jaguar did a decent job making the entire game look a little prettier than both the SNES and Sega Genesis versions. Scaling is improved, backgrounds look better, and the frame rate is fluid. The sound is clear and the digitized likenesses of the NBA players is decent, at least better than previous versions on other consoles. Although it doesn’t push the Jaguar to its full potential, NBA Jam: TE looks and plays great, and proves a solid addition to the fledgling Jaguar library.
The Tournament Edition features a few “upgrades” from previous NBA Jam games, like updated rosters and several hidden easter-eggs (hidden characters and players). Instead of limiting you to only 2 on 2 like other NBA Jams, NBA Jam: TE lets you play 3 on 3 as well as the new “Rookies” team mode, which lets you do 5 players! In addition, the game also introduces features such as a “Tournament” mode that turns off computer assistance and hot spots which allows for additional points and “special” slam dunks.
All in all, NBA Jam: Tournament Edition is a fun and challenging basketball game; great for picking up and playing in a pinch, especially when you don’t feel like firing up a fully fledged NB2K game and spending hours on it. Originally ported from the arcade version, the NBA Jam games have never claimed to be accurate in the physics department, but rather blazing fast and simply satisfying arcade basketball! Win for the Jaguar.
Fun Factor: 9 – Fast, furious, and fun basketball, great for 2 player trash-talking.
Graphics: 7 – Still not quite the gem that the arcade version was, the Jaguar pulls off what it can, and it works.
Sound: 6 – Fun color commentary, BOOMSHAKALAKA! Nothing particularly mind-blowing though.
Control: 9 – Easy controls, and with only three buttons, it’s not hard to figure out how to score, and score, and score…!
Lasting Appeal: 10 – I used to play this on Sega Genesis, and on the Jaguar it’s every bit as fun. A great pick-up-and-play game that doesn’t get old!