NBA Action '95


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 3

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 7


A typical sports game diaster, NBA Action '95 has no redeeming value. It's sloppy, frustrating, and almost unplayable. However, much like cult good/bad films, it's fun. There's no question it's absurd, yet it makes substantial ground for sports games, and it deserves a small part in history.

In theory, this is the biggest mess of a sports game in the history of video games. Glitches occur not only during gameplay, but something as simple as trading a player could very well erase your entire season from the carts memory. Going up for a dunk could suddenly make your player warp beyond the three-point line for no reason. It's all baffling, but in the most enjoyable way imaginable.

Sega was always ahead of it's time as far as features are concerned. One of their NFL Genesis games let players move a team to a different city. Madden just implemented this feature in 2004. NBA Action '95 is no exception. Players can be created, traded, cut, signed, injured, or benched to your liking. The season mode is outstanding offering up custom drafts, full plus shortened seasons, and full customization of the games. Each game is played to your specifications, even the simmed ones.

Once on the court, you'll get a basketball game that's the equivalent to the classic NES game Double Dribble. There is little or no strategy to be had and it's only a matter of finding the open man. If you have a player with a high three-point rating, losing a game is downright embarrassing. This is where all the appeal lies. Anyone can throw down a dunk and no one can deny the hilarity of watching little BJ Armstrong thrown down over Patrick Ewing. The turbo button will quickly become your friend and the play calling features included will be tossed out the window. Blocks are frequent and shooting percentages are sky high. It's not realistic, but who said it's supposed to be?

Looking at this game certainly didn't help things when this game was released, and it definitely doesn't help now. The overhead view (entitled the "fast-breaking view" on the box) makes things easy to see, but the players are completely in the wrong perspective. The smaller players look like midgets (seriously) and the taller players tower over them. The animation is severely limited an compared to EA's NBA Live series (which started the same year) it's primitive.

The highlight of the sound package is Marv Albert who would soon be banned from NBC after the games release for some, uh, "extracurricular activity." Some of his quotes are priceless knowing his history, but there are enough samples to keep things varied all season long. Players scream when going up for a dunk and these are some of the funniest things ever heard in a sports game. The crowd samples are of expected Genesis quality and not groundbreaking by any means.

Who wouldn't want a version of Double Dribble with full season and customization options? It was a bit strange to be playing a sports game this simplistic in 1995 let alone 2004. Why then is Double Dribble still considered a classic? Because it's loads of fun, plain and simple. The NBA Live series featured sliding players more akin to a hockey game and the difficulty level was set for a four year old. Not only do you get a challenge here, you get a great throwback to a day when sports games were simple and easy to play.


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Last updated: Saturday, September 24, 2005 12:16 AM