Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

It's not as if the world needed another home port of NBA Jam, let alone Jam T.E.. This massive arcade release overran every console you could possibly think of, ending up on every Sega system at the time except for the Sega CD (though that did get a port of the first game in the series). Mercifully, Acclaim actually did something with the 32X transfer, actually improving on the Genesis version in a big way.

Beyond the gameplay that managed to hook gamers in arcades, part of the appeal in NBA Jam is all the glitz. The giant players, big head codes, ear-splitting audio, and insane dunks made the game what it was (and still is). For the most part, that's what this rendition maintains.

Players scale in and out of the screen, one of only two cartridge versions to showcase that feature (the hard to come by Jaguar cart being the other). Up close, the sprites are enormous; showcasing the sprite-power the system was actually capable of. The court features multiple layer of parallax, adding even more depth.

It's in the area of color the 32X fails. Everything here is drab, blah, and somewhat pixilated. There are a few oddball instances where the wrong head is on the wrong players shoulders (look at Scottie Pippen and BJ Armstrong), which is a unique 'feature' to this version. Still, it maintains all the wild animations and special effects the arcade game was known for.

Gameplay is of course retained just like it always has been. T.E. made the ingenious move of not only a roster upgrade (enabling substitutions in the process), but injuries to ensure the star players are not the only ones you're playing with. This adds depth and a little bit of strategy off the court.

There are also options to increase the fun factor a bit, such as the hot spots. These allow massive points to be scored quickly, draining or increasing a lead, adding to the already frantic pace of two-on-two arcade basketball. Power-ups are also available (and optional, just like the latter) which add even more friction between the teams.

Acclaim made sure to include a battery back up here, as every version of the game should. There are no new modes of play, just head-to-head and team play for up to four gamers at a time. Solo players can try to knock out all the teams included to finish the game.

That graphical prowess mentioned above can't cover up the fact that the 32X just can't duplicate the audio properly. The music sounds fine during the menus, but once into the game, it's hard to identify anything. Voice samples have been cut without care. It's one of the few complaints you'll find with this port.

If you're comparing the two cartridge versions, than the 32X gets the nod simply because of the controller. The Jaguar pad was never meant for this game. Compare this to the CD ports, and the PS One and Saturn versions take the crown. Those remain the best home versions of the game you'll find. There's still a lot to like here on the 32X and this isn't one to pass up based on Acclaim's resume on the console.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Sunday, September 25, 2005 02:56 PM