NBA Jam Extreme


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 1

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 2

Overall: 2


There's no question that NBA Jam became stagnant. Still, when the single complaint you have about a series is that it failed to progress with each sequel, it must not be that bad. That makes you wonder why NBA Jam Extreme turned out like this.

jamextreme1.jpg (34077 bytes)It doesn't matter on what console you play it on, Extreme is a disaster of a video game. It's an unplayable mess, cheaply programmed and tossed out to sell on name alone. On the Saturn, things are even worse. It's unimaginably bad, one of the sloppiest video games you'll likely ever play.

Leading that cause if the frame rate, hovering somewhere in the range of 15 fps, if that. The blobs that pass for players are unidentifiable and figuring out who has the ball is half the challenge. Each NBA star is grossly oversized, that or the court is too small. The flame effect when a player goes on fire is laughably bad. The animation is choppy and hardly believable. It seems the developers used polygons as a desperate attempt to seem fresh, and in the process, killed the game.

The only new addition is the extreme button, which only adds to the frustration. On defense, it adds an uncontrollable dive move. On offense, a few new dunks. You can play the game never once touching it and not know you're missing it.

jamextreme2.jpg (33098 bytes)Winning is all but impossible, as the programming dictates you can't. Even if your team was shooting 100% from the field for the first three quarters, you can merely watch in amazement as the AI begins the slaughter, both in the score and physically. It doesn't matter what difficulty you're playing on.

If the game had a season mode, at least you could break some records by losing each game. All that's offered is the unoriginal arcade mode, which can be played by up to four players. Every screen change requires excruciating load times, highlighted by the text "extreme loading." They could not have chosen text that is more appropriate.

Music during the opening menus is completely different from that during player substitutions. It almost seems like two different teams worked on each section. Marv Albert provides play-by-play, one of the few, if not the only, bright spot. He's limited and the fifth time you hear "I smell smoke," you'll lose all hope for this game actually becoming enjoyable.

Of the arcade-style games in this series, going back to the original all the way through NBA Hoopz, this is easily the worst of the lot. In fact, it's one of the more ridiculous basketball games ever devised. The Playstation port is a small notch better, simply because the frame rate is more tolerable. There's no reason to play that either since it's the same game and far better ones exist. Stick with NBA Hangtime.


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Last updated: Friday, September 09, 2005 04:37 PM