Takin' It to the Hoop


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5

Basketball games struggled for years until we had consoles powerful enough to really handle them. Most of them ended up like this. "Takin' It To the Hoop" is only saved by some nice features, but it's also strangely familiar.

Eight teams from various parts of the US, each with their individual abilities, take to the court to win, well, whatever it is fantasy video game athletes can win. You can play an exhibition game, enter a tournament, or play in a league. No matter which you pick, be prepared to stay with it for 12-minutes each quarter. You can't edit the time. Only 2-players can play this one which is rare for a Turbo sports game.

Gameplay on the court is so basic, it really is just an 8-bit game using the upgraded capabilities of the console. In fact, it generally plays a whole lot like "Ultimate Basketball" on Nintendo's then competing console. Players can be subbed out (actually, they have to be) and you can pick man-to-man, zone, or combination of both defenses.

Getting close to the hoop and taking a shot zooms in on the action for an attempted slam. To make the dunk, players need to make sure a dot is in the center of a meter in the lower left hand side of the screen. Defenders can press a button to stop it, but only if they are in position and time it right. Free throws follow the same pattern, just without the whole defense thing.

Getting inside is hardly a problem. The computer will play a zone and keep two guys back on the defensive end (more like hockey than basketball) most of the time. Unless they make a steal, it's a free ride into the lane. Jump shots usually send the ball in the same direction when missed, so anticipating rebounds is easy.

The most odd choice in the package are the graphics. On the court, the players sport huge heads (really just to make it easier for players to identify which ball handler they are controlling), but when zoomed in for the dunk, they look entirely realistic. Now that I think about it, they look a whole lot like those from the Genesis game "Pat Riley Basketball." There are a large number of sprites on the court at once (referee, cheerleaders, players) and that's about the only impressive aspect save for the close-ups.

Remember when "Double Dribble" had that nifty shoe squeaking sound effect? Once you get older, you realize how very uncool it really is. Actually, it's downright annoying. The sound of the ball hitting the wooden floor repeatedly while the players dribble falls into the same category as the latter. Only some slightly catchy music makes this tolerable.

If you need basketball on the Turbo for whatever reason, "TV Sports Basketball" is a little more realistic, but still with a ton of issues. In fact, just make yourself believe that you don't want to play the sport on the Turbo. You'll be a better person for it.


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Last updated: Sunday, October 31, 2004 08:49 AM