NBA Street Review (NGC)

Let me start this review with the additions to the Gamecube version from the PS2 version:

  • One new court, "The Paint" which is located in Washington D.C.
  • The ability to set picks with the C-stick
  • Updated rosters as of January 4, 2002
  • Greatly improved load times
  • Some graphical updates, but nothing very noticeable
For the most part, you can call it a port, with just a few extras and some graphical tweaks. Since OS does not have a PS2 review of NBA Street, I can save all the multiconsole owners a lot of time by saying “Stick with the PS2 version if you have it already”. There is no need to upgrade to the Gamecube version unless you must see Jordan in a Wizards uniform.
If you have both a PS2 and Gamecube, yet do not own a copy then it becomes a controller debate in which the PS2 wins hands down due to the control scheme. The problem with the Gamecube control scheme is that, to do the advanced high scoring and trick moves, you have to hold down the L+R triggers plus the Z button along with the B Button. It’s just not as comfortable as being able to have access to all four trigger buttons on the PS2 pad. Also to make matters worse, when it comes to the controls, what you see is what you get. EA does not have any customization of the buttons in the menu system. I ended up playing my second tour through the city circuit and most of my time in the hold the court modes using the PS2 controller adapter, since at the higher levels the trick points become very key.

Speaking of modes, you have the options of the Street School, City Circuit, Hold the Court and Create a player.

Street School is an introductory mode where Joe “The Show” teaches you the fundamentals. This is the best place to start since once you complete Street School you unlock Pacific Boulevard for Hold the Court.

City Circuit allows you to choose one of the NBA teams and take a run through the remaining NBA teams based on region and then once you complete a region you take on a special team consisting of Street legends like Biggs (a 6’9” 255lb British boxer with an attitude), Bonafide (a short Dominican New Yorker who has the quick moves), Drake (A wannabe Backstreet boy who likes to shoot the 3 pointer), DJ (6’7” Jamaican Taxi cab driver who prefers to play above the rim), Takashi (7’8” Japanese Shot Blocker who will have you staying away from shots inside the paint) and lastly the final legend you will face is Stretch (Looks and plays like Dr J but is a few inches taller and does everything old school).

The first difference with the Gamecube version is now that Jordan is on the Wizards, you cant take the Lakers and substitute one player with MJ. Of course you can choose the Wizards as your first opponent because once you beat a team you are given the option of adding one of their players to your NBA team or take creation points to make your own special player. When you beat a region and the Street Legends team, you unlock those courts, the Street Legend and get additional player creation points. Plus as is with most arcade games, you can enter new cheat codes before you start a game. Once you beat Stretch you are given the option of choosing from other special characters like the Alien, Yeti Snowman, fellow EA Big characters from SSX and even the group 3LW just to name a few.

In Hold the Court, you have two tasks ahead of you. First you have to win a certain predetermined amount of games in a row on each court. Secondly you need to get a certain amount of trick points to complete each court. I would suggest starting with City Circuit first, since it is less combo intense, and once you run through the City Circuit you will unlock all the courts to run on Hold the Court.

The Create a player mode allows you to make a male or female player with the ability to edit the nickname that Joe “The Show” will rattle off. You can also adjust the size, skills, look, body and shoes. Of course you can’t make the perfect player right off the bat. You earn player creation points through the City Circuit and get a lot of extras, like new shoes and tats through the Hold the Court Mode.

Audio has not changed from the PS2 version and the commentary is still handled by Joe “The Show” with his over the top smack and the hip hop soundtrack to get you in the street mood. You do hear from the people watching the game from the sidelines and hear things from the street, like car horns and alarms going off. Players talk a little smack and as with the PS2 version, you get a lot of chatter from MJ when he is on your team.

Graphically the game looks similar to the PS2 version with less slowdown and better shadows, and just like the PS2 version the animations are very nicely done. The courts look great. The one court I use as a showcase is Beacon Hill, where you are playing in the snow and have puddles on the court and snow piles are surrounding the edges of the court.

Gameplay on offense consists of performing combos while you have the ball, performing combos while you are going in for a dunk to increase your boost meter, so you can perform a Gamebreaker shot. Once the momentum is filled and you have the ball, you simply need to hold the L&R triggers and shoot the ball. Unless the shot is blocked the basket will be made and you will be given 1 point while reducing the opponents score by a point for a short range shot or dunk. A long range shot will give you 2 points and reduce the opponents score by two points. You have three difficulty levels, with easy the Gamebreaker usually wont make the difference in a game since you can usually win most games by 10+ points. Once you hit the medium and hard levels the Gamebreaker becomes more important, and the premium is on getting as many trick and style points to move on. On defense, you need to make good use of the turbo button if you want to be successful on the higher levels. The key to winning is getting a lot of blocked shots. Since goaltending is allowed, camping your center or best jumper in the lane and hitting the turbo/jumping toward the shot will be the key to success. You also have the ability to steal the ball, but I have found the frequency of steals is lower and that concentrating on blocking shots at the premium. The game is played to 21 and you have to win by two. Once you get into the competitive games you not only have to be aware of the score but keep an eye on the boost meters for gamebreakers. Play “D” too closely and the AI can roll up some serious trick points and in turn give them more opportunities for gamebreakers.

If you have a Gamecube, NBA Street will be a great addition to your library. The single player will eventually get repetitive after going through Hold the Court and City Circuit modes but if you are into multiplayer this is a can’t miss game.

NBA Street Score
out of 10