Sunday, May 2, 2010

NBA Jam Tournament Edition

OK, I got my first official request for a game - and it is a great one - NBA Jam Tournament Edition (Cyberball will be next Xarn). NBA Jam TE was released in 1994 by Midway as an upgrade/sequel to their smash hit NBA Jam released the previous year. The game is 2 on 2 basketball using real superstars of the NBA at that time where air-defying dunks and other insanely unrealistic moves abound - a basketball SIM this is not, but a lot of fun it definitely is. In the TE version (as opposed to NBA Jam) you could substitute one of your guys at halftime for another guy off the bench and sometimes you would have to do this since injury can become a factor. You controlled the player with a joystick and 3 buttons - shoot, pass, and turbo on offense, and steal, jump, and turbo on defense. Also with a combo button push you could shove the other guy down - and although the refs wouldn't hesitate to call you for goal tending they always looked the other way on the shove down. The game also tracks stats for the game - blocks, steals, points, etc and shows you a summary at halftime and at the end of the game.

The game could support 4 players simultaneously, although I think I may have played that way once. Much more common was just me versus either Xarn or FallGuy40 where we would each control 1 player and our teammate was controlled by the CPU.

A cool feature of the game is that you enter your initials and birthday at the beginning of the game and the game will keep track of your record. Then when you came back to play again it would remember you and continue tallying your record. Another cool thing back in the day was the announcer's voice which shouted out stuff like BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!, HE'S HEATING UP!, and PUTS UP A BRICK! If you made 3 shots in a row without the other team hitting any the announcer would yell "HE'S ON FIRE!" and then the ball turned into fire and pretty much everything you jacked up there would go in until the other team hit a basket to break it up. Still a fun game today for 2-player action and in my book it is one of the very few sports games that I actually still enjoy playing against the computer - although like any sports game the 2P against another human is really where it shines. This game and its predecessor were always a favorite of mine. I give NBA Jam TE a 9.6 - let me know what you think.

Click HERE to download the game into your MAME ROM folder and check it out. Hopefully you have a gamepad (or went and bought that X-Arcade already!) because it is a little challenging to play on keyboard but not impossible. If that's what you got then the 1-player keys are the standard ones for MAME 3-button games = left Ctrl is turbo, left Alt is shoot/jump, and space is pass/steal. Hitting Alt and space together is a shove on defense and a clear-out on offense. You can also grab the .png files (snap, marquee, title screen, etc) at the MAWS website HERE.

Oh yeah - another attraction of this game were all the secret codes you could enter for oddball setups. Here is a list of some of those if you want to check them out:
* Quick Players : Press any button five times, then hold Down as the match-up screen fades.
* Baby Mode : Hold Down/Right angle and press Turbo, Shoot, Steal, Turbo, Shoot, Steal, Turbo, Shoot, Steal at the match-up screen.
* Big Heads : Hold Up+Turbo+Pass as the match-up screen fades.
* Huge Heads : Press Up three times, then hold Turbo+Pass and press Shoot six times at the match-up screen.
* Maximum Power : Hold Down and press Turbo+Shoot+Pass+Start at the match-up screen.
* Change Teams : Hold Pass and press Right at the player substitution screen.
* Bigger Roster : Hold Down and press Pass three times at the player selection screen, then rotate the Joystick three full circles and press Pass.
* Play as an All-Star regardless of what team you pick by entering these initials and birthdays:
[Isiah Thomas] ZEK APR 30
[Dee Brown] DEE NOV 29
[Coleman] DC_ JUN 21
[Patrick Ewing] PAT AUG 5
[Shawn Kemp] KMP NOV 26
[Karl Malone] KRL JUL 24
[Alonzo Mourning] ZO_ FEB 8
[Hakeem Olajuwon] HAK JAN 21
[Scottie Pippen] PIP SEP 25
[David Robinson] ROB AUG 6
[Webber] WEB MAR 1
[Dominique Wilkins] DOM APR 16

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Fallguy40 said...

I just fired this one up. Wow! that brings back the memories. Thanks!

For me, seeing these players on these teams: this is the NBA.

I need to get one of those joysticks though. The keyboard is serviceable but not ideal.

MadPlanet said...

Me too - that was back when I actually knew who all the players were and cared about the NBA. And it is still a great game. Yeah, it is a good example of a game that really needs the joystick setup to play optimally. You might check out Craigslist or Ebay for a used one if you don't think a new one is worth the steep price tag. Well - what is your rating?

Fallguy40 said...

I give NBA Jam TE a 9.8. Perhaps only bested by Cyberball.

I'm definitely getting the new Wii one.

I've barely paid attention to the NBA in a decade though. That may hurt the Wii version a little. I DO like what I've seen of the OKC Thunder though. A definite up-and-coming team. Kevin Durant is a bad ass.

MadPlanet said...

Cyberball is definitely one of my favorites. Not nearly as fun 1P as 2P though - you really need that other human to play some good Cyberball.

I probably would have gone higher on my Jam TE rating too except I had to leave some upside for the sequels - NBA Hangtime and Maximum Hangtime. I don't recall if we ever actually played those in the arcade or if I just played them on the MAME cab but they are identical gameplay just with a few new features and somewhat upgraded graphics, etc. so they are just a slight notch above.

xarn said...

I have such great memories of playing this with my bro. It is just like the original - without all the quarters going down the slot.

It takes me back to when there were only 1 or 2 Pre-Madonnas in the NBA and the games were actually fun to watch.

I would probably give this version a higher score than the later ones, just based on my nostalgia. This was the main version we played on at TAMU.

MadPlanet said...

Yeah good times. I can see your comment about the nostalgia rating and felt that way too at first, but the Hangtime games are really almost identical to the regular Jam TE just with a few slight tweaks so I think I would give them a slight bump - like 0.1 points. They are essentially the same game except you can do a spin move and throw alley oops to your teammate.

MadPlanet said...

We'll just have to play all the versions on the cab next time in an All-Jam marathon and then reevaluate!