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NBA Street
Preview By: Joe Rolfe
Developer:  EA Canada
Publisher:  EA Sports BIG
Genre:  Arcade Basketball
# of Players:  2
Est. Release:  6-26-01
Posted:  5-28-01

In my opinion, the single, greatest addition seen to the sports gaming scene in the last few years has to be the one-on-one street mode introduced in NBA Live 2000. For the first time in the series, gamers were able to take their favorite two NBA stars and have them duke it out at the place where real basketball is played, the "streets". I found this mode personally gratifying and added a lot of reply value to the game. When EA first showed screens of its NBA Street game for the PlayStation 2, though, I lifted a critical eye. I questioned how just a simple mode from the Live series could turn into a full-blown game without it being merely a cash in. Thankfully, that answer was cured once I heard that EA Sports BIG/EA Canada would be developing the title, the same group responsible for the glorious SSX, and learned what they planned to do with the game.

NBA Street is not, and should not, be classified as just another "NBA Jam rip-off." No, instead of just making another redundant, flashy arcade hoops title that Midway have become pros at, EA Canada wishes to bring home the fun and excitement found in basketball games taking place on the pavement. As anyone with a hint of basketball knowledge will tell you, playing in a street game and playing in an organized, hardwood competition are two different monsters. Whereas full collegiate and NBA play is mainly based on teamwork and simplicity, playing outside and on the street relies much more on a show of crazy dribbling and dunking skills as opposed to just "playing by the rules." With NBA Street, EA hopes to capture this by going the SSX route – giving the gamer the base of the sport at hand, but making it more lighter and adding razzle-dazzle.

EA Canada will capture this street feel by implementing real outside games. Such choices as 21, 3-on-3, Around the World, and an assortment of other selections will be available as well. A "Story Mode" of sorts will be set up too, giving the gamer control of a team traveling from park to park, challenging other teams as a way of proving the court dominance. This appears to be the game’s closest representation of a Franchise mode, I assume.

NBA Street contains special moves, too, allowing the player to create some vivid and outrageous slams and ball handling moves that will make a regular NBA game look as exciting as a rugby game with 80-year old men. Users are able to build up a gauge meter, permitting one to perform bigger and badder tricks to outplay the opposing team. You can select from a host of real NBA players (some to be unlocked), plus a wide variety of pre-created characters with monster attitudes and even larger Afros. Multiple courts and playgrounds will be accessible, too.

If you’re not really into the heavy basketball sims, but NBA Hoopz left you wanting more, then look forward to the next revolution in gaming hoops, NBA Street. The game has a ton of promise so far, and being backed by the same guys who brought us the notoriously good SSX, Street will require a lot of problems and flaws to truly let us down. If all turns out as planned, we may very well be screaming "Boomshakalaka!" with authority once again due in part to NBA Street.


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