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Reviewed: NBA Inside Drive 2000
Author: Chris Kim       Date: September 24st 1999
Page: 3

Sports games have always had the problem of being smart or having enough difficulty. NBA Inside Drive 2000 is really no different from most other sports games, as the AI is usually a bit clumsy and dumb to perform several tasks. It is quite evident that the developers put quite a bit of time into developing a good AI, and it does work quite effectively at times. The computer will spot mismatches and hand the ball into the post of a player who has an advantage, they will run a pick and roll or give and go almost perfectly against double teams when another player is open. Players will drive to the basket on an open lane, just a few of the examples of being a smart AI. However, there are several disadvantages to the AI, on offense, the player can almost always drive the basket for some easy points. The player can usually just work around the defenders and lay it up for a soft easy basket. Or some simple pivot moves and the computer will be faked out and get a dunk every time with the power men.

McDyess Close Up
Cool, Player of the Game
Boo Ya! Sit Down!

The interface is sleek and cool looking and contains a lot of cool animations and gimmicks. However, after playing around with the game a bit, the interface turns out to be more of a nuisance and annoyance rather than a cool feature. Navigating from screen to screen takes an unbelievably long time and some clicks are not recognized. Load times are less than stellar on the test bed machine (which would be about middle road class). But actual in game performance was great, very little choppiness and little slow down. Owning an eight button or more gamepad is essentially required for any good control or performance out of nearly any sports games. The control remains quite well laid out and easy to control players with respectable response times. A few refinements such as DirectPass (found in NBA Live '98) is not found in this game, so passing can sometimes lead to be a guessing game when a player will try to bounce it inside, but rather turn out to pass to the point guard at the top of the key. This can be annoying, but is a bit more simplistic and easier to learn. The free throw shooting interface bar is a bit new to players of the NBA Live series which had use of the T-Meter, which was a great implementation. NBA Inside Drive 2000 uses a similar feature with having a one side bar, and having to match up two points with double tap of the shoot button. This system has a quite accurate speed and produces relatively accurate shooting percentages.

Back to Your Hood
Hill Pops a Shot
Hill Puts Up a Free Throw

For the most part, the graphics are up to par with nearly every other game out on the market. It has use of the 3D Accelerator supporting Direct3D and 4mb Texture Ram. The player models are excellent looking and move quite realistically. The bends and folds in the jerseys on the players are a nice effect, even though the jersey ripples are the actual polygons and don't move or change shape in anyway. Each of the player models have been cyber modeled as they were in NBA Live and have authentic faces. However, unlike NBA Live '99, changing facial moods and textures are not included, so like Live '98 the face that is pictured is the face that will remain the whole game. The court environments are all rendered extremely well and in very great detail as well. Many features and details are exact from stadium to stadium. The crowd is much better and realistic looking than in many games where the crowds are just flat textures on the ground, here they are sitting down actually looking like they are sitting and not lying down. Reflections off of the floor provide an excellent and realistic looking and moving reflection, the lighting effects in the stadium with a lens flare style reflection is also very nice and the lighting positions move as the players and camera move. Player animations for the most part are very good, but some leave a bit to be desired. There are also several clipping problems where a player will go through another player or a head is sticking through the hoop.

Billups Takes it Up Strong
Pass the Ball In
Dunking In Your Face

The sound effects in NBA Inside Drive 2000 leave a lot to be desired. For starters the play by play and color commentary is horrible. A good example of bad play by play is that also found in Baseball Edition 2000 and Triple Play 2000 where the announcers will always make stupid remarks that have little correlation between the event that just occurred and the game. Play by play and color commentary are both very uninspired and uninteresting to listen to, the play by play man has little emotion into the game will have a consistent tone throughout most of the game. Some silly remarks like "Good golly miss molly". While the color commentator will say some really stupid "advice" or comments about how players are performing. One shot could be missed and that being the very first shot of the game and he might say "He's shooting the stone cold rock, he's feeling the frost" and other comments which don't apply. The regular sound effects such as floor scratches or rim bouncing are all quite common and don't sound too impressive.

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Added:  Friday, September 24, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 3/5

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