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Reviewed: NBA Inside Drive 2000
Author: Chris Kim       Date: September 24st 1999
Page: 4


 
Final Breakdown

Gameplay:

Basketball games are typically a lot of fun, the case remains true with NBA Inside Drive 2000. The gameplay is very similar to that of other basketball simulations, however, most basketball games have proven to not be adequate simulations and most have turned out to be arcade games. Arcade games has remained true for even the king itself, NBA Live has had trouble being a true simulation to basketball. But, this does not take away from the fun that is to be had in this game. Offering just about every aspect of a real basketball game, from the tip off all the way to the last whistle, the game is a lot of fun. The game has a very well balanced feel of defense and offense, providing very good challenge between guarding a man and making the shot. The game offers a good set of plays to choose from and the computer will adjust accordingly. Generally, the game is a lot of fun, but there are several flaws that make it less than stellar. First off, rebounding and making 3pt shots can be very tough and become a hassle. Often, the player will find that the goal tending is called way too often, players will be standing out of bounds when receiving passes/steals, and it is nearly impossible to make a 3pt shot in the game. Even with the best shooters such as Glen Rice and Chauncy Billups, 3pt baskets are rare. The stats are also a very weak point in the game, the lack of league leaders standings is prominent, a ratings system for player skill is missing, and a player creation tool is missing. The season mode also leaves a lot to be desired, it is just a running game of various games in sequential order, the stats aren't kept up to date and don't change. Just a few things to keep in mind as an arcade game.

Graphics:

Quite impressive graphics are seen, the player models are excellent, including the referees. Referees are actually in the game for once, however, the interaction between the players is very limited. The arenas are rendered in great detail and with quite accurate stadium layouts. The lighting effects and floor reflections are excellent and look very authentic. Player animations for the most part are very believable and smooth. However, there are a few clipping problems which distract from the game. Player animations are also not as fluid and nice as they are in NBA Live '99, the facial textures and modeled faces aren't as nice or realistic looking. The faces also don't have facial emotions, which was a great feature in Live '99 and player expressions affecting how the players would act.

Sound and Music:

Again, not much in terms of great music or sound effects. Staying true to the realistic simulation of a basketball arena, High Voltage wisely choose not to add any background music in the game while playing. A lot of the sounds such as skidding on the floor and crowd cheers are common place, nothing too interesting. Not much in game speech as well, the commentators, one play by play and one color commentator are near awful. Given a similar effect as heard in Triple Play 2000, be ready to hear many stupid remarks and snazy lines to make something more interesting. Not only do the remarks seem awful, but the timing of each of the phrases are very out of place. The commentator will often say "Sorry MJ, gotta cut you off" and just end there. After taking one shot and missing, the color commentator will say something along the lines of "He's shooting the slippery stone cold rock, he's in the freezing temperature" of that sort.

Multiplayer:

Multiplayer is a ton of fun to play, unfortunately, multiplayer is only supported on the same computer with several different controller assignments. There was not even an implementation of modem or serial play which most sports games do ship with. It is a bit understandable that internet play would not be included because of the high bandwidth required to maintain a consistent speed in game due to the huge amounts of packets transferred in sports games. But still, there was no effort to even put the feature in.

AI Intelligence and Difficulty:

Huge problem with sports games are the AI of the computer. Most often, players will always find a flaw in the computer AI and exploit that error. The AI will try to play the player, but it is quite obvious after playing a while that the AI is a bit flawed. The player will run many plays against the computer, some will work to a certain degree while others will not. One really nice aspect about the computer game though is that if a player leaves another player open, the computer will likely fire the ball down to the open man for an easy basket, a great execution of give and go. The game also focuses a large amount on the post game, almost 80% of the game points will be scored from within the post. It is nearly impossible on the higher difficulty levels to sink a perimeter or 3pt shot, even with sharp shooters like Glen Rice or Reggie Miller. The difficulty settings are adequate and will provide challenge to even the veteran players.

Controls and Interface:

Has a pretty slick interface and menu system, however, there are way too many gimmicks and animations inside of the game interface. This makes for extremely tedious and slow load times between each of the menus. The animations within the interface also cannot be turned off. Control is pretty good for the most part, but an eight button gamepad is nearly required for all the button assignments. Also, a few of the polished parts that were found in NBA Live '98 such as DirectPass and DirectShoot aren't found here, so passes are sometimes miss guided. There are also a few problems in rebounding, sometimes rebounding will be impossible or extremely difficult.

Overall:

An excellent basketball simulation, however, will not dethrone NBA Live as the king of basketball games. For the price of admission, only $19.99, the money's worth is definitely there to be had. The game is more of an arcade game than a simulation with it's few stats and season simulation modes, but it is still great fun.

Pluses (+)
  • Nice Graphics
  • Fun to Play
  • Lots of Emphasis on Post Game
  • Adequate Difficulty
  • Minuses (-)
  • Some Lack of Detail
  • Pitiful Speech
  • Rebounding and Outside Shooting Needs Work
  • Not as Refined Control
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    Added:  Friday, September 24, 1999
    Reviewer:  Chris Kim
    Score:
    Page: 4/5

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