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TOTAL NBA 96 (Shootout)





1-8 Player

Game Type

Sports Sim

Mem. Card

Review Date

June 1996


Setting the Scene

Well as far as making a good first impression is concerned this game is brilliant, the loading screenshots are filled with excellent live-action video footage of various NBA stars in action. The quality of the video playback is stunning.


Just in case you have been off the planet for a while, here`s a brief summary of what the game is all about. The object of the game is quite simply to get the ball into the opponents suspended basket. Short goals within a marked area are awarded 2 points and long shots from outside are awarded three points. Whoever has the most points after four quarters wins the game.


Thirty NBA teams have been incorporated into the game. Every player on each of these teams has a small digitized photograph, individual stats and best of all each players physical attributes have been represented almost perfectly in the on-court player

The game its-self uses "motion capture" to encompass the fluid movement of the players. Individual players have there own ability and it really does help to get to know your team members quickly. The movement and general look of the players is absolutely fantastic. This is the closest that I have ever felt to actually "being there".

When points are scored you are treated to a slow-motion action replay which zooms right into the action allowing you to truly appreciate the quality of the graphics.

As usual in this kind of game the camera angles can be altered to suit your taste.

Sounds and Effects

The sound is also great for this type of game, from the squeaking of trainers on wood when right in the action, to the sound of a chanting organ playing whenever the game is paused. The crowd cheer the home team to victory and even the commentators seem to add something to the game rather than just annoying you!


But no matter how good the trimmings are its the gameplay that really matters. To be fair the programmers have included a "catch-up" feature that will adjust the ability of the opposing team depending on how close the current score is. This is of help when you are a basketball virgin and seems to make the final quarter of every game a really tense and exiting affair, the number of games that have been won or lost in the dying seconds is quite amazing (and frustrating!).

The Options screen is plentiful, offering the chance to swap players between teams, play friendly games, play a competition or play a whole season. The memory card can be used to save various scores and games should you want to play a whole season. Several skill levels allow you to taylor the game to your increasing competence.

On the down-side the game suffers from the same failings as most other sports simulations of this type, on completing a game you are never quite sure if you won the game due to your own skill and ability or due to the computer "helping" you. When going for a basket, its seems that if you were to perform the same move, with the same player, the same distance from the basket ten times, you could miss as many times as you score without knowing why! The blocking and tackling also becomes quite easy after a while and you soon discover that by positioning your players in certain positions, you can intercept and block your opponents moves quite easily.

As a two-player game this is superb and by using the "multi-tap" up to eight players can compete on one machine. I have had many a good night playing this game with my mates, no matter how good you think you have become, you can still easily be beaten by a friend who is playing the game for the first time.

Value for Money

The Game is about as good as any basketball simulation can be. You are never quite sure if it is YOUR skill or that of the COMPUTER which scores the baskets. Graphically it really shows off the power of the PlayStation. You will get tired of the 1 Player game. Up to 8 Players can play at any one time via the Multi-Tap(s). As a 2 (or more) player game it is BRILLIANT!





I am still playing the game regularly, I am getting very frustrated by the number of games that I keep losing in the final few seconds of the fourth quarter. Whenever I score a few baskets in a row the computer team seems to become superhuman and scores from all angles to catch up to me. After one month the game has been gathering dust on the shelf for a week now and apart from the occasional multiplayer game with friends I have lost interest in it. There just doesn't seem to be enough of a SKILL FACTOR in playing the game. Sure the graphics are nice, but the gameplay sucks. I figure that a blind man could play this game with a degree of success, such is the level of computer help. Scoring baskets seems to be more of a random event chosen by the PlayStation than timing and precision by the player - It was nice for a while, but not long enough.








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