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1-2 Player

Game Type

sports sim

Mem. Card

Review Date

dec 1996

Setting the Scene

The game that persuaded me into buying the Playstation comes back better than ever in its second installment. For those of you unfamiliar with this genre, In The Zone blew away its competition in the realm of player design. However, one of the main drawbacks was the lack of simulation options: (i.e. substitutions, season play, etc.) Undaunted, Konami comes out with its next version, which some have already proclaimed as the "King of The Hill"

The Introduction is okay, nothing special, but it does show glimpses of their technology behind character development, which in my opinion is the best out of all the games I've played. Something that really stuck out is the Asian influence of this game, during the intro, they are flashing Japanese words on some of the interfaces which made me think that a big deal of the quirks that I had about this game (see gameplay) may come from lack of insight into USA basketball, read on and you will see what I mean. Although, before I begin, I could be wrong, but it kind of makes sense.




First let me define graphics, graphics includes everything you see, so in this category, ITZ2 receives a good grade. The player's look wonderful, especially when you find Jordan, he has his black elbowband, and the black biker shorts under his uniform, very nice. The animation is also excellent, especially when playing in the post. Where Konami drops the ball is on other things, like the player select screens, or the floor of the hometeam, while decent, it is nowhere near the level of graphical elegance in the players. The resolution is greatly reduced in the arenas, but this is something you only notice if you played the "other" basketball game. The players have their actual face, and check out Rodman's hair, I'll say it again, whoever does the player design for ITZ, is in a league of his/her own. My one complaint, is what's up with the dunks, surely every NBA loaf cannot do a Tomahawk Dunk. (i.e. Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason) so why not limit those without the proper athleticism to basic dunks? Other than that, the game definitely has substantial eye candy.

Sounds and Effects

The music is okay, but the National Anthem is excellent, they even have different singers, however I question what this adds to the game, but I do enjoy the camera angles of the players as they await the beginning of the game, but is it worth the load time. The announcer is a little better than the previous one, meaning he doesn't make as many errors, (remember Vlade Divash?) But the background music is a typical loop, not too much effort there, but this is compensated by how much work obviously went into creating the National Anthem screen.


ITZ2 absolutely blows it here!!! Maybe whoever created the game did not know how the game of NBA basketball functions, in ITZ2, you can only substitute between quarters, and the game has to go through the drama of loading this into memory when you do. Although the defense is improved, the way to winning is to use one player and run around into you are open and then shoot the ball. Forget about passing because the ball seems to f-l-o-a-t i-n t-h-e a-i-r, while you are running at breakneck speeds. This hinders the game very much so. The key to playing defense is to position a big man under the rim, and just block shots all day. Occasionally the computer will score, but every time you go up to block, you'll block, even if it is Charles Smith and Shaq is coming down the lane, with a thunderous d--- oh no it's blocked by the scrawny C.Smith!!! A hint to Konami, find the person at EA, and take him out to lunch, who knows maybe the two companies could collaborate and form the ultimate bball game. The create a player option is cool, but it was very confusing, I don't think I actually did it successfully yet. Overall, this is still ITZ2's Achilles heel.

Value for Money

ITZ2 is an improvement over ITZ1. They made the improvements that people asked for, but they still need to bottle the unbridled enthusiasm of the game of basketball and create standards, instead of just trying to meet them. They have succeeded in the graphical elements of the game, but seriously need to reevaluate what they think will put them over the top. This boils down to one thing, gameplay, the playability needs to be improved. In comparison with NBA Live 97, this game is second fiddle, but its ideal if you just want a nice looking arcade style basketball game.





I worry about the long term playability of this one.








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