Friday , May , 30 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis


Warning: Call in sick to work for a few days, kiss the
significant other goodbye for awhile, ask you mom to write a note to school
telling them you are sick, because NBA Street Vol. 2 is going to take away all
the free-time from your life. This game is so highly addictive a Surgeon’s
General warning needs to be placed on it.



In 2001, PS2 gamers where treated to a high-flying, over-the-top arcade basketball game that let gamers have a "ball" while playing some virtual b-ball. In a genre that was slowly growing stale due to the lack of innovation like such series as NBA Jam, EA Big came along and rejuvenated the arcade basketball genre by taking it to the streets. With more moves than the Harlem Globe Trotters, NBA Street featured lightning fast gameplay, smooth controls, great graphics, and simplistic gameplay easy to pick up on, even haters of sports were able to lace-up for a few games. However 2 years later, Vol. 2 is out and the pertaining question is, is it just more of the same? The answer to that question is both yes and no, but Vol. 2 keeps things fresh by adding onto an already stellar formula.

Gameplay: Taking it to the streets:

Vol. 1 was easily one of the best games of 2001 and Vol. 2 essentially plays the same. The shoulder buttons on the PS2 controller still determine your turbo and anything in front of the 3 point line counts as one point and anything and the 3 point lines scores for two points. Vol. 2 still has gameplay that’s as smooth as butter, ups the ante in terms of moves, and a nice implementation of a sizable roster with the addition of legendary players (Larry Bird, Dr. J, 3 types of MJs so on).

Vol. 2 isn’t radically different than Vol. 1. In fact, other than Vol. 2’s new retro feel, those who have played Vol. 1 will feel right at home with Vol. 2 as the game’s core mechanics haven’t been changed a bit. The game still maintains it’s street rules by hosting teams 3 on 3 with the first to score 21 points. No fouls, no rules (except 24 seconds shot clock for gameplay sake) and definitely no chumps.

So if Vol. 2 plays pretty much the same what makes it so much more compelling than that of it’s predecessor? Simple, it’s all in Vol.2’s features and the biggest feature is definitely Be-a-Legend mode. Be-a-Legend mode delivers exactly what the mode promises. Players start off by creating their own player. You are given attribute points to start off your character (and an extra 1000 for those who go through and complete the training mode) and can determine the size, build, height, and even sported style of your hoopster. You will then determine, with what little attribute points you have left, to balance out your players skills (shooting, dunking, blocking etc…) as you see fit. Then you will travel court to court, playing game after game across the streets of America building the reputation of your baller.

Put simply though, at the start of Be-a-Legend mode your character will suck. It’s inevitable, you will get dunked on and schooled by all sorts of scrubs. However, that’s what makes Be-a-Legend mode so spectacular. It’s the determination and satisfaction of building your character up from, and excuse the pun, the gutters of the streets to a golden legend to be reckoned with. As you go on your character will gain more attribute points to help enhance their performance and skills, and can even be used to help style out their clothes and shoes pimping them out to whatever style you see fitting. You will also have the addition to customize every repertoire of moves your player has up their sleeves from dribbling to dunking.

As you progress, and the legend of your character grows, you will be able to play normal pick up games, tournaments, and special condition games to help establish your reputation. At the start of the game your character will only be able to play in pick up games. These games don’t do much to help your rankings. However after each game that you win, you are able to steal a player from the opposing team to help add to your overall team. You will eventually get the chance to join in tournaments and the tournaments are the equivalent of "boss" sections. These really heighten the game experience because if you are good enough to win the tournaments you get to steal the specialized characters designed by EA to join your team. Specialized games will also be unlocked after you complete a tournament and these are usually games that consists of special restrictions or conditions in order to win such as you aren’t allowed to dunk, or the first to fill his gamebreaker meter.

Continuing on, the game begins to establish your reputation and according to how you play, you are given a nickname by the announcer (i.e. if you do high-flying dunks you can get the name "Cosmic," if you block a lot you can get the name "Clinic" so forth). As your attributes build the game progressively gets harder as you travel from the East Coast to the West (New York, Chicago, Seattle, L.A, etc.) in search of legendary status. As you continue you will be garnered with special jersey’s from players of the past, more special moves, and even a few NBA pro’s to add to your team and eventually have your stats completely maxed out. Roughly Be-a-Legend mode lasts a good 10 to 15 hours’ worth of gameplay and is thoroughly fun and addictive throughout the entire ride.

The other core part of this game allows you to make your own custom team in the NBA Challenge mode. In challenge mode, you create a team of 5 (including your now legendary baller) to take on all the official NBA teams. Essentially, this mode adds a little more replayability as it allows you to play through and gain extra jerseys and all sorts of extra Easter-eggs. The game also sports a two player and four player options but the two-player handles far more smoothly than the four-player does. Playing the four-player option does not allow you to switch between characters and you are left stuck with one AI character that can ruin the experience.

Graphics: Boom-shaka-laka:

Vol. 2 has some really sharp graphics. Colors are in abundance and the backgrounds are literally filled with home street goodness that not only adds massive amounts of detail but also really brings out the location in which you are at. Character models are sharps and fit their real life counter parts, and up close almost have a cel-shaded look to them. The animation for the dunks and moves are stunning, and the frame rate never staggers.

Sound: DJ Cucumber Slice?:

Although Vol. 2 provides a nice urban hip-hop soundtrack to fit the b-ball atmosphere, the announcer, although better than Vol.1’s "Joe-the-Show" is still semi-annoying. Bobbito Garcia (aka DJ Cucumber Slice) provides the play-by-play commentary and although it is much improved it can still really get under your skin. The tracks mix within each game providing variety however there seems to be a lack of tracks, but the overall quality is great and with the addition of some great ambient effects to, Vol. 2’s sound is great.

Overall, Vol.2 provides another go around with EA Big’s b-ball franchise. The Be-a-Legend mode is reason enough to play this game, but Vol.2 continues to throw more variety at gamers. Although those who have played Vol.1 may be a bit disappointed by the fact that Vol.2 doesn’t really improve to much on Street’s outstanding gameplay, Vol.2 provides enough freshness to show it’s still got game. Simply put if you have ever picked up a basketball you need to play Vol.2, if you have ever picked up a game controller you need to own Vol. 2.

provided by


Cheat mode:
Select a pick up game, and choose either to be home or away. Choose and accept an ID. Then, enter one of the following codes when the “Enter codes now” message appears at the bottom of the screen.

Unlimited turbo:
Hold L1 and press Square(2), Triangle(2).

Big heads:
Hold L1 and press Circle, Square(2), Circle.

Small players:
Hold L1 and press Triangle(2), Circle, Square.

ABA ball:
Hold L1 and press Circle, Square, Circle, Square.

WNBA ball:
Hold L1 and press Circle, Triangle(2), Circle.

Ball trails:
Hold L1 and press Triangle(3), Square.

No display bars:
Hold L1 and press Square, Circle(3).

All jerseys:
Hold L1 and press Square, Triangle, Circle(2).

All courts:
Hold L1 and press Square, Triangle(2), Square.

St. Lunatics team and all street legends:
Hold L1 and press Square, Triangle, Circle, Triangle.

All NBA legends:
Hold L1 and press Square, Triangle(2), Circle.

Classic Michael Jordan:
Hold L1 and press Square, Triangle, Square(2). Alternately, successfully complete NBA challenge, street school, and be a legend modes.

Explosive rims:
Hold L1 and press Circle(3), Triangle.

Alternately, hold L1 and press Circle(3), Square.

No counters:
Hold L1 and press Triangle(2), Circle(2).

All quicks:
Hold L1 and press Triangle, Circle, Triangle, Square.

Easy two pointers:
Hold L1 and press Triangle, Circle, Square, Triangle.

Difficult two pointers:
Hold L1 and press Triangle, Square, Circle, Triangle.