Weekend List Final Four: Top Ten Basketball Games #2 NBA Street series
We’re finally down to number two. The one basketball series that Electronic Arts produced and it’s not real simulation basketball that cracked all the way to the number 2 spot. NBA Street is better than NBA Live can ever hope. Made by EA Canada, the game breathed new life into a dying genre. I stopped playing Jam-like games for 5 years until this gem came around. What made the game special for me to jump back in?
For starters, the game consisted of three on three instead of the typical two on two. There’s no five on five or else that would have complicated the dynamics. The eye candy reached a level that Midway’s NBA Showtime could not reach. The roots of the game play depicted the streets. There was no zany team fire or dunks from half court. Street was an arcade style of basketball, but EA Big added games within the game that NBA Jam didn’t incorporate.
Second, Michael Jordan came back in full form in both NBA Street and NBA Street Volume 2. He was never in Jam. We got our redemption. He was the ultimate boss in the first one. Jordan’s voice was in the game, too! In the second one, his shoes made the cut. The rookie version of MJ made it complete with gold chain and the first Air Jordan’s. Michael Jordan from 1996 packaged with the Air Jordan 11’s made it and the over the hill Washington Wizards’ version got in. EA Big gave us three versions of Jordan? Oh damn! For any of you youngsters who haven’t touched the game yet, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird and many other NBA legends made the cut as well. They even captured Pete Maravich and his socks.
Lastly, EA Big captured the atmosphere of the streets. Players are not regulated to shiny NBA arenas. Rucker Park, The Cage, Foster Beach, and all of these street courts brought us to the culture of street ball.
The positives: The soundtrack is elite legendary status. Check it out; classic old school hits. Most of the NBA legends are in the game so you can definitely put Jordan against Kobe. Gamebreakers are unique because it can definitely bring you back from certain death if used correctly. The trick points system made it a joy to try to master all of the dribble combinations. Defense was just as fun to play as offense. There is no goaltending. Playing games full of created players were challenging, but fun as hell. Super Mario, Luigi, and Peach were in NBA Street V3 and you can finally customize courts.
The negatives: NBA Street Homecourt. EA lost sight of what made the series great. They took away the legends in V3. Once those guys left, I left, too. The camera angle in V3 wasn’t that hot either.
Gamers will debate which version of Street was the best. According the ratings, NBA Street V3 was the highest. According to me, NBA Street Vol. 2 was the pinnacle. Three versions of MJ + Magic and other legends + dope ass soundtrack = epic win. I once beat my friend who only needed just one more point to seal the deal. I was down by 10 and came back to win. I’ll always remember that. And yes, we were playing with created players.