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Tecmo NBA Basketball Review

Developer: Tecmo Publisher: Tecmo
Release Date: N/A Also On: None

Tecmo Super Bowl is regarded by many as the best sports game on the NES. However, many people do not realize that it and its predecessor weren’t the only Tecmo sports games on the NES. Tecmo also had a baseball game out for the system, and it also had a basketball game out for the system, the game at which we are going to look in this review.

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Back in the day when my brother and I had our NES, I got somewhat into Tecmo Super Bowl, being a casual football fan, but I wasn’t big into basketball, and I wasn’t very good at this game the few times I did try it, so I never really played this game. However, when I recently resurrected our old NES from the storage room in which it lay dormant, I eventually decided that I needed to play this game at least a couple times so I could review it. What I found is a game that, even though I’m still not the biggest fan of NBA basketball, is mildly entertaining and quite possibly the best basketball game on NES, although I admit that isn’t saying much.

Anyway, the graphics on this game aren’t the best really. The players all look the same, with the exception of the fact that they are wearing color-coded shirts so you can tell who is on which team, and the fact that some are white and some are black. The animations of people running and shooting, among other things, are about as good as could be reasonably expected from an NES games. Overall, the graphics are done fairly well.

The only real sound effects I could ever notice was when a whistle was blown to signify a breach of the rules or the crowd cheered (which would usually follow a made shot, particularly dunks). The music is decent, although not memorable, but does get old to listen to after a while. Overall, the sound is passable, but isn’t memorable. This is a game where you wouldn’t lose much from just turning off the game’s sound and listening to the radio.

The gameplay is, well, basketball. A passes and B shoots on offense. B steals or jumps for a block on defense, and A seemed to switch you to the defender nearest the ball what few times I pressed it. Many of the breaches of the rules can be and are called in this game, as well as out of bounds calls. In regard to accuracy to the professional game’s rules, it certainly is impressive how close Tecmo was able to come with this game.

The computer players play decent defense, but it usually only takes a few passes (if that) to put somebody on your team in a position where he can dunk. Dunks are far too easy in this game, which is my one complaint on the offensive side of the ball. Other than that, shots don’t always go in, even when taken openly, but they don’t fail to go in often enough for me to think that the computer is biased against human players either. So the mechanics of basketball are done pretty well in this game as well.

So far as modes of play go, you have preseason, which is basically an exhibition game between any two teams, all-star game, which is an exhibition of the best players in the game, and a season mode where you can play a season with any team in the game and save your progress. For its time, these were all that were expected, as it would be years until franchise modes were invented.

Although the rosters in this game are heavily outdated, the basic mechanics of this game are sound, and the modes offered are certainly enough to keep a basketball fan busy for a while. This is no NBA 2K or NBA Live series game, but it is a good basketball game nonetheless for those who can live with worse graphics and archaic rosters. If you are a fan of basketball, and you own an NES, this is about the best you can find on the system for the sport.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7.2
Written by Martin Review Guide