Review by Kobold Warrior
Reviewed: 03/13/01 | Updated: 07/02/03
The best sports game that ever graced the Dreamcast system
They're shooting hoops... yeah, yeah, yeah, they're playing basketball... ahhhhhhh yeah! ~ G Love and Special Sauce
NBA2K on the DreamCast showed how a great basketball videogame should play, but NBA2K1 was the game that refined the gameplay elements to near perfection. His is this you ask? Read on...
First and foremost, the gameplay in NBA2K1 is fabulous. Let me start with offense. Whether you are pounding away in the paint, blowing by a defender with a well timed spin move, or tossing an alley-oop to an open teammate from half court, the game responds perfectly every time. Never before has a b-ball game handled the low post so well. Every move that you pull off on the low blocks feels natural, and can earn you two points if timed correctly. There's no better feeling in the world than backing someone down with Shaq all the way to the rim, then turning and throwing it down on his head as the ref calls a defensive foul. The crossovers and spin moves are equally as amazing. In NBA2K1 they actually serve a purpose! In the b-ball games of the past you could pull these moves off, but they were simply for show. Not here. If you drive hard to the rim with someone who's a good ball handler and pull off a well timed spin move, the defender will be ''juked out of his shorts'' and take a few steps back , stunned. This gives you a split second to blow by him for the easy two. But, if you time it wrong there's a good chance you'll be whistled for the offensive foul as you slam into the defender.
Defense is handled just as well as the offense. Swat and steal attempts must be timed just right to work, and defense in the low post is responsive and intuitive. I personally love how it takes just as much practice to play great D as it does to play great O.
Why is it that the DC is better than the PS2 at creating realistic player models that look VERY much like their real life counterparts? It's simply amazing to watch the player introductions and see every little detail of the player as he struts out onto the court. Everything from Sheed's weird spot on the back of his head to Brian Grant's dreads are handled flawlessly and really show how much time and energy Visual Concepts put into the development of the game. There are tons and tons of different dunks in the game. I have a blast just playing in the practice mode with Vince Carter and attacking the rim repeatedly. It seems like every few games I play, I'll see a new dunk that I swear I've never seen before. Great stuff.
The aural presentation in the game is quite good. Every squeak of the shoes, grunt of the players battling in the low post, or sound of the ball dropping into the cylinder for three is very well done and really draws you into the game. The commentary is very similar to that found in NFL2K1, which is definitely a good thing. In fact, the commentary in both the 2K1 games is ground breaking because of how much the announcers talk during the duration of the game but very rarely say the same thing twice.
The menu music is catchy, and the in game arena music sounds authentic. It would be cool if they had actual songs that are played at NBA arenas like, ''We will rock you'', or ''Smoke on the water'' but hey, you can't have everything right?
Practice, playoff, season, and franchise modes. The most detailed create-a-player feature ever seen in a b-ball game. A unique street-ball mode which allows you to play 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 in actual street courts across the country. Oh yes, I don't want to forget...ONLINE PLAY!! Do I really need to keep going!?
I have probably played just about every basketball game ever created for a video game system since the NES, and this includes NBA Shootout 2001, NBA Live 2001, and ESPN NBA2Night for the PS2. I'm going to tell you right now that NBA2K1 is the absolute best of the best. If you have a Dreamcast and don't have this game, GET IT RIGHT NOW! If you are fan of basketball and basketball games, then this game is definitely worth buying a Dreamcast for.
Gameplay: 9 – The best playing basketball game of its time. The only things that hold it back are some stupid roster management glitches that will annoy the heck out of you.
Visuals: 9 – WOW. At the time, these were the most realistic faces ever seen in a sports game. The animations, player models and arenas also look extremely good. Some minor clipping is a slight black mark.
Sound: 9 – Most sound effects are spot on and the commentating is stupendous (not to mention funny as hell).
Lasting Appeal: 10 – The excellent gameplay and deep season mode will keep you coming back. And who can forget the online play??
Tilt: 10 – I literally played this game for months straight with my friends when it first came out. The realistic players, awesome gameplay and kick butt online play just sucked me in and never let go.
Final Score: 9.3 (rounded down to 9 for GameFAQs)
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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