FAQ/Strategy Guide by KeyBlade999

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    FAQ/Strategy Guide by KeyBlade999

    Version: Final | Updated: 05/09/13 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

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    • Game: NBA Jam
    • Console: Sega Master System
    • File Type: Formatted FAQ/Strategy Guide
    • Author: KeyBlade999 (a.k.a. Daniel Chaviers)
    • Version: Final
    • Time of Update: 11:49 PM 5/8/2013
    • File Size: 22.1 KB


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    Welcome to another FAQ of mine. This one covers the SMS game known as NBA Jam. This generic basketball game is based off of the GameGear game of the same name. As you may know, the GameGear is effectively a portable SMS, although the two do have unique titles on each - in fact, NBA Jam was being made based off of the SMS version, almost like a reverse port.

    This game was apparently made by Midway and Acclaim in 1994 for Sega's Master System. In the over twenty years hence, not a single complete FAQ has be written for it, until now. I, along with other members of the GameFAQs FAQ Contributor boards, have taken it upon themselves to write at least one guide for every Sega Master System game out there and, at least at the time of writing, we're very close! ^_^

    And, so, that's more or less how I came upon this came. Thanks for listening to my ramblin'; I hope you enjoy!


    Game Controls

    ButtonResultant Effects
    D-PadMove player
    Move cursors
    1 ButtonConfirm decisions
    Hold and release to shoot ball (Offense)
    Jumping block (Defense)
    2 ButtonPass the ball (Offense)
    Throw elbows; may dislodge ball (Defense)

    Title Menus

    At the title screen, press the 1 Button and you'll bring up three different options.

    • Head to Head: A mano-y-mano style of play; think of an exhibiton mode.
    • Team Game: Basically head-to-head, but it seems you're meant to revive gameplay with passwords, like a career.
    • Options:
        • Timer Speed: Can be 1 (slow) to 5 (fast). 3 is the norm.
        • Drone Diff.: Basically computer difficulty. Can be 1 (easy) to 5 (hard), with 3 as average.
        • Tag Mode: Want to use it? It allows you to always control your team's ball carrier.
        • CPU Assistance: Want to use it?
        • Pad Config: Allows the switching of the 1/2 Buttons' controls; defaults are in Game Controls.

    The Pre-Game

    While the Head-to-Head and Team Game modes do differ somewhat, you can rely on pretty much the same set of rules for each - for, after all, it is basketball in both modes, right?

    Anyways, each game will begin with a choice as to whether you want your initials stored for leaderboard purposes and such. That otherwise has no effect on the gameplay whatsoever. After that, you get to select your team. At this screen, you can do one of several things - firstly, use the D-Pad to hover a team, then use the 1 Button to confirm that team. There, your two members are displayed at the top - the person you control is on the left. If you want to swap people, press the 2 Button before pressing the 1 Button. Given that each player has their own stats, it is a good idea to take a look at both - see the Player Analyses section for more details. At that point, the game will begin.


    The Beginning


    Each game is divided into, at standard, four three-minute periods. The timer is almost always on the screen, at the far side of the court. It is also there you can see the scores - you on the left, and the other guys on the right.

    Each game will toss with the ball being tipped - the referee will toss it up into the air. The tip refers to this moment; you and your opponent will leap to try and tip the ball to your (or your opponent's) teammate to get possession of the ball. From what I can tell, rapid pressing of the 1 Button should suffice to get you the ball.


    Playing Offense

    When you get the ball, you will be controlling the person with the blinking arrow above them, like in the screenshot to the right. How you control them is outlined in the Game Controls section. While you have the ball, you are on the offense, and have 20 seconds to attempt a shot. You will be controlling whoever has the arrow, so if you opted to not have tag mode enabled, and then do not have the ball, you're almost solely relying on the CPU to get a shot in. You should, in that case, speed to the goal. (Your goal will be at the right side - the one you want to aim at, anyways.)

    When you're ready to take a shot, press and hold the 2 Button. You will then need to release it to shoot the ball. I have found that releasing the ball around the peak of your jump does quite well. You can also end up doing a slam dunk within the blue box with the 2 Button - they all yield two points and are hard to block, but hard to achieve. Notably, each player's dunk is unique.

    Regarding the scoring of shots, it is based upon the two distinct regions of the field. Firstly, look at the blue box, as per the above screenshot - that's a two-point area, where you also can do slam dunks. From that blue area outward to the final sort of half-circle remains two points per goal made; shots from the red area are, I think, marked as field goals. Beyond that outermost white line, no matter how far you go, all shots are worth three points.

    If you happen to make the shot, your opponents will get the ball and the shot clock goes to 20 seconds for them. If you miss, the ball is live and anyone can get it - even you! - and their shot clock will return to 20 seconds.


    Playing Defense

    Playing defense in NBA Jam is rather simple. This occurs when your opponents end up gaining possession of the ball. As before, you will control the player who has the white arrow above their head.

    During this time, your primary goal is not to gain points, but to prevent your opponents from gaining them. This can be achieved in one of two ways. The first method is the most blatantly obvious one - take the ball from your opponents! This can be done by impeding them in some fashion and using the 2 Button to throw elbows, which will likely dislodge the basketball from their hands, making it live as if someone had missed a shot. Given your vicinity to the ball, you'll almost certainly take hold of it.

    What about if you can't steal it, or just don't want to risk it? Well, you can block your opponent's shots. This is best achieved either when near your opponent or near the goal - the lowest points in the basketball's trajectory when shot. The idea is simple - time your jump with the 1 Button to slap down the ball before it can get into the goal. Simple enough?

    Like when you play offense, if your opponent makes the shot, possession automatically goes to you. If your opponent misses it or it is blocked, the ball is live and possession is given to the person who snatches it up.




    That's pretty much how the game progresses. In between the first and second and the third and fourth periods, you'll basically get a game tip. After the second and fourth periods, you'll get to see some stats about the players insofar. Also after the fourth period, you'll get the results of the game as a whole (most points wins) and the password to continue this career mode in Team Game.


    Player Analyses

    Players are rated on a scale of 1 (horrible) to 10 (great) for each of their four stats, while also reserving a "0" value for those who literally have nothing in that statistic. Note that these are not based on strict calculations, but mostly just observation. For the record, here are what's measured:

    • 3-Point Ability: The ability to shoot accurate three-point shots. The higher, the better.
    • Dunking Ability: The ability to accurately execute dunking shots. The higher, the better.
    • Defense: Generally how well this player is on defense; the higher, the better.
    • Speed: The player's running speed, offense and defense; the higher, the better.
    • Average Rating: The average of the above four scores; implied to be out of 10 for readability issues.
    Player's TeamPlayer #13-Point AbilityDunking AbilityDefenseSpeedAverage Rating
    Player #2
    Golden StateHardaway6/102/107/108/105.75
    L.A. ClippersManning5/107/104/105/105.25
    L.A. LakersWorthy6/108/104/105/105.75
    San AntonioRobinson2/108/1010/105/106.25
    New JerseyColeman3/108/103/105/104.75
    New YorkEwing3/109/109/107/107.00
    3-Point Ability4.9259
    Dunking Ability5.7037
    Average Rating5.5694
    Team NameAverage Rating
    Golden State5.625
    L.A. Clippers5.875
    L.A. Lakers5.250
    San Antonio6.125
    New Jersey4.750
    New York6.750
    Best Player AveragePippen (Chicago) - 8.00
    Worst Player AverageMcKey (Indiana) - 3.75
    Best Team AverageCharlotte & New York - 6.750
    Worst Team AverageIndiana - 4.625


    I'm willing to accept other tips. Just so you know.

    • On offense, one particularly good strategy is to always shoot the ball immediately after getting it. This is not the type of game where you'd need to hold the 1 Button longer to shoot farther - the same holding time will work for both a short two-point shot and a long three-pointer. Given that you shoot almost immediately, there's almost no hope of the opponent getting it, especially after their own goal. Combine this with a speedy teammate and you'll even get a likely assist if you miss!
    • On offense, if you're simply trying to get a close shot, if you have enough room, try to get in the blue zone - slam dunks are insanely difficult to block!
    • On offense, if you have Tag Mode disabled, just don't pass to your teammate unless absolutely necessary. They seem to just kind of suck...
    • On offense, if time is running low in the period, once the clock hits around three or four seconds, regardless of the situation, shoot. This is because whoever is in possession of the ball at the time basically will have a free shot with so little time left - even if the opponents get it, they have around only a second, if not less, to respond.
    • On defense, try simply waiting next to the goal. It's not the most creative or dynamic strategy, but it's easier to slap down a ball when you're next to the goal rather than chasing someone down, after all.


    In no particular order...

    • GameFAQs, Neoseeker, and Supercheats:
      • For being the most amazing FAQ-hosting sites I know.
    • CJayC, SBAllen, and Devin Morgan:
      • General sucking up to the GameFAQs admins. =P
    • Me (KeyBlade999):
      • For making this FAQ. =P
    • You, the reader:
      • For hopefully enjoying this FAQ.

    Version History

    • Final:
      • Foreseeably final version.
      • Time: 11:49 PM 5/8/2013.


    This FAQ may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright.

    All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their respective trademark and copyright holders.

    © 2013 Daniel Chaviers (a.k.a. KeyBlade999).

    If you would wish to contact me concerning this or my other FAQs, use this e-mail: keyblade999.faqs@gmail.com, or PM (Private Message) me on the GameFAQs message boards.

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    This is the end of KeyBlade999's NBA Jam (SMS) FAQ/Strategy Guide.

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