Archive for Monday, April 23, 2001

Video game reviews

April 23, 2001


NBA Hoopz

Platform: Dreamcast

Genre: Racing

Manufacturer: Midway

Grab a basketball, six potentially flammable athletes with out-of-this world hangtime and lightning-quick action, and you'll be pretty close to NBA Hoopz, Midway's sequel to the classic NBA Jams.

While keeping some of the signature hallmarks, such as players who catch "fire" after three consecutive baskets and an array of nasty dunks, some new flourishes have been added, such as a third player, alley-oops and fouls, which discourage the old-school (and very fun) tactic of beating your opponent to a whimpering mess.

The pace sometimes gets annoying, especially when you're trying to play defense; it's tough to figure out who you're controlling, and by the time you locate your man he's usually airborne on his way to the rim. However, this game isn't about defense. It's about scoring more points than the other guy, and since almost no shot is impossible, keep on gunnin'.

There are other cool features, too, such as a bunch of minigames, including a 3-point shootout, along with a season mode. But to get the most out of this one, grab a few friends, select the 3-on-3 game and get ready to leave gravity behind.

The Next Tetris

Platform: Dreamcast

Genre: Action/Strategy

Manufacturer: Crave

The new-and-improved Tetris is pretty much the same as what you saw on your old Commodore 64, and it's still unbelievably addictive.

There are a few nice changes, too. The most obvious is the new blocks (called Multiminos) that break apart if placed correctly, allowing you to fill those hard-to-reach gaps created by sloppy block placement. Online capabilities give you access to reams of people as nerdy as you, all fiending for a fix of spinning blocks, armed with a quick trigger finger.

My favorite single-player game is the Marathon, which is similar to the original Tetris, save for the new addition of "garbage" blocks that are dropped into place at the beginning of each level. These create spaces that require some serious creativity (and more than a few Multiminos) to fill.

Luckily, you can get a peek at your upcoming blocks, so a little strategy is possible in early levels, but once the pace picks up you'll have to give up on looking ahead.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2001

Platform: PC/Windows

Genre: Sports

Manufacturer: EA Sports

I am Tiger Woods! Well, I'm not, but I got pretty darn close on a trip across the links in this game. Unfortunately, to truly conquer this game means you have to master a swing that few in the world have been able to emulate.

If you choose to play as the professional Tiger (and of course you're going to), you have the ability to outdrive everyone on tour by a good margin, but it's tough. The swing meter moves very, very fast, and just being a little off can result in a shot screaming off the fairway.

Additionally, you have to use a draw and a fade to get your distance over 300 yards, both of which require a whole lot of practice to keep in the short grass. Playing as an amateur makes it easier to hit the ball where you want, but your distance is drastically reduced.

The courses are well-rendered but not beautiful on the game's PC version, which may look better on the PS2. Tiger looks good, though, and he should: A video image is used for all of his actions, which include signature greenside celebrations of the fist-pumping variety.

One quality option is the President's Cup; you can choose your own team and take on the world's best golfers. Be sure you keep your head down and follow through.

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