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NBA Street Vol 2. – GameCube

NBA Street Vol 2. – GameCube

coverPlatform:  Nintendo GameCube

Developer:  EA Canada

Publisher: EA Sports Big

Release Date: April 28th, 2003

Genre: Sports

Nerd Rating: 9/10

Reviewed By Steroid Gamer

 

“Punk the rest y’all! It’s NBA Street Ball!  Refs make the call, I’m ready to freefall.  Lights out! I’m the type to be about, hoop to alley-oop and psyching them all out”

It’s probably pretty sad that I still remember the lyrics to “Ride Wit Me” by MC Lyte from NBA Street Vol 2.’s soundtrack 10 years since the game has been released.  I put countless hours into “ballin” on the street courts in this GameCube title developed by EA Canada and published by EA Sports Big.  It’s the second game in the “Street” franchise and this second installment improves on the first in almost every way.

To bad bouncing the ball off an opponents head isn't legal in all versions of Basketball.

To bad bouncing the ball off an opponents head isn’t legal in all versions of Basketball.

There are four game modes in NBA Street Vol 2.; Street School, Be A Legend, Pick Up Game, and NBA Challenge.  “Street School” is just simply the games tutorial mode, and “Pick Up Game” is exactly as described, a game where you play who you want where you want.  These modes are basic and necessary but they aren’t what brings the pep and step to this old school baller (think basketball old, not video game old).  “NBA Challenge” is a tournament style game mode where you pick a team and go through the gauntlet of the other 29 NBA teams.  Each game is played on a different court assigned to by the teams’ “region”.  This mode offers a unique challenge, but it too struggles to be the Larry O’Brien Trophy of the street world.  This thuggin and muggin award goes solely to Be A Legend mode.

create baller

“Yo man! Like my kicks?”

In Be A Legend mode you get to create a “baller” and take them through the courts (again basketball, not judicial system) from a street punk unable to dunk on a dog,  to a street legend where simply whispering your name gives foes goosebumps.   The create-a-baller options are pretty impressive with various hairstyles, body types, and even a vast assortment of facial hair choices.  Gender neutrality wasn’t as big of an issue in video games back in 2003 like it is today, but there are plenty of AI female opponents throughout the game, and the option to create a female baller so NBA Street was ahead of its time.  Be a Legend mode doesn’t just pass you around from one game to another.  (Get it? Pass you? Pun INTENDED.)  Games vary from standard rules, NBA rules, dunks only, tournaments and more.  As you progress along your journey to stardom you can add and drop players to your 5-player squad.  Each time an opponent is defeated you have the option of picking up one of their players to join your team.  So naturally, you’re going to start off with a bunch of jockeys and gradually develop your team into any combination of NBA Legends, Street Legends, and NBA stars.  It’s the process of picking up better players that makes playing opponents so exciting.  If you’ve got a nasty foe that keeps “breaking your ankles” so to speak, then once you finally best them, getting them to join your team is a satisfying reward.

These guys are cooking up something spicy!

These guys are cooking up something spicy!

Now don’t get NBA Street stuck in the basketball stereotype.  This game abandons the waxed hardwood floors in favor of gum-covered blacktops, and it’s not just the appearance that changes up this game.  The game offers up to four player cooperative play which makes this title one you can share with plenty of friends. However, the biggest difference is “Gamebreakers” which are essentially special moves you can perform in the middle of the game that are usually unblockable and guaranteed to make it in the basket.  Gamebreakers not only give you more points for your shot but they subtract points from your opponent.  You can get Gamebreakers by performing snazzy tricks and shots during your game.  This is how NBA Street is different from any other NBA game.  It’s 3 vs. 3 where the first to 21 wins.  Doing tricks and pulling of trick shots gives you points and points lead to building up your Gamebreakers.   There are different levels of Gamebreaker which obviously are stronger than others, but have the same basic effect.  NBA Street has a great control scheme making all your tricks feel so easy to perform that you might believe they are doable in the real world.

Perhaps the aliens from Moron Mountain should've stolen #23's talent?

Perhaps the aliens from Moron Mountain should’ve stolen #23’s talent?

There a three difficulty modes that offer a good, if not always fair, challenge.  If NBA Street has a flaw it would be found in the difficulty levels.  Got Game (easy) doesn’t provide even close to a challenge, even for beginners.  It’s so unbalanced you could play the game blindfolded and still come out with the W.  Then there’s Legendary (hard) which surprisingly provides a healthy challenge in Be A Legend mode, but in Pickup Game or NBA Challenge prove to be more difficult.  Now, it’s not the nature of the game being harder on a higher difficulty that is frustrating it’s that it breaks its own rules to favor the AI.  For example, all players in the game have stats attributed to “Power” and “Dunks” as well as “Blocking” and a few others.  Typically if say, Allen Iverson tries to dunk on Shaquille O’Neal or Yao Ming, Iverson isn’t going to have much success.  It’s a system that is reasonable and makes sense.  Iverson has low rankings in both “Dunk” and “Power” while Ming and O’Neal are high in “Blocks” and “Power”.  Too often on Legendary mode you’ll find the AI controlled Iverson (or someone with similar stats) blocking shots, and dunks from a player like Ming.  Even worse there will be plays where a smaller player will straight up truck over one of the games “bigger” and more powerful players.  Normally this would be understandable during countless games, but it only works one way and is completely absent when playing in player vs. player modes.  Yep, that’ s right this game breaking advantage (not to be confused with the game’s actual Gamebreakers) is only for the AI and it’s super annoying.

I can imagine the NBA is for the better now.  With the longer shorts of course.

I can imagine the NBA is for the better now. With the longer shorts of course.

There are plenty of unlockables in NBA Street Vol 2.  Players, Jerseys, Courts, Street Legends and more can all be bought, or won in some cases, through the games reward system.  You can’t unlock them all at once, so multiple playthroughs is not only encouraged but something you’ll actually want to do.  NBA Street is also accompanied by a great soundtrack with popular artist such as Nelly, Benzino, and Nate Dogg all lending their songs to play during your street matches.  There is also the option to have Bobbito Garcia provide commentary during your games.  It’s a nice feature at first, but after eight games or so Bobbito is going to annoy the crud out of you by repeating the same lines over and over.  There is also the option to create your own team.  Here you can choose amongst any player in the game including those you have created.  Since there is no way to manage the game’s current rosters it’s fun to make up some “dream team” rosters.  EA Canada was also nice enough to include some unique logos to assign your created team to make them appear as if the fit in with the rest of the NBA.

This is so real....that it's.....REEL.

This is so real….that it’s…..REEL.

NBA Street Vol 2.’s cartoonish street style and fluid control system make the game a highlight to play and look at.  Four game modes might not seem like a lot of variety, but Be a Legend provides so much fun that you’ll want to revisit it multiple times.  Portions of the game might be challenging in the wrong ways due to AI super powers, but the vast creating options in both “create-a-baller” and “create-a-team”  as well as the co-op for up to four players make NBA Street Vol 2. the best basketball experience on the GameCube that you’ll ever have.

Written by Sean Collins

Sean Collins


Sean Collins (aka Steroid Gamer) started playing video games when he was 8 years old. His first console was a Nintendo 64 and his first game was Mario Kart 64. He fell in love immediately and has been playing games ever since.

My current systems include; N64, Gameboy Color, Gamecube, Wii, 3DS, PS3, Vita, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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2 Comments

  1. I miss EA’s ridiculous “Street” series games. They were the only sports games I ever enjoyed.

     
    • Steroid Gamer
      Steroid Gamer says:

      So do I. Unfortunately, EA did what it’s best at and started cranking to many of them out far to quickly. The series got “stale” and so did the sales. And we all know how important Sales are to EA.

       

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