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Slick and enjoyable basketball action
Anyone looking for a simple but slick and enjoyable slice of arcade-style basketball would be well advised to check out NBA Hangtime as it offers pretty much everything you might want. Similar to the likes of NBA Jam, the game offers players 2-on-2 court action, with all the NBA teams to choose from and with several players available in each team. However, you can also create your own player if you don't like the ones on offer, tweaking their weight, height, strength and other attributes as you see fit. The main game largely eschews realism and instead focusses on providing extremely swift and over-the-top action that really captures the sport's spirit well. There are plenty of cool moves and tricks to try out which adds to the fun and which are easily accessible through the generally intuitive and accessible control system. There aren't many modes on display which is a bit disappointing, but for the most part this isn't a great issue as what is available is highly enjoyable. The game's visuals are quite pleasing, with nicely chunky and well detailed sprites that are full of personality and which move around the court at a good pace. The sound too is pretty decent, with all the effects that you would expect and which bring a good sense of atmosphere to proceedings. The AI of your opponents is of a good standard too, and they will frequently pull off some smooth moves to keep you on your toes so you need quick reactions and a fast eye to make your mark. While lacking in complexity or depth, NBA Hangtime does exactly what it sets out to do, which is provide fast and furious on-court action and if that's what you're after, it can't really be faulted.
Quirky but pretty enjoyable arcade basketball game
NBA Hangtime loses some brownie points with me simply because by the mid 90s there were relatively modern real 3D games out there tackling the basketball scene. However, if you're not looking for realism, but rather for a nice, well polished and don't mine too much plastic shine in your NBA arcader, then this one will definitely do it. What it's got in terms of aces up its sleeve (sic) is a nice way of bringing the controls and the game to a form that is both simple to get but also relatively hard to master. This feels like an adagio on the pure arcaders in the genre, in that it is not as difficult, but still has that feel that anything could happen. Either because you'll press the wrong button at the wrong time, or because a tactic you familiarized yourself with will no longer yield the same results every time. That's it for NBA Hangtime, it is at times unpredictable. I'm still not certain whether the controls are off at times or whether the players have a mind of their own at times, but either way, the game throws some really nice curveballs at you, in terms of difficulty and accessibility. So, if you don't mind the pure arcade presentation, which in truth works really well for the title, then this can be it for a long time.