NBA SHOOTOUT 2002 for PlayStation and PlayStation 2. $50-$80. Rating: NN
GRAPHICS: Chunky. All ball, no bounce.
ADDICTIVENESS: You're better off getting a workout down at the gym.
ANTI-SOCIAL FACTOR: The computer never loses.
PROXIMITY TO THE REAL THING: Like one long highlight reel with no filler in the middle.
what more can you do with a simulated basketball game?
There are at least three different NBA-sanctioned games in the works for PlayStation and PS2 over the next few months, and beyond a few technical details and graphic tweaks, the differences between them will be minimal at best. How to choose?
NBA ShootOut has long been the weakest of the basketball sims, and so it remains. It's a simple nuts-and-bolts, back-and-forth game, and as the title suggests, shooting is paramount.
Serious playmaking is scrapped in favour of all-out shooting sprees, and most of the attention here has been paid not to making the game actually flow like a real four-quarter match -- check NBA Live 2002 for that -- but to making sure that players' signature shots are as close to real life as possible.
If you're hoping to recreate Vince Carter's Shaq-stunning between-the-legs windmill jam and follow it up with some floppy boasting toward the crowd, this is your game.
There's also a place where you can design your own dunk, taking a computer image of a player and bending its knees and arms in different and impossible directions. It's a neat touch. There is, however, no slam dunk contest, so seeing these dunks actually come to life is almost impossible.
The attention paid to grandstanding means that some little details that would make the game worth playing over and over again aren't addressed. The play is jittery and headache-inducing, and as with most electronic b-ball games, defence is almost impossible to master.
Giving up 100 points a game might have been acceptable in Toronto a few years ago, but we've come to expect more from our shot blockers.