Monday, 27 July 2015

Double Dribble (NES review)

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Released: 1987

Double Dribble is a sports game that was released as Exciting Basketball in Japan.


It consists of a single five-on-five game and you can choose between Boston, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Before each game takes place you see a cheesy but fun cut-scene outside the stadium as the crowd files in and the American national anthem plays. On offense the control scheme is simple but works well as the A button passes while B shoots. The most innovative aspect is the cut-scenes when a player tries to slam dunk the ball. All of a sudden the action moves to court level and a series of quick slideshow images show a variety of dunks including windmills and reverse slams. It still looks really impressive and has some satisfying sound effects to boot. On defense the A button is used to attempt steals while the B button switches players and the game does a good job of selecting the nearest defender. The action on the court is fast and enjoyable to play and the controls feel spot-on. Levels 1-2 difficulty are pretty easy but Level 3 is more difficult as it becomes a massive steal-fest! Once you reach the end of the second quarter there's a cool half-time show with cheerleaders and mascots that roam the side of the court! It's just a shame that more options weren't included (such as Tournament mode) as there's little incentive to keep playing after you've finished the single match. To get the most out of the game you really need a friend to play against; the two player mode is brilliant especially when you try and dunk over each other as the close-ups add to the tension! The music is highly memorable and there's even a few speech samples.

Double Dribble has fantastic presentation and some great gameplay but unfortunately it's extremely light on features. The solo mode is a lot of fun though and the multiplayer really shines while making for some tense, competitive matches.



Random trivia: The Japanese version doesn't have the close-ups when dunking the ball but it does feature background music during the game!

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