Another sport besides hockey is “heating up” this October and that’s basketball, specifically the NBA. The first game I’m going to mention in my 32X sports titles round up is NBA Jam Tournament Edition. For those of you unfamiliar with NBA Jam, it’s two on two arcade style basketball featuring licensed NBA franchises and players. Pick the two most compatible teammates from a few player options per team and take on an opponent, real or computerized. I usually pick a guard and a center or forward but since just about anyone can handle the rock, shoot the J and dunk with ease, it doesn’t matter all that much. The game focuses on the most highlight worthy aspects of basketball, long range 3’s, dazzling passes and of course, massive arena shaking slams, or jams if you will. I’ve been playing NBA Jam in arcades and various other home consoles for decades but the 32X version has only been in my collection for a short time. There aren’t a lot of sports titles available for the 32X and this is the only basketball based game so I felt it prudent to pick up a loose copy as it is not a rare title. So if you’re a 32X owner and basketball fan, its either balls out bonkers b-ball arcade style or you play one of the many Genesis sim-style titles. I like NBA Jam as a relic of the 90’s and while it doesn’t hold my attention for long, this version is very faithful to the arcades which earns it high marks from me.
The second title is a mouthful…the official name is “Golf Magazine Present 36 Great Holes Starring Fred Couples.” There were some decent golf games for the Genesis already and 36 Great Holes is solid one as well, if unspectacular. You can play as a variety of digitized male and female golfers, including the titular professional golfer who offers his take on your shot with one liners like “That’ll play” and “Ah, you’re in the beach” and “Ooh, just too hard” (that’s what she said). There are also 27 courses to choose from so a nice variety there as well. I’m pretty good at golf sim games (thanks Tiger Woods Golf) so I was able to pick this up and play pretty quickly with little learning curve. However, my primary issue I have with the game is that the overhead view doesn’t help you orientate yourself to the pin which is inexcusable for a 32 bit title. Other minor annoyances include the more difficult putting mechanics (once again thanks Tiger Woods Golf for ruining me for any other putting mechanic) & the super irritating bird chirping sound that pops up at just about every change of screen when you’re setting up your next shot. It’s like the developers thought we would want to be reminded in 3 second high pitched chirps that golf is an outdoor sport. 36 Great Holes is good game overall but there are enough issues that keep it from reaching EA’s PGA Tour level consistency.
Currently in my collection:
Golf Magazine Presents 36 Great Holes Starring Fred Couples: cartridge only B-
NBA Jam Tournament Edition: cartridge only B+