The arenas and crowds are detailed and realistic, although the cheerleaders are glaring omissions. The audio is amazing, with two-man commentary and players who shout at each other. Control is responsive, allowing you to perform a nice variety of moves, including backing-down a defender, crossover dribbles, and calling for a pick. You even have total control of alley-OOPS! All the new NBA rules have been incorporated into the game, and when you play in season mode, every statistic imaginable is tracked.
The user interface looks just like NFL 2K, and allows you to completely customize the game as well as create new players. NBA 2K is great but not perfect. It seems as if illegal defense penalties are never called, and during the season, injuries happen far too often. Another flaw is the horrible new free-throw method, which requires you to push the analog R and L buttons at the same time in order to line up two arrows. It's really, really dumb. But overall, NBA 2K is far and away the best basketball game so far. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
The new moves include a much-needed juke move and new animations include players encouraging each other during foul shots. Unfortunately, the horrendous foul-shooting system from last year is back! You have to gently squeeze the analog shoulder buttons to aim arrows, which is not only unintuitive, but it's nearly impossible if you've had any caffeine. Another problem is that the computer cheats when it's losing at the end of the game!
Sega missed a few opportunities to improve the presentation. The coaches and bench players are present but rarely seen during the game. And where are the cheerleaders?? I have to admit that the commentary is improved, with more varied and more intelligent color commentary. NBA 2K1 isn't a huge improvement over last year, but it's still the best basketball game out there. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
I should also mention that I've detected occasional graphic flaws you wouldn't expect from a third-generation game. Shots from behind the backboard sometimes pass through the backboard, and some shots change their arc ever so slightly in mid-air. And let's not forget the goofy foul-shooting system that once again rears its ugly head. NBA 2K2 is only a miniscule step forward, and only serious basketball fans should feel obligated to trade up. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Showtime could have been awesome, but there are serious issues regarding the computer-controlled players. To put it bluntly - they cheat!! These guys goal-tend on a regular basis, and automatically grab every rebound or loose ball. In addition, their three-point, end-of-half, desperation shots ALWAYS go in the basket!
Even at the lowest difficulty, the computer will frustrate you to no end! What does it all mean? It means you'll have to play a two-on-two (four-player) game to truly enjoy NBA Showtime. That's where the game REALLY shines. The action is non-stop, and the in-your-face dunks are amazing. Unfortunately, if you don't have four players, this game is pretty worthless.
Other problems include a severe lack of options and an excessive number of loading screens. The Matrix-like camera sweeps that happen at the end of each half are meant to look dramatic, but usually just look silly. With some tweaking (or game testing) Showtime could have been great, but instead it's just so-so. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Playing offense is a little tougher than I'd like it to be, but that just adds to the challenge. Using the Dreamcast VMUs, you have the option of selecting your plays from the viewport of your own controller, but that small window doesn't display much information, so you'll already need to be familiar with the plays before you try that. I do wish this game had included more option plays, which are a staple of most college team offenses.
Thanks to the wide-ranging trigger buttons of the Dreamcast controller, the instant replay feature is a pleasure to use, letting you adjust the speed of each playback with precision. The stereo sound is used to good effect, as you'll hear voices yelling from multiple directions before the ball is hiked. NCAA 2K2's play-by-play features two commentators who are somewhat boring but usually accurate. Overall I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of NCAA College Football 2K2. Not only is it a terrific Dreamcast sports game, but it even stands up to more recent football titles. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
2K's responsive, intuitive controls make it easy to pick up and play. The standard behind-the-quarterback view isn't the most dramatic camera angle, but it's easily the most playable. The gameplay is no joke. Runners react naturally to hits and receivers wrap their hands around the ball. The limited tackle animations usually fall into two categories: ankle tackles and body slams. I love how players display elation or frustration depending on the outcome of a play.
You have the option of selecting plays via the controller VMU (to hide your selection), but since it only displays the name of the play (not the routes), you'll need to be an expert to use it effectively. NFL 2K incorporates a fantastic instant replay system that utilizes the analog shoulder buttons to give you perfect control of the playback speed. Usually I struggle to use instant replay systems, but this one feels surprisingly natural.
Two broadcasters provide timely and realistic play-by-play and color commentary, often playfully bantering with each other in the process. They rarely repeat themselves, but some may object to their use of the word "damn". The game makes effective use of TV-style graphics to highlight players or statistics. The main problem with NFL 2K is its ineffective running game, which makes it nearly impossible to bust a long run. Another issue is how passes tend to "float" since you can't adjust their velocity. You'll want to make sure your receiver has plenty of room before heaving the ball.
Your playbook is limited, so if you're a blitz-happy defense, your options will be limited. 2K also lacks extraneous bells and whistles such as a half-time show or cheerleaders. I recently revisited this game with my friend Scott, and we were amazed how well it's held up. With its no-nonsense interface and arcade-style gameplay, NFL 2K actually compares quite favorably to Madden 10! © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
First and foremost the running game is easier. Thanks to better blocking and runningbacks that fend off tacklers, you can really fight for yardage and occasionally break a big gain. The new juke move is welcome, but hitting both triggers to initiate it seems odd. When passing, you can now throw the ball at different speeds, but it would be difficult to classify the hardest as a "bullet". The kicking game has also been upgraded thanks to a directional arrow that now moves with the wind, adding a bit more challenge.
New animations include receivers who make spectacular leaps to snatch passes and then spin around when hit. Defenders apply more realistic tackles and attempt to knock down low passes. Runners fight to maintain their balance, and occasionally are able to regain their footing. Opposing players can get into shoving matches, and I like how the linemen on one team will clap when the other side draws a penalty. A nice variety of penalties are called, but it takes the referee too long to specify which side is at fault.
The overall presentation is superb, with beautiful replays, statistical graphics, and a sports ticker at the bottom of the screen. On occasion however the flashy graphics appear prematurely and get in the way. The solid, two-man play-by-play team are a little less outrageous this year, but still deliver spirited commentary. I always find it amusing how they pause when stating the score ("It's the Ravens [pause] ten, the Steelers [pause] seven.")
The guitar music that blares after a score sounds a heck of a lot like U2's Vertigo - a tune that wouldn't be written for many years to come! NFL 2K1 was also notable as being the first football game to support on-line play. The CPU difficulty could be tweaked a bit, but for sheer playability, NFL 2K1 could be ranked among the greatest pigskin titles of all time. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
The user interface feels different but it's not necessarily an improvement. One useful new feature is the "bluff" mode which allows you to disguise your play selection when playing against a friend. NFL 2K2's ground game puts Madden to shame as runningbacks fight off tacklers and roll off defenders, resulting in plays worthy of the instant replay (imagine that!).
Tipped balls are prevalent, but the game sometimes has difficulty differentiating fumbles from incomplete passes. In one of my games a player was injured and writhing in pain in the middle of the field. Finally a teammate ran over to him in an apparent effort to help, but instead of lending a hand he carefully stepped around the poor chump and continued towards the sideline. Too funny!
2K2's two-man commentating is far more insightful than anything you'll find in Madden, but what's the deal with the volume levels? Their voices seem to fade in and out, and it can be annoying. The game supports up to eight players on-line. NFL 2K2 continued the steady progression of the series, and it's one heck of a football game. After this, the 2K series enjoyed a short stint on the Xbox platform before Electronic Arts instituted its infamous NFL monopoly. Play NFL 2K2 if you want to remember how much better things used to be! © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
The graphics are clean and well defined, with lush turf that looks exceptionally sharp. Your playbook is limited to a modest number of pass plays, and selecting them using the over-sensitive analog stick is a pain. On the field, the action is a little too fast for its own good! After hiking the ball you need to get rid of it almost immediately or you'll find your quarterback being body-slammed into the turf. Receivers get minimal separation, resulting in an inordinate number of interceptions and fumbles.
Blitz 2000 needlessly complicates the controls by incorporating an additional button - the right trigger. For the life of me, I'm still not sure what the hell that's supposed to do! The left trigger is now used to initiate turbo. The original Blitz game was well balanced, but NFL Blitz 2000 feels out of kilter. The flying helmets and 10-yard dives are fun, but the 80-yard field goals and constant turnovers are tiresome.
The lines tossed out by commentators (and players) are amusing at first, but they get on your nerves once they start repeating. I enjoyed the photos of drop-dead gorgeous cheerleaders on the statistical screens, but they are very much underused. Blitz 2000 was extremely hard to review, not only due to its breakneck pace, but the fact that there's no pause function, making it really hard to take notes. All in all, it left me with the distinct impression that the series had jumped the shark. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
You now have reasonable time to pass the ball, and receivers actually get open on occasion. The control scheme has been simplified, but having to use the left trigger for turbo is awkward! The graphics have allegedly been overhauled, but to be honest I couldn't tell the difference. The playbook is much bigger, and the cheerleaders on the load screens are definitely hot. The zany one-liners and hysterical "after the whistle" late-hits are back, but they are largely unchanged from last year.
The turnovers are still too frequent, and in a single play I once witnessed three fumbles! Also, the field goals are so freakin' long that they actually appear to hit the sky on occasion! That's pretty high! And is there a reason why the names on the team selection screen aren't in alphabetical order? That's just stupid. NFL Blitz 2001 can't stand up to the original Blitz, but it's still the best one you'll find for your Dreamcast. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
After witnessing a single play I had already compiled a laundry list of flaws. The animation is choppy and the frame-rate stutters. Players pause momentarily before responding to your commands. Receivers approach the ball at odd angles, and defenders seem oblivious to what's going on around them. I'm not sure what the mindset was behind the control scheme, but it seems as if the developers were trying to be different for the sake of being different.
When running with the ball, the A button functions as a "brake", and I can't imagine why anyone would ever want to use that. Catching a pass requires you to hold in the X button, and it really takes a lot of practice to get the timing right. After an incomplete pass you never know if it was you or the receiver at fault. The kicking system is inordinately complicated, and it's funny how the nets behind the goalposts appear to rise about 500 feet into the air.
QB2K's commentary is sparse and full of mistakes. As an example, I heard the commentator say Jermaine Lewis "is back to punt", instead of "back to receive the punt." An ear-splitting whistle is blown with annoying regularity, and the referee runs around like he has a large pole up his butt.
QB2K's main claim to fame is its celebrations, but these are unspectacular and it's irritating how you can't skip the extended showboating. The lone highlight of QB2K is its half-time show featuring cheerleaders forming letters on the field. When that's all a football game has going for it, it's time to head back to the drawing board. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
The play-calling interface is also cleaner and easier to read. Interesting bells and whistles include chain measurements and players on the bench that react appropriately to their team's performance. I was pretty excited to see the chain gang make a measurement, until I realized there was no chain attached to the markers! The action on the field unfolds at turbo speed, but player movements are still jerky and unpredictable.
During play-action passes, the quarterback has to go a long way (several steps) to fake the hand-off, making him vulnerable to sacks. After each play, unnecessary text is displayed recapping the play, and you'll get tired of hitting A to bypass it. The control scheme has been improved, but that's not saying much. It's no longer required to hit X to catch the ball, but it does improve your chances of pulling in a reception. When running, the A button is now used for a shoulder-charge, which makes a lot of sense but is not particularly effective. The CPU can run the ball well, but he's no fun to play because he takes forever to snap the freakin' ball!
At least the game is easy to make fun of. Check out the "Play Football" banner hanging near the end zone. Some imaginative fan was probably up all night working on that one. Quarterback Club 2001 emphasizes celebrations, and it's unintentionally hilarious to watch the kicker shamelessly gallivant around the field after converting a long field goal. The half-time show, which was the single memorable part of the last game, has been unceremoniously axed. Brett Favre once again adorns the cover, but we'll try not to hold it against him, because that guy is awesome. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
The action kicks off with that raucous "yall ready for this?" theme song. The action is fast but a little choppy - especially during shots on goal. The control scheme seems reasonable but I'm surprised they went with B for speed boost instead of a trigger. The triggers are reserved for changing lines and strategies, something I've never seen anybody do. It's hard to tell who has the puck when players are bunched up.
On defense it's easy to jar the puck loose but the body checks lack impact - mainly due to the hollow sound effects. But my biggest gripe is that it's just too damn hard to score - regardless of skill level. I consider myself an expert at one-timers but even perfectly orchestrated shots fail to find the net. The goalie always snares the puck, leaving no rebound opportunities. I once played to a 0-0 tie with over 100 shots taken combined. No wonder the commentators' favorite line is "easy save!"
The two-man commentator team has a lot to say but they tend to repeat platitudes like "aww man - that had to hurt!" There's really no interesting animations, cut-scenes, or interviews to make it feel like a televised broadcast. NHL 2K comes off pretty flat, lacking that arcade flair you expect from Sega. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Beyond the standard controls, you can do things like hook, deke, side step, protect puck, and block dump. I'm a three-button kind of guy myself. I like how the game lets me play as the original Mighty Ducks with the fun colors and cool logo. NHL 2K2 game is played from a lower, closer perspective than the first game, giving you a more realistic vantage point. The hits are harder and there are even some rebound opportunities.
Despite the visual makeover, NHL 2K2 still suffers from 2K's primary flaw, which is difficulty in scoring. These goalies tend to gobble up everything in the vicinity, so your best chance to score is hoping your opponent gets careless and wanders his goalie away from the net! The commentator team is surprisingly understated compared to the last game, with the color guy only chiming in two or three times per game.
On a positive note, the option menus are loaded with options like choosing jerseys, adjusting the game speed, or setting the fight frequency. NHL 2K2 is a good looking game but I'm afraid its playability never lived up to the standards set by 16-bit classics like NHL '94 (Genesis, 1993). © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
This Namco Museum contains six bonafide classics along with some meager customization options. You'll get Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaxian, Galaga, Dig Dug, and Pole Position. These vintage 1980's arcade hits look sharp, and I like how the widescreen is filled out with the original cabinet art. I still can't get over how good Pole Position looks on my widescreen TV! And the sound effects are so crisp! It sounds like Ms. Pac-Man is saying "chomp chomp chomp" as she putt-putts around the maze. I also love the "psss psss psss" of your shots in Galaxian and the thunderous explosions of Galaga.
Dig Dug fares less well, with tinny effects that are a bit hard on the ears. You can use the analog stick or digital pad, but for my money a good arcade stick is the way to go. Pole Position begs for a steering wheel, but sadly it's not supported. Each game plays well but the emulation is suspect. I managed to pass clear through a ghost in Pac-Man, and once I died in Ms. Pac-Man without being touched (I swear!).
Still, these games really bring back the memories. I'll never forget when me and my sister dumped about $10 of my parent's change into a Ms. Pac-Man machine at a particularly boring family reunion. I noticed the title screen for Tower of Druaga flashes briefly as Pole Position loads; is it a hidden game? Rounding out the package is a downloadable VMU game called Pac-It. It's a simple catch-the-dots game that won't hold your attention for more than three seconds.
Namco Museum for the Dreamcast lacks the museum part and the selection is paltry. Why not throw in a few more titles like Mappy, Pac-Man, Rally-X, or Xevious? Namco could have put more effort into this, but it does capture the best of the series. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
At first Neo XYX wasn't quite "clicking" with me, but I couldn't figure out why. I found the graphics surprisingly pixelated. Once I switched to the vertical display mode however, it was like night and day. The game doesn't fill up the screen (only the middle section), but the condensed action sharpens the graphics and gives you a much better perspective.
Be sure to pay attention to the "how to play" screen to learn how the chains work. When you miss a chain a word bubble next to your ship says "DOH!" like Homer Simpson. Racking up a high score is fun, especially since it saves your initials along with best scores. What Neo XYX is lacking is imagination. Your enemies are cookie-cutter and the stages are nothing to write home. Heck, in the first two it looks like you're flying over green cesspools!
The visuals improve with the shimmering water of stage three, but the general lack of eye candy is disappointing. Using continues lets you progress deep into the game, but it won't let you to rank in. The intro and game over screens feature some neat sci-fi art, but the music is so-so. I seem to have a lot of complaints about Neo XYX, but I can't stop playing it so I guess it can't be all that bad. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
For those new to the series, Nightmare Creatures is part exploration and a whole lot of fighting. You wander around dilapidated old buildings and dark streets, picking up objects and power-ups between battles with monsters. Like the first game, the atmosphere is extremely dark and foreboding, and the Dreamcast's graphic power makes the locations look even more eerie. The buildings are nicely detailed, and each room has its own distinctive look.
Bloodcurdling sound effects like crashing thunder, rain, creaking doors, and rattling chains add to the experience. The cover of the game boasts music by Rob Zombie, but thankfully that's limited to the title screen. The in-game music is sparse but effectively bone-chilling. Exploring the linear levels is fun, but the fighting system is weak. It lacks technique and gets pretty repetitive.
Most of the combat is of the button-mashing variety, and you are forced to perform fatalities whether you want to or not. The rumble pack is supported, but it tends to be either off or running at full rattle. It got so annoying I turned it off. There's another problem that I've also encountered in other games: When given the choice of Continue or Quit, you can't tell which color is the "select" color. Despite its flaws, Nightmare Creatures still delivers its share of creepy arcade action. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of IGN.com