Retro: VC Weekly #145

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe's guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo's download service. Written by Sam C Gittins.

If you're a fan of Basketball then this release may excite you somewhat, so by all means get dribbling but try not to drool. Anyway enough from me and on with the game!

Available for download this week we have...

  • Street Hoop

Points: 800
Publisher: D4 Enterprise
Developer: Data East
Released: 1994

There may have been a good few Basketball titles on both the Megadrive and the SNES but spare a thought for Neo-Geo owners as while they may have had access to some truly fantastic fighting games, an area which the software library was lacking in was Basketball games. Enter the subtly brilliant Street Hoop which manages to throw away the complex rules of the 'full' sport in favour of a more relaxed three-on-three playing style.

You don't need to have a great comprehension of how the game works, just a brief understanding of the basics; anything like fouling doesn't really come into it as you just move, pass and shoot. This wonderfully simple and streamlined approach to the sport makes for a very enjoyable take on what can be something that's slightly daunting to get into.

Now clearly a good deal of inspiration is taken from more traditional Basketball games but only really the parts that make the most sense; at the start you can choose from a variety of teams each with their own strengths and weaknesses, once you've chosen your favourite team you'll waste no time in getting to grips with the games controls. Simply put you can block, pass and shoot as these are the core mechanics that work well, in no-time you'll be shooting like a pro and eventually pulling off a Super Shot which is the main USP to the game that allows you to perform stunning slam-dunks - when your meter is full - with special effects ranging from fireballs to thunder, these are particularly impressive and really show off what the game can do.

From a visual standpoint the game is rather impressive too featuring many wonderful court-side details and some particularly astounding animations, not to mention a decent colour palette which really brings the game to life and sets it apart from the crowd of similar games on other systems. Musically it has a certain charm to it too featuring many Hip-Hop tracks that seem a little jarring at first but fit fantastically well with the setting and adds to the experience a lot.

Overall if you're looking for a decent Basketball game then you'll definitely find it here, while it might not be the best title in its genre it still holds up very well indeed and goes on to prove that the Neo-Geo wasn't just about Side-Scrolling Shmups and Beat-em-ups. Easy to pick up and hard not to be enthralled by at times, this is a rather unique title that's well worth investing in if you're a fan of the genre and even if you're not it's an ideal starting point for any budding Basketball game players, highly recommended.

Verdict : Basic but brilliant Basketball game thats got some 'balls'.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

Sam Gittins
[email protected]

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