NBA in the Zone
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NBA in the Zone (also known in Japan as NBA Power Dunkers and in Australia & Europe as NBA Pro) is a series of basketball video games released by Konami for the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 video game consoles. Konami followed up the In The Zone series with the release of NBA Starting Five for the Xbox and PlayStation 2.
The series started out with two releases on the PlayStation. After the release of NBA In The Zone 2 in 1996, the series started adopting a yearly naming scheme. The series also started to use NBA players to endorse the games and appear on the series' box art. Konami released three more games in this format for both Nintendo 64 and PlayStation, NBA In The Zone '98, NBA In The Zone '99 and NBA In The Zone 2000. NBA In The Zone '98 and NBA In The Zone '99 featured Glen Rice on the cover, while the 2000 game featured Marcus Camby.
NBA In The Zone 2 featured NBA rosters from the 1996-1997 NBA season and support for up to eight players. It also featured the National Anthem (American and Canadian).
NBA In The Zone '98 (also known as NBA Pro 98 in Australia and Europe) featured NBA rosters from the 1997-1998 NBA season. As in previous In The Zone games, players such as Michael Jordan are not in the game and likenesses with generic names take their places. The game retains the "Create a Player" and season/playoffs features of NBA In The Zone 2.
NBA In The Zone 2000 was released in February 2000. The game features 29 NBA teams and more than 300 NBA players, animated using motion captured animation. Ray Clay, at the time the public address announcer for the Chicago Bulls does voice commentary. Along with the standard gameplay modes like Exhibition, Season, and Playoffs, a Slam Dunk Contest and Three-point Shootout are also included.
Johnny Ballgame of GamePro gave the original game a mixed review, criticizing the difficult controls when playing defense, the crowd which makes no noise except during replays and "looks like a cardboard cutout", and the inappropriately mellow music, but praising the variety of moves, fun graphical effects, and high level of detail on the players. Noting that the game is more "in the tradition of NBA Jam" than a realistic basketball sim, he deemed it worth buying as a holdover until more solidly outstanding basketball games arrive on the PlayStation. Next Generation's brief review stated, "Although it looks good, this is a basketball game for fans who just like to watch highlight reels: non-existent defense and muddy controls mar a promising effort." They scored it two out of five stars.
Johnny Ballgame had a lukewarm response to NBA in the Zone 2 as well, praising the player animations but complaining that only standard basketball game features are included and the gameplay is limited to little more than dunking and shooting three-pointers. He concluded that "its lack of depth dooms it to the sidelines with the rest of the middle-of-the-pack basketball games." Next Generation, in contrast, considered it a dramatic improvement over the original game. They judged it to have greatly expanded offensive and defensive possibilities and "the most realistic looking NBA teams in videogame history." Concluding that "with its intuitive control, sharp graphics, and deep gameplay, it's the best basketball game on the planet", they scored it a perfect 5 stars. Scoring the game a 7.1 out of 10, GameSpot's John Broady agreed with Next Generation that "The game sets a new standard of visual excellence for sports games on any console system. The realistic players practically jump off the screen, the play animation couldn't be smoother, and the camera angles provide several great views of the action." However, he also stated that the pace of the gameplay is so leisurely, it completely lacks the excitement of real basketball, though he added that this would also make it a good game for beginners at basketball games, since it gives them more opportunity to learn the mechanics. The two sports reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly contradicted Broady on both points, saying that the graphics and frame rate are mediocre, but that this allows the game to play much more quickly than most basketball games. They gave it an 8.5 out of 10.
- "In the Zone 2". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 88. Ziff Davis. November 1996. p. 268.
- "NBA in the Zone". GamePro. No. 90. IDG. March 1996. p. 77.
- "Every PlayStation Game Played, Reviewed, and Rated". Next Generation. No. 25. Imagine Media. January 1997. p. 59.
- "NBA in the Zone 2". GamePro. No. 101. IDG. February 1997. p. 92.
- "Slamming the Competition". Next Generation. No. 26. Imagine Media. February 1997. p. 126.
- Broady, John (January 3, 1997). "NBA in the Zone 2 Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
- "Team EGM Box Scores: In the Zone 2". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 90. Ziff Davis. January 1997. p. 222.
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