Format reviewed: NES/Famicom
Submitted by: Steven Ronald Jackson
The NES was bombarded with sports games. The majority of which were slow, boring and highly disappointing, meaning it was much more fun to go out and play a game of football as opposed to playing it on the NES. But there are however notable exceptions where NES sports games are extremely fun to play, nearly as much as the sport they are based upon, one such game is Double Dribble.
Double Dribbleis a basketball arcade game which got ported to the NES back in 1988. The game is extremely simple; four teams, four time limits, three levels of difficulty. That's it in a nutshell, no season mode, no career mode, just you and a friend (or the computer) playing a game of good old fashioned basketball. The NES has never been one for extravagent modes or gaming options so it really what you see is what you get. But while Double Dribble may lack the amount of modes needed to make it 'modern', it does contain arguably the most realistic basketball game experience ever made.
The gameplay and controls are simple; you move with the D-Pad, A passes and steals the ball and B shoots the ball into the hoop and defends the ball going in your hoop. It is so simple it is fool proof. The amount of endless exciting matches you can have with just these simple controls is amazing, and it can be attributed to the brilliant game engine which just mimics the real-life game of basketball to a T. The same rules apply as a real basketball game and with 3 levels of difficulty it can make for a intense and very exciting game of basketball.
As I mentioned the game contains four teams; New York Eagles, Chicago Ox, Boston Frogs and the Los Angeles Breakers. While the roster of teams is restrictive, each team has different attributes which assists them when playing helping to create a deep and realistic experience. Some teams are better at defending, some teams are better at shooting from long range, some teams are close shots, it really helps mix it up in a fun way which makes up for the game not having a big roster.
The game is also notable for it's cutscenes which appear when a player proceeds to shoot at the hoop from a close range leading to either a slam dunk or a miss, as well as voice acting which appears when the game is turned on and when a player violates various rules within a match. Graphically Double Dribble looks brilliant saying that it was converted from an arcade game, each team have different coloured attires and the court is a nice size; not too big, not too small.
To conclude, Double Dribble is one of the NES premier sports games, as well as one of the best basketball games ever made. With addictive and deep gameplay great graphics and sound, as well as great realism, Double Dribble needs to be in everyones NES collection or downloaded as game has also been released for the Wii Virtual Console and is 500 Wii Points, meaning everyone can experience this great game first-hand.