Hands-onStreet Hoops

We have new screens and impressions of Activision's street hoops game for the Xbox and PS2.

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Activision stopped by today with builds of Street Hoops for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. While the builds were still early--pre-alpha--we were able to check out both versions of the game and get a feel for how they're coming together. Developed by Black Ops Entertainment, the game is aiming to capture the feel of street hoops games and does away with both referees and fouls to focus on action. You'll find three modes of play to choose from in the game: world tournament, king of the court, and pickup games that you can play full or half-court. World tournament and king of the court will feature a traditional career-type mode of play that will have you competing against a variety of opponents. The main difference between the two modes is that world tournament will have you traveling to different courts, while king of the court will have you staying on one court while opponents stop by and challenge you. The third game mode, which includes full-court and half-court pickup games, will offer traditional "exhibition"-type games for quick play. You'll be able to choose from nine teams initially or use your own custom player. In addition, you'll be able to unlock some familiar street hoops players such as AO, The Main Event, Half-Man Half-Amazing, Headache, and Hot Sauce, as well as Speedy Williams, Booger Smith, and The Future, each with his own signature moves. You'll also find a solid array of real-world locations including Los Angeles' Venice Beach Courts, Oakland's Mosswood Playground, Philadelphia's Lombard Court, Chicago's Jackson Park, New York City's Rucker Park, Atlanta's Run n' Shoot, New Orleans' Shakespeare Park, and New York City's West 4th Street Court, aka "The Cage."

The game's character-customization options let you tweak your players quite a bit, provided you've earned enough cash in the world tournament or king of the court modes. A tattoo parlor will let you tattoo your character, a barber shop will let you customize your player's hairstyle, and a jewelry shop will let you select from the finest gold chains and other finery that money can buy. If you find you're not making enough cash from playing ball, you'll also be able to visit a bookie and bet on your games to supplement your income.

Both versions of the game looked very close to each other graphically. The frame rate was already high and stable on both systems. The PlayStation build appeared to be slightly more together than the Xbox version, but not by much. Control worked well--you'll be able to shoot, pass, perform a crossover, and do a spin move, as well as dunk. The various special moves will be triggered via a modifier button that will allow the face buttons on the PS2 or the four main buttons on the Xbox pad to perform a move. You'll find a total of eight special moves--four that can be triggered when your player's standing and four that can be triggered when your player's running across the court. The moves will prevent your player from being knocked over during a game and will potentially give you the upper hand against a rival player. The main difference between the two versions of the game is the multiplayer options. The PlayStation 2 will support up to eight players via two multitaps, while the Xbox version will support four players.

Look for more on the game in the near future. Street Hoops is slated for release this summer on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

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