NBA Street Preview

EA shows off the GameCube version of Street.

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EA stopped and gave us a look at the GameCube version of NBA Street. A port of the PlayStation 2 game released earlier this year, the game features quite a few improvements on the PS2 version. In development since August of this year by the same tag team as the PS2 game, NuFX and EA Canada, the game is looking very good. Polished graphics, animation tweaks, and a refined control scheme are on hand to give the GameCube version a better overall feel than its predecessor.

Shooting hoops on the GameCube.
Shooting hoops on the GameCube.

If you've played Street on the PS2, you'll be right at home with what's available in the GameCube version. All the modes are there: city circuit, hold the court, create a player, and street school. This time out, you'll find a few GameCube-specific tweaks to the overall presentation and the street school mode At the end of a game, you'll now see a tally screen that will add up your trick points, providing you with official bragging rights if you schooled a friend. You'll also be awarded a shiny virtual ring if you're good enough. Street school has now been tweaked to be a bit more basic and accessible to non-sports playing gamers, and it seems to offer a better tutorial experience. As you navigate through the modes, especially the create-a-player mode, you'll notice a nice perk in the form of the much-improved loading times in the game. Thanks to a combination of the GameCube hardware and the team trying a few new tricks, loading in Street on the GameCube is nice and quick, which is always a good thing.

The control actually works out pretty well, in spite of the change in button number and placement in the move from the PS2 controller to the GameCube controller.. You'll move your player with the analog stick, pass with the A button, and shoot/dunk with the B button. The shoulder buttons will trigger your "boost," à la SSX, which is built up by performing tricks. Pulling off tricks in the game, after a bit of adjustment, is fine with the GC controller. You'll use the shoulder buttons in conjunction with the Z, X, and Y buttons to pull off tricks. Although the control set up works well, you do lose a bit of the advanced control options.

Here it comes.
Here it comes.

Graphically, the game looks incredibly slick. A new graphics renderer developed for the GameCube version of the game gives it a slight graphical edge over the PS2 version. Featuring a solid 60 frames per second frame rate, the action is rock-solid. The high frame rate is complemented by improved transitional animations that just make things look that much smoother. Character-model and court detail is high thanks to impressive texture detail. The texture work is especially noticeable in the game's new court. To replace the Vancouver court, the team has added a new East Coast court, Washington DC, which features nicely detailed graffiti in the background.

So far, NBA Street is looking sweet. It's nice that it's offering some tweaks and improvements to the PS2 version, rather than just being a straight port. We'll have more on the game as it gets closer to its Q1 2002 release on the GameCube.

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