When Dr. Dre wrote the song "Been There, Done That" he had probably just finished a game of NBA Hang Time. Taking the NBA Jam concept yet another step, Hang Time is a two-on-two basketball extravaganza complete with real NBA players, fast action, and mind-shattering dunks. But unless you've been shooting digital hoops in a cave for the past few years, you've seen it all before.
When the first NBA Jam was released, nothing quite was quite like it. It had hidden characters, secret codes for different play modes, and - best of all - really exciting play. Get four people around an NBA Jam machine and they'll be talking trash better than their onscreen counterparts. Then NBA Jam Tournament Edition was released, with a few different hidden players, more NBA players, and a couple more codes. It was great for the slim minority who hadn't seen the first Jam. But the rest of us, save for a few die-hard Jammers, were already tired of the formula. Now we have NBA Hang Time. This game features much better graphics than the original Jam games, a faster pace, and the same four-player fun. It still includes the turbo button for faster running; and scoring three times in a row still sets the "hot" player on fire, making him nearly unstoppable. It's still the same game under the flashy graphics and sound. And now it's coming home. Yay.
The main addition this time around is the create-a-player feature, which allows players to enter a custom name and ID number to access their character. Players can choose among several different heads for their character, including normal-looking guys, werewolves, and other strange creatures. Custom characters can win trivia points at the end of every game, which can be used to beef up their attributes with enhanced speed, dunking ability, and more. The game also has the now-standard hidden players, including design team members Mark Turmell, Sheridan Oursler, Sal Divita, John Root, and friends.
Except for these minor changes, this game is old hat. However, if you're one of the few people still hopelessly addicted to NBA Jam, then Hang Time could be the wisest purchase you'll make this year.