On the Nintendo 64 there haven't been a whole lot of choices for buyers when it comes to finding a traditional five-on-five basketball game. Maybe that's why Konami thought it could get away with making a game that is completely without merit.
Apparently competition is healthy. On the PlayStation you have three basketball games that are in fierce competition to be crowned "king of basketball games" every year. One of the games even happens to have been made by the very same company that made this game. Konami's title on the PlayStation, NBA In the Zone '98, has a bunch of bells and whistles, like on-the-fly play calling and in-depth statistical tracking, not to mention decent graphics and sound. So why doesn't the Nintendo 64 version have all of these bells and whistles? Probably so Konami will have something to add in next year's version....
NBA In the Zone has all of the NBA teams, featuring 12-man rosters that have most of the real NBA players. Some of the players have signature moves and dunks. You can choose to play an exhibition game either against the computer or up to four friends. In season mode you can play a full 82-game season or customize for a much shorter season. One option the Nintendo 64 version has over the PlayStation version is the ability to play a season with multiple people controlling multiple teams all in the same season.
Graphically, the game looks very blurry. Although the animations of the 3D players performing their dunks and various other moves look fairly smooth, the court and those smooth-moving characters look just plain bad. Not to mention that for some strange reason out of all of the camera angles in the Nintendo 64 version, the one that is the default for the PlayStation version is missing. Why is this important? Because it's also the best angle!
The control is a bit sluggish with the analog controller. It feels awkward to try to make a quick cut with the analog stick. As for the gameplay, you can look forward to one of the most flawless AI performances in any basketball video game I've seen in a while. The computer simply doesn't make a whole lot of mistakes. Try to steal the ball, you get nothing! And since the computer hardly misses a shot, you can forget about rebounding.
NBA In The Zone isn't much of a basketball game by any standards. If you're a Nintendo 64 owner just dying to get a basketball game, I highly recommend renting NBA In the Zone before buying it to make sure it will work out for you. Don't forget, NBA Courtside for the Nintendo 64 isn't too far away.