Unless you happen to be a particularly tall person, basketball can be an extremely difficult game to master. Many a short person has dreamed of experiencing a good old slam or dunk, but alas the curse of those out-of-reach baskets has always won through... at least until now, because a remedy has arrived in the form of All American Basketball. The game for short people.
All American Basketball gives you the chance to play against the computer or a human opponent, or even to compete against seven state teams in a number of tournament playoffs. Options are also available which allow you change your team colours or even vary the length of playing time.
So, with options tweaked to your bidding, it's time to take to the court. Control of the ball is automatic when dribbling. However, tackling, passing and shooting are all be controlled via the joystick fire button. When not in possession of the ball, pressing fire gives you control over the player nearest the ball. The pace of the game really is quite fast and when playing against the computer, fairly challenging too.
There are three difficulty settings and although it doesn't take long to master the 'Amateur' setting, the 'intelligent' opponents on harder settings most certainly provides a challenge it's in two player mode that the game really comes into it's own.
Sports games of this type are always far more enjoyable with two players and All American Basketball is no exception. Although the controls are extremely basic, there is still a degree of skill and technique that can be acquired and it's this edge that makes the game more interesting in two player mode.
Graphic simplicity is the order of the day and the screen is never confusing to look at, though the lack of personal characteristics on the players does make it rather bland looking.
However, if, whilst looking at the screenshots you've been feeling a strange sense of deja vu, perhaps we can clear things up for you. All American Basketball appears in fact to be a rehash of Zeppelin's previous sports outing, 5-Aside Football.
Using the same sprites and basic idea with a new backdrop and baskets instead of goals, Zeppelin have managed to remarket their somewhat naff footie sim as a rather smarter basketball game. They've actually managed to polish up the game in the process. All American Basketball is almost devoid of any slow down, a big problem with five a side, even when the screen is packed with sprites. The controls also function more smoothly and the gameplay seems far more challenging.
Unfortunately though, All American Basketball is still a little too simple for its own good. With the exception of free throws and the scoring rules (1pt for a free throw, 2 pts for a score within the net zone, 3 pts for outside net zone) there are no basketball rules incorporated into the game, like backcourt violation etc. Perhaps that's why the game was so easy to translate from a football game.
As it stands, All American Basketball is nothing more than a replacement for 5-Aside Football. Still, it's not too bad for the price, in comparison.
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Tom Guise
ALAN: This game should have come with a government stress health warning: 'Not for persons of a nervous disposition who have already thrown Five A Side Football out the window'. It's a bit better than the latter, but I still would have liked to see real basketball... Not the sort of thing I used to play as a kid when I didn't know the rules.
An OK basketball sim in one player mode it soon becomes a right yawn but the two player option makes it worth consideration. If you've already got Five A Side Football though and think is a load of old cobblers then don't try this one.
Not very tall are they?
A fine choice of top USA teams.
Hey, hupia. It's a free throw.