I would like to know just what is wrong with Konami these days. I remember how it used to be about ten years ago, when their name was synonymous with quality. After all, who can forget their innovative NES series such as Contra, Castlevania, and Gradius. This tradition of greatness went on during the era of SNES and Genesis, with 16-bit releases of their classic series.
That, like many other legacies, are destined to change.
When Konami started creating games for the PlayStation, they suddenly obtained this new desire to make nothing but sports games. Sure there were some good games such as Track & Field, but most of them were pitiful. It seemed like Konami would take a nosedive.
The next step was designing games for the Nintendo 64. Once again, they continued their undying passion for sports games, and started off well, with the exceptional International Superstar Soccer 64. But like clockwork, their next turkey, Nagano Winter Olympics 98, was released. The latest sports game for Konami to be released was the latest version of their once mighty NBA In the Zone series.
However, unlike previous incarnations, this game, making its first appearance on the Nintendo 64, just doesn’t have the style that last year’s effort did.
The first thing that will be noticed is the sub-par graphics. ITZ set the standard for graphics in a basketball game when it was first released for the PlayStation, but times have greatly changed. Newer basketball games such as EA Sports’ NBA Live 98 one-uped the graphics engine, and In The Zone just wasn’t able to follow through. In fact, compared to the PlayStation versions, this game looks like it was done on the Super NES.
Gameplay isn’t really much either. It’s just basic basketball controls, but they feel slow and sluggish. Sound isn’t really much to talk about either. An announcer only comes on when a shot is made, saying who made the shot. Nowhere near the full play-by-play of NBA Live or even the running commentary of ISS64.
Konami still has a long way to go on the N64. They have one success and two dogs. Hopefully their next release, Mystical Ninja 64, will even the count. As for N64 basketball fans, they’re gonna have to wait for Z-Axis’ new basketball game or Nintendo’s own NBA game to come out.
This one just doesn’t cut it.