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Street Hoops

Score: 85%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Activision
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Sports

Graphics & Sound:

In the still fairly new world of the Xbox, in-game graphics are still evolving, but mostly consist of the best on the market (compared to other next-gen consoles). With that said, you'd think that Street Hoops, a simple basketball game, would probably rank right up there with the best of the best. Well, they don't. Certainly the player models and courts do look nice. Unfortunately, Activision failed to take the power of the Xbox to the extreme. What you are left with is a seemingly blurry game with no extra flash in the graphics department. This is somewhat disappointing, considering there really isn't anything extra on the sidelines that would slow the game down if the players were pushing more polygons.

The sound in Street Hoops, like nearly every Xbox game, includes real-time Dolby Digital support. Hook this bad boy up to a capable receiver, and you'll get your share of all of the music beat that you can handle, including tracks from Ludacris, DMX, and Xzibit. This doesn't come without its problems, however. While playing the game, this music (on its default setting) will drown out the game commentary that's slowly seeping through your speakers. Is this a bad thing? Normally, yes. In the case of Street Hoops, probably not. The reason is that the commentary is utter crap. The announcer behind the voice repeats the same phrases over and over again, until you know what he's about to say before the words cross his lips. Fortunately for Street Hoops, basketball was never intended to be flashy (read: when it was invented... not by today's standards!), but instead it was meant to be all about the game(play).


If you were to take a game like NBA Live, strip down the players' license, and move the game to the streets, what you'd be left with would be Street Hoops. And although there are some pretty crazy dunks and whacked out plays, Street Hoops brings the game back to its original elements, and pits a variety of players against each other. Just like most of the pick-up games that happen across the world, the contests in Street Hoops revolve mostly around offense, seeing who can put up higher numbers.

Sure, every once in a while you will be able to pull of a sweet defensive stop, but more often than not, failing to score at the offensive end of the court is due to the lack of patience. Overall, Street Hoops is very easy to get into, and it is equally as easy to score. With a little patience, you will be able to pull of some stellar jams and heart-breaking fade-aways.

Beyond the offensive-minded street ball, what separates Street Hoops from other basketball titles is its off the court antics. You see, before you step onto the court, you have many options put in front of you. If you want to buy a tattoo, buy one. A new uniform for your team? No problem. With each game that you win, you earn a small amount of cash. But the real key to making a living playing Street Hoops is making a stop at the betting room before each game, giving you the chance to potentially double your money.

The game modes included in Street Hoops are the Quick Start (exhibition), World Tournament, Lord of the Court, and either a Full- or Half-Court Pick-Up game. Full-Court allows for 3-on-3, 4-on-4, or 5-on-5 play, while Half-Court allows for 3-on-3, 2-on-2, or 1-on-1. This is a great feature that gives Street Hoops the flexibility of allowing users to jump into any style game they choose! In World Tournament, you'll take your team from city to city, taking on the best of the best and trying to rule the court. It is also here where you will unlock new courts and players. Finally, the Lord of the Court mode is a series of contests where you are always the home team, defending your court (and your pride) against those who challenge you.


Street Hoops is a very interesting game, to say the least. Although jumping in to the game initially is very easy and should be so for just about anybody, you will soon learn that as you progress through the game's modes, the computer players quickly up the ante. The key to success on the streets is to use your money wisely by increasing the stats of your create-a-players, etc., and not to overshoot your betting and get stuck with nothing in your pocketbook.

Game Mechanics:

Street Hoops combines easy-to-use controls with smooth gameplay. In fact, the wise developers at Activision incorporated a great (optional) passing scheme using the right analog stick. If you choose to use the standard button to pass, then you'll have to move your current player (with the ball) in the direction of the pass. But if you choose to use the right analog stick, you can perform moves allowing you to run in one direction while throwing to a teammate in the opposite direction.

Using the great controls of the game helps with the overall scheme of things too. With a few quick button presses, you can juke your opponent and drive to the hoop for the easy 360 dunk. Just don't overuse these wacky, over-the-top moves, or they may not work as well. If you can look past the lack of the NBA license and the not-so-stellar graphics, Street Hoops is a well-rounded game with a lot of gameplay options. Definitely check this one out at your local rental store and see if you like enough to buy.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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