Street Hoops fails to grasp the raw intensity of a basketball street game or offer something that comes close to a challenge.
The game’s weakness lies in the controls that — while easy to learn — can seem so irritating clunky when trying to defend yourself. Blocking shots, for instance, is easy but on occasion, gamers might experience a momentary delay after having pressed the button. The result is getting dunked on, of course.
There is also gambling — which I am sure will raise eyebrows from concerned parents thinking their child will pick up the habit — and a number of ways to alter your player’s appearance in the many stores available such as the local FootAction store or even the Barbershop. Of course, you have to win games to win money or else you couldn’t be able to buy that gold chain to go with your Snoop Dog t-shirt.
The graphics are also one of the game’s many weaknesses and sadly they are sometimes too hard to ignore. It’s not so much as the courts and their surroundings — the backgrounds are done rather nicely with awe-struck spectators watching in the wings and passing traffic across the street.
It’s the players that don’t look quite right and that is shameful considering that many of the players are well-known street players like AO and Hot Sauce. They move with such realistic grace that gamers will be amazed and their outfits look great since they come from actual clothing designers, but their expressions never change and you can’t help but be disappointed by the jagged edges found throughout their bodies.
The game makes full use of Dolby Surround and those fortunate gamers that have hooked up their consoles to a decent sound receiver will be amazed by the quality of the sound all around. An interesting hip-hop soundtrack plays throughout the game and you can change it at any point in the game. It features such artists as Cypress Hill or Master P.
And the atmosphere overwhelms the senses with chattering from spectators, squeaking sneakers and the unflattering trash talk. You can hear everything from vehicles driving past and honking their horns to the sounds of some really impressed ladies in attendance. And there is an announcer, but thankfully he keeps his clichéd comments towards the end.
The problem with Street Hoops is that there is no real challenge no matter what difficulty setting you choose (Scrub, Balla or G.O.A.T.). The fault is in the opponent AI that relies heavily on attempting a slam-dunk every time they are in possession of the ball. All a player really has to do is have defender lounge by the basket until said opponent goes in for a slam-dunk and block the shot. And they almost always get the ball knocked out of their hands.
For some reason, the one-on-one game proves to present a much broader challenge that does a three-on-three half quart game. In fact, playing a one-on-one game will give you an indication that this game could have been something completely better if they kept the game with this type of intensity.
Being able to play in street courts all over the world is a rather appealing idea and this game takes you all over the United States from the streets of New York to French Lick, Indiana. There’s a create-a-player option too but it is really not worth mentioning since it lacks a better assortment of details to add to your created player.
Adding gambling to the mix does spice things up a little and gives the gamer the proper amount of motivation to win since you can bet a large amount… and once a bet is placed you can’t take it back. You can also go to the store and purchase new gear with your winnings or get a tattoo or a new haircut or jewelry. You’ll be spending a long time deciding which jersey goes with your new gold chain.
Thanks to the Multitap — really a great PS2 accessory to own if you love playing in groups — up to eight players can team up in pairs of four and play any of the five playing modes… at the same time! It is interesting to see all your friends assume the roll of each basketball player and be on the screen at the same time. Really, this is the game’s strongest feature.
Street Hoops fails to grasp the raw intensity of a basketball street game or offer something that comes close to a challenge. Fans of basketball will be surely disappointed with this offering and that’s too bad, really, considering there are enough playing modes to choose from. I suggest skipping out on this one and investing it in the much better NBA Street.