Nintendo’s own NBA series, Courtside, developed by Left Field studios, was first spotted on Nintendo 64. Its success, which was guaranteed Stateside, soon followed on European shores. With the general games playing population screaming for more, Nintendo has released a 2002 version of Courtside for GameCube.
Courtside gamers familiar with the previous Nintendo-only basketball game can expect the usual onslaught of updated statistics. But the improved visuals are particularly noticeable. Gone are the days of the giant, once-amazing blurry textures seen on Nintendo 64. Courtside 2002 is much more detailed. Using the create-a-player option, gamers can even alter dozens of physical parameters on new players, right down to nose length and body hair. It’s a futile exercise, but fun nonetheless, and the improved animation techniques and motion capture make the general feel of the game more authentic, more believable.
Veteran NBA gamers will become accustomed to the controls almost immediately, but even for those new to the genre, the game is easy to grasp. In the beginning, it’s a simple game of pass, shoot, block and steal. You can master the more technical manoeuvres later on if you like, but for a quick party game, the GameCube pad is, as usual, perfect.
Courtside 2002 has a variety of playing modes such as Championship and Quick Game, and a comprehensive list of teams and statistics. It’s more rewarding to play as a multi-player game, but above all, NBA Courtside 2002 is extremely playable, even if your'e on your own.