90s Video Games, Episode 124
NBA in the Zone [PS1] – All Star Game
NBA In The Zone is an early 3D NBA basketball game developed and published by Konami for the PlayStation. It is also the first game in the NBA in the Zone series. The cover features a shot of the Western Conference Finals from the 1995 NBA Playoffs between the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs.
On the downside, and even though, NBA In The Zone features an NBA license – it only uses five players per team. So, there is no substitute option in this game. And the game plays through only the playoffs and exhibitions, so no season mode either. The game also has no trade, re-order team or create player options. Some of the critics criticized the cardboard cutout crowd, and the difficult controls when playing defense (which is not true imo).
However! How the game plays and looks, was out of this universe back in a day. Critics were praising the variety of moves, fun graphical effects, and high level of detail on the players. And the gameplay reminds more of NBA Jam than a realistic basketball sim, which is a lot of fun. That’s how you should take it – not too seriously. And trust me, it’s one of the best (at least in terms of fun) basketball games from the 1995.
IMO, the background music is rather good (unlike what critics said). But it’s about the taste.
In December 1995, Video Games & Computer Entertainment gave the game score 100/100 and said – “Forget Run ‘n’ Gun, push aside NBA Live ’96 and throw out NBA Jam, NBA In the Zone is all you need to know”. However, I can not agree with this opinion completely, I would put it a par with these other mentioned classics.
Enjoy the video!