Genre: Sports Developer: Sega Enterprises Publisher: Sega Enterprises Players: 1-2 Released: 1990
It’s 1990. We’re talking hoops here, and when we are talking coaches, one of the biggest on the NBA block was Pat Riley. Pat Riley lead the L.A. Lakers through the 1980s, what some have called “the rebirth of the NBA,” against their bitter rivals the Boston Celtics and my beloved Detroit Pistons. You hear the name Pat Riley, you think of him walking up and down the court with his hands on his hips shouting out something at Magic Johnson, and you just know that the Lakers are the class of the 1980’s NBA. So, naturally, someone had to throw a load of money at him to just put his name on a game, right? Genesis did. Sigh. And now, almost twenty years later, some college guy is going to have to subject himself to it.
All of a sudden, your sitting there all irked at two o’clock a.m. and your plugging through this game and a voice shouts out at you through the mist. “Come on, man. Get your head in the game! Genesis Does! Pop in Pat Riley Basketball and run away with these extreme 16-bit graphics!” And then, you know there is some sort of sweet montage of game play, with really loud metal and big graphics that say something that is rarely true. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda, this game rocks! Pick it up today!
If there were any way possible for this game to suck much worse, please contact me immediately, because this is an insult to gamers and basketball players everywhere. Wait, what’s this Pro Quarterback game? I’ll have to investigate. Anyway, Pat Riley Basketball was released as a free game (if you bought the Genesis) as part of the “Genesis Does” series, Pat Riley is worse than Tommy Lasorda Baseball, and we all just laugh at that game because of it’s primitive controls, uninspired graphics, blah blah blah. I wouldn’t go so far to say that these games controls are primitive, its just that they don’t make any sense at all.
In the history of games that have had controllers with buttons lettered A,B,C,X,Y, etc. there has been one button that obviously has been used to cancel things, or go back, or to go to a menu screen, etc. Clearly, B is said button and rarely is it used as the main button (the only one I can think of is Sonic, where every button is the same). Pat Riley Basketball uses B as jump. Not shoot, not pass, not even to change players. What I take the most offense with is that the game uses B to jump. So if you want to shoot the ball, you have to press B again to shoot it.
When someone tells you that, or you read it in the manual, its not so bad. it’s MISERABLE when your in the game. Numerous times you’ll get called for traveling, or your shot has no chance, or you didn’t mean to shoot it and jump and before you do something with it. Also, its like if you are anywhere near the basket in the key, the game goes to a “close-up dunk” system where you have to line it up and such, which isn’t really a big deal, but when they show the player at least two feet over the basket just chucking it in, the player looks like he jumps at least 12 feet in the air (a NBA basket is 10 ft. tall)! And then he really doesn’t dunk it at all, he just throws it in the hoop! I guarantee you anyone who dunks like the players do in this game deserve to win the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Challenge, because no human should be able to jump that high. Granted, there are few different kinds of dunk screens and a three point shot screen too.
However, what sucks about B being jump and then B being shoot again is nearly made up with the graphics from this game which, for the time, are pretty good, especially the close up dunk and three point shot graphics. The court view graphics are pretty decent too, despite the miserably shoddy presentation. Yeah, that’s right, the players dribble the ball at least twice as fast as they run up and down the court, adding yet another check to the list of things that aren’t at all realistic, along with the 12-foot high leaps. The shooting on the main view screen doesn’t seem to make sense either, as it just seems to take a straight line path to the basket and then doesn’t even really look like it goes in to the basket either. That’s just being lazy.
One more thing that isn’t real at all is the difficulty. Man, is this game tough. And it isn’t as much the insane AI as it is in that there is just an apparent lack of being able to defend your basket unless you are in the close up view, and even then the little control thing to get your guy to jump the right height at the right time is confusing. Yeah, I cant seem to figure out how to block on the main screen, and the computer mercilessly just drives up and down the lane and lays it in. There’s nothing like being down 43-15 after the first quarter, that’s for sure. And there’s nothing else like not even being able to bring the ball down the court without having to pass it around a bunch either, because that AI will take that ball away from you like Biff does from those kids in Back to the Future 2. And don’t think that you can do the same, because I have tried to run right though the AI player who had the ball, and I didn’t get it at all.
There are a multitude of problems about this game, and I have just begun to discuss them. Another thing that is wrong is the sound. Not the music though, because the music is actually pretty spot-on. It’s pretty safe to say that there is only about one sound that sounds right, and that sound is either the whistle sound or the sound of the ball going into the basket . The crowd actually sounds a little like the Wheel of Fortune wheel, frankly. Irony. Pat Riley’s crowd sounds like the Wheel of Fortune Genesis game’s wheel more than the Wheel of Fortune’s wheel itself. That game is actually more fun than this one too, believe it or not.
Pat Riley Basketball has some very skeletal options: regular game and tournament, single-player, two-player or demo. I don’t know why anyone would want to watch the demo, but you can if you want, I guess. Obviously this game didn’t include a license of any means, but there are so many things wrong with it that you won’t even notice. Still, for not having a license, the player’s ability stats are available to view so you know who to go to in the clutch. Oh wait, you hardly know who each player is (other than their color of their skin) anyway, so it’s useless. You can shift players around, but you can’t substitute from the bench during the game for some reason.
Listen, I know what your thinking. Yeah, I am beating the living crap out of Pat Riley, and it was realistically a launch title and launch titles are very rarely the best games on the system (See: Nintendo). But, this game is bad! It’s worse than bad! Just let this game sit on your shelf and collect dust until you forgot that you had it, and then when you find it again a while later, don’t play it. It is one of the only titles that I have paid $1.98 for, and felt like I paid too much. It’s also the only Genesis game where it makes me feel like l can’t be 100% convinced that Genesis does. Does that tell you how bad it is?
SCORE: 2 out of 10