Monday, July 25, 2011

Game of the week: Basketbrawl for Atari 7800

More than a decade before hit video games like NBA Street were on the market, there was a little-known game called Basketbrawl for the Atari 7800 home gaming system.

Basketbrawl was released in 1990 for the 7800, then later in 1992 for the Atari Lynx system.

It's a shame this game was not better known, because it had a lot to offer.

First up, Basketbrawl has solid graphics for its time. The Atari 7800 home video game system, which was released in 1986, was really pushed to its graphical limits on this game. The graphics here are just as good as those of any Nintendo NES game of the same period. Colors are bright, action is not choppy, and the action on the screen lines up well with the controls.

Then there's the actual gameplay. This is where Basketbrawl truly shines.

Atari 7800 SystemAt the beginning of the game, the player gets to pick from one of six basketball players to control for the onscreen game. Each of the basketball "brawlers" has various strengths and weaknesses, and it can be fun trying out each one.

Then the games' player can choose between playing one-on-one basketball or a two-on-two game. You can play against the computer or go up against a friend.

An extra fun bonus are the power-ups in the game. These can give the player's character more punching power or extra speed.

Did I say "punching power?" Yes, I did. Why do you need punching power? Because while you can try to play Basketbrawl as a straight-up, regular basketball video game, it's really more than that. It's also a fighting game.

Yes, your character can get slugged in the middle of going up for a shot. But the fun thing is that your character can slug right back, even go for cheap shots.

So, if a basketball battle on a neighborhood court sounds like a blast of time to you, then you should probably check out this game for the Atari 7800 home gaming system. And don't forget that those classic Atari 2600 games can also be played on the 7800.

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