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Olympic Basketball: Dream Team

The Dream Team concept: a basketball game where you pit the 1996 USA Men’s Olympic Basketball Team against other countries. All of America’s top basketball stars are in the game: Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Scottie Pippen, …etc. On paper this game sounds like a sure winner. Anvil Incorporated and U.S. Gold Sports through Eidos Interactive were to bring this concept to the PlayStation in time for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. An important history lesson to note: Team USA went undefeated during the 1996 Olympics as no other country had as much talent as USA’s top NBA Basketball stars.

U.S. Gold Sports, a subsidiary of Eidos Interactive, were preparing to release Dream Team Basketball , Atlanta Summer Games, and Olympic Soccer in time for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. Although the latter two were officially released, Dream Team Basketball didn’t manage to make it to retail. The version reviewed by The PlayStation Museum is about 70% complete. There is no word as to if Dream Team was ever 100% completed.

Upon boot up, the user is greeted with a nice full motion video that sets the mood for the game. The options in the game are plentiful as you can choose your team, get bios stats on Team USA players, or set type of rules and the usual options. For a first generation game, the graphics are exceptional: from the quality of the arena to the fans in the stands. The animation and gameplay is smooth and fluid. The camera view is adjustable from sideline view, manual control, or action view (which resembles play from behind as found in Slam N Jam).

Surprisingly where this game falters is in the concept. If you play as Team USA, the game is a breeze. You could almost run circles around any other team. If you want a challenge, play as South Korea who went win-less in the 1996 Summer Games. Difficulty can be set and does help curb the talent issues.

Dream Team is a solid basketball game with top notch graphics and animation for 1996. Overall, this game could have succeeded if it were released. AI issues may have to be addressed, but then the game would resemble less like reality. There’s no argument that we didn’t have fun with this game and will most likely play it often. Basketball enthusiasts would definitely like this game, but novices will find it attractive due to the difficulty level.

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