Taking a rest from their usual style, 1940s serial-
Following in the same veins as their previous sports release, TV Sports Football, the game places you as a player or manager (or even both) in an American basketball league. You can either opt to play as an established US league team complete with its own set of players, or perhaps design your own team from scratch.
Those not wishing to take up any exercise - be it computerised or otherwise - can just watch their team carry out the set tactics and shuffle the figures around depending on the results.
If you feel left out of the action you can always jump in and start controlling the team directly, if, on the other hand, you feel like putting yourself in the shoes of a single player and following him through his career then you can select the 'role playing' section.
The pattern of play in the league follows very closely the pattern of the actual American basketball league, the top teams from each division qualifying for the play-offs, which may even lead to playing in the World Series - but only if you're good enough!
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
As you would expect, Cinemaware have done the business in the presentation department. The intro screens are humourous, the animation is superb and the music is atmospheric. All the usual touches such as the wacky promoters and charismatic TV presenter have been included, as well as extra features like cleaner sweeping up pieces of broken backboard in the distance. The overall feel is very much in the American TV mould - even the programming credits read like the end credits of a TV show!
The wealth of options initially presented to the player makes it seem as though there is a good deal to keep you playing, but unless you have a large supply of friends to play against in the league or you prefer watching the computer plays the games for you then you'll soon wander off find something else to lavish your attention on.
The whole thing is rather like watching a cartoon of a game of basketball rather than actively taking part - the computer does far too much, which prevents the player from getting seriously involved. Only dedicated 'manager' fans will find the game enthralling enough to capture their attention for more than a few hours.
The dividing line between an accurate simulation and a playable action game is often considered a narrow one. Unfortunately, Cinemaware's latest offering falls the wrong side of the line. TV Sports Basketball is packed with information to make it one of the most stunningly accurate sports simulations ever, but the actual game sections are severely lacking in gameplay. Stopping the opposite team storming past your players and scoring every time is virtually impossible - a task which isn't helped by the unruly and badly-
It's hard to believe that the team that brought us the superbly-
Nice graphics, a myriad of setting and options and slick presentation are all very well, but look a little deeper and all that is left is nothing more than an expensive and frustrating basketball manager game.