All-Pro Basketball (NES)

All-Pro Basketball Box Art

All-Pro Basketball

System: NES

Release Date: December 1989

Developer: Aicom

Publisher: Vic Tokai

Genre: Sports

So I see All-Pro Basketball coming up on my list and I’m thinking, hey, alright, maybe I’ll get a proper basketball game this time! Then as I looked at the manual, and the screenshots caused my heart to drop. The developer is Aicom, they also developed Hoops, which I did not enjoy in the least. The game takes place in a season mode, where you play each team five times. You need to have winning records against all seven opponents in order to win the title.

There are eight fictional teams to choose from with their own strengths and weaknesses. Each team has twelve players that you can switch between during dead balls by pressing the A and B Buttons simultaneously. Then you highlight the player you want to sub and hit the A Button again to go to the screen. It’s really unruly and I wish they would have come up with something better. Each team has four star players, but oddly only one can be on court at a time.

Passing is accomplished with the A Button, but good luck finding a clean pass to make. Steals happen when defenders get close enough to the ball carrier or get in the way of a pass. Jump by pressing the B Button, then pass out with the A button, or shoot by pressing the B Button again. If you’re close to the hoop you go for a dunk. If there’s a defender, they might get in the way. These animations are from Hoops, but slightly more smooth.

The AI tactic is to get a lead and then run time down by playing keep away. The clock runs fast and there’s no shot clock. They don’t seem to give up the ball as easily and they love getting in the way of your inbound pass. I know how the coach felt at the end of my game…

Graphics: 1.0

The game can’t handle the number of sprites on screen, so there’s always flickering. The screen fades out and rotates every time you go across half-court.

Sound: 0.5

Between dribbling, sneaker squeaks when you change direction, and the bad song, there’s nothing to rave about.

Gameplay: 1.0

The penalty problem has been removed, but the steal mechanic is broken. It’s hard to play with the graphical flickering.

Difficulty: 1.5

Get ready to play a few dozen games before you’re good enough to win the championship.

Fun Factor: 1.0

Really not fun enough to be worth your time.

Overall Grade: 1.0

All-Pro Basketball earns a D. A definite step down in terms of gameplay. There’s still need for a good basketball game on the NES.

All-Pro Basketball Video Review on YouTube