Magic Johnson’s Fast Break (NES)

Magic Johnson's Fast Break Box Art

Magic Johnson’s Fast Break

System: NES

Release Date: March 1990

Developer: Software Creations

Publisher: Tradewest

Genre: Sports

If you’re looking for a basketball game on NES, one choice is Magic Johnson’s Fast Break. I would argue that football, baseball, tennis, hockey, and golf have all received adequate representations on the system. Basketball, unfortunately, is another story. Will this deliver what we need?

Fast Break is a 2 on 2 game on a full court. It’s novel in that up to 4 can play together with a multi-tap accessory. However, this does not play like traditional basketball. There are only two commands on offense, pass and shoot. And two on defense, switch player and steal. You will be doing a lot of stealing and you will have the ball stolen from you. A lot. The majority of this game is turnovers. The computer will got on streaks of stealing your inbound over and over and scoring several times straight.

The ball handler is slower than everyone else on the court. The defense also plays non-stop full court press, so getting to the half court line is the first challenge to overcome. Getting into the lane is the next issue, because you get crowded and pilfered. The three point shot falls frequently, but not enough to make up for interior failure. Rebounds are luck of the draw and put back attempts are often turned into steals. Take a look at the end of game stats and tell me if you think that’s an appropriate number of steals in a basketball game. I didn’t think so. See you later Magic Johnson’s floating disembodied head.

Graphics: 1.0

It doesn’t really look that good. Sprites are small, colors are drab.

Sound: 1.5

The crowd noise, shoe scuffs, and turnover buzzer are garbage. The menu tunes are pretty banging, though.

Gameplay: 0.5

The game is extremely barren without any variety. Steal, steal, steal.

Difficulty: 1.0

Can you stay away from the computer opponents? If no, you will get blown out. What am I, the 23-24 Pistons?

Fun Factor: 0.5

I had a nearly negative amount of fun with this one.

Overall Grade: 0.9

Magic Johnson’s Fast Break earns a D. Well, this isn’t the basketball game to give the sport its due. Hopefully it will come some day.

Magic Johnson’s Fast Break Video Review on YouTube