The Sega Dreamcast had a number of popular, successful and extremely well made sports titles available. I’ve already touched on two of the best franchises that got their start on the Dreamcast, the NFL 2K and Virtua Tennis series. This post is meant to briefly highlight the remaining sports titles in my collection, NBA 2K1 and the two Ready 2 Rumble boxing titles. NBA 2K1 was the second of the three NBA 2K titles available for the Dreamcast and the last of the long running series that was a Dreamcast exclusive. The cover athlete again was Allen Iverson and the game engine is still smooth as silk. At the time, the NBA Live franchise was EA’s flagship series and as was mentioned in a previous post, EA would not be programming for Sega’s newest console so the Sega Sports development team, Visual Concepts, did a wonderful job of creating a realistic basketball simulator. NBA 2K1 runs smoothly, the controls are intuitive, the camera is effective in making sure you can see where your player is with the appropriate angles for passes and shots. All current NBA teams and rosters are well represented as you would expect and the players somewhat resemble their real life counterparts, which is pretty amazing for a game from 2000. Additional positives are the ability to play in franchise mode with your favorite team as well as choose All-Star teams that span multiple decades past. I always thought players like Kareem, Wilt, Bill Russell, etc. got gipped by not having their own video games likenesses available due to the era they played in. That’s now been corrected with NBA 2K1. The main downside is the damn free-throw shooting mechanics. You have to gently hold both the left and right triggers to get them to line up over the basket, then press the shoot button all the while maintaining this extremely awkward position with the triggers. Ugh, it’s such a downer when you get fouled and this is how you are rewarded. In spite of this flaw, NBA 2K1 is an overall very solid basketball game but in my opinion still cannot exceed the NBA Live franchise in pure basketball fun.
I guess if your boxing game doesn’t have the words “Punch Out” somewhere in the title, I’m not going to be able to enjoy it regardless of how well received or popular it is. I have yet to play a boxing game on a console that I didn’t subconsciously compare to the iconic Mike Tyson’s Punch Out for the NES. Similar to the Punch Out series, the Ready 2 Rumble games have cartoony characters such as Afro Thunder (wisely used by Sega in marketing the Dreamcast) and Boris the Bear but the gameplay is in 3D, not 2D. Also unlike Punch Out, you are allowed to select any one of the available boxing characters instead of having to stick to one boxer, such as Little Mac. The Ready 2 Rumble games are technically impressive and the graphics look great, including the increasingly bruised and battered look of the boxers as the bouts go on with the damage they accrue. I never played much of either of these titles but they were common during the Dreamcast’s life span and being sports games, cheap to buy after it ended. Both games were popular and critically praised in their day and admittedly, the unlockable characters (Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton) are a cool concept but I don’t see myself playing and mastering these games enough to unlock any of the interesting celebrities. I haven’t been able to master the gameplay to even be passably decent and I hate to admit that I won’t likely put in the time either. Good games, but they are not Punch Out and that’s more my bias than anything else.
Currently in my collection:
NBA 2K1 – game, manual, case B+
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing – game, manual, case B
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Round 2 – game, manual, case B