NBA Jam also features a mode called "Jam store." In this mode, you can unlock a huge number of different items using points you earn playing the game. Available unlockables include hidden arenas, clothing and other attributes for the game's create-a-player mode, cheats, random gameplay changes like "no goaltending" and "always on fire," and even concept art for some of the marquee players in the game. While not every unlockable item in the game may seem immediately useful, there's a whole lot of stuff there, so you should be able to find plenty of items worth getting.
The legends tournament pits you against a series of teams from different eras of the NBA, and it includes a healthy roster of legendary players.
The game's graphics aren't consistent; they have some good aspects and some not so-good aspects. The newly designed 3D player models in the game are an interesting blend of a realistic look and a more cartoonlike, overstated look--like the big-head mode of the original NBA Jam. At any rate, each player does look pretty representative of his real-life counterpart in his own peculiar way. Animations are sort of all over the map--many of the special hotspot shots look very impressive, as do some of the specialized dunking animations. Unfortunately, while these specialized moves look great, the more basic movements are far more problematic. When simply running up and down the court, the players look very stiff and disjointed, and they don't flow particularly well between different movements. The game does have a number of great little visual touches, though, such as the black-and-white color scheme of the pre-'70s court and the faded color filter used on the 1970s-era court, that give the game's graphics a bit of a boost. Although the Xbox version of the game does look the best, with the predictably cleaner textures and brighter look, technically, both games play extremely smoothly, without any frame rate issues to speak of.
Graphically, the game looks good, but lacks in a few key areas.
Most of the game's audio fares quite well. The bulk of NBA Jam's commentary is provided by Tim Kitzrow, the commentator of the original NBA Jam. His commentary is nicely done, and in some of the era-specific courts, he changes his voice accordingly, and the result each time is quite amusing. The only court he doesn't appear on is the '70s-era court, and that's because '70s funk legend Bootsy Collins is on hand to give you the play-by-play. Amazingly, his commentary is really, really good, and it is entertaining as all get out to listen to while you play. The only issue to take with the commentary is that, due to the slightly limited list of available actions, it can get very repetitive during a game, and you will hear many of the same comments over and over again. Bootsy also provides a number of tracks for the in-game arena soundtrack. Other artists include Cameo, Chuck Berry, Chaka Kahn, and even Bel Biv Devoe. Unfortunately, you generally only get snippets of the songs in between play, but they do add a nice level of atmosphere to the game.
As a stand-alone game, NBA Jam is definitely fun to play, but it lacks the gameplay depth of pretty much every other major basketball title on the market, arcade or otherwise. Regardless, the game is a solid effort all around, and it does a nice job of bringing the license to modern-day consoles. If what you want is the best arcade basketball experience out there, then you'll probably want to look elsewhere, because NBA Jam doesn't offer it. However, if you're looking for a good way to remember the days of arcades past or are just a basketball fan looking to have some over-the-top fun with the sport, then you'll definitely want to check out NBA Jam.