Game Review: Double Dribble
Double Dribble

Double Dribble Title Screen

  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Released: September 1987
  • Game Type: Sports
  • Players: 2 Simultaneous
  • Product Number: NES-DW-USA
  • Rarity: D (Common)
    Game Ratings:
    OVERALL: 8

    Box Scan
    Double Dribble Screen 1 Double Dribble Screen 2

    In the early days of the NES, Konami was proving themselves as one of the top NES publishers, not only bringing out great arcade games but great sports games as well. Way back in 1987 Konami brought out Double Dribble, the first basketball game for the NES, and it did not disappoint. While the game is simple compared to the basketball games that followed, Double Dribble still proves to be among the best 8-bit hoops titles.

    This game features 1 or 2 player action. When you begin the game, you get an interesting menu selection screen, where a basketball player shoots a basket each time you scroll through the options. You can choose from four teams: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, though there's no real difference other than their jerseys. You can also choose the length of each period and the difficulty level in the 1P mode. Once the ball tips off, it's fast b-ball action. You get all the rules of the real game, from foul shots and slam dunks to three pointers. Sometimes when you go for a dunk, you see a close up video of your players stuffing the ball through the hoop or having the shot blocked. In 1P mode, if you beat the CPU team, you move on to the next, and if you can defeat all three teams, you win the championship trophy. The difficulty level determines which trophy you'll receive, however, and you need to win on Level 3 to get the gold trophy.

    Graphics & Sounds:
    For an early NES game, the graphics aren't that bad. The sprites don't have much detail, but they do have some good animation, including the bouncing ball and the basket when a score is made. There is quite a bit of flicker when too many players appear, though it's not too much. The visuals do get bonus points for the excellent close-up shots of the dunks. The majority of the sounds are the thump-thump-thump of the dribbling ball, which gets a little annoying after a while. There are some good sound effects, such as the sound of a 3-point shot attempt and the ball going through the basket. This game features some nice voice clips, though they're slightly muffled and hard to understand (the voice on the title screen says "Dub-bul Dwib-bul!", for example). As far as music goes, there's not much in this cart. You get the national anthem after the title screen as well as the menu screen theme, both of which are nice to listen to. No background music is present during the actual gameplay except for some scoring fanfare, but this actually works out well.

    You shouldn't have too much problem moving your players around. The controls respond fluidly and you can easily make the moves you need to. Playing defense is also no sweat. It's easy to steal the ball and you can switch players, which is also a plus. However you can't pass to a teammate that's offscreen, so forget about passing the ball clear down the court. Also, unlike most NES basketball games, you push B to shoot and A to pass. But these are just minor hinderances; just remember which button does what and you'll be fine.

    Challenge & Playability:
    As always, Konami did an excellent job in the gameplay department. Double Dribble does match the fast-paced action of real-life b-ball, and this cart is easy to get into. The computer puts up a pretty good game, even on the easiest level, but they seem to have a slight edge in speed and shooting percentage which can be unfair at times. Also sometimes the game is a little slow letting you switch players on defense, allowing the CPU team to get some easy scores. Despite the frustration, the computer can be beaten with enough practice. Don't look for much replay value in this cart, with no season modes, only four teams and three skill levels. This game is mainly for quick multiplayer sessions.

    So how does Double Dribble measure up to the later b-ball titles on the NES? While it can't compare with more advanced titles like Tecmo NBA Basketball that have more modes and options, Double Dribble does succeed where it counts, with fun, fast-paced gameplay that has stood the test of time. The 1P mode may not offer much lasting value, and the CPU teams may have an unfair advantage, but you'll still have a fun time. More importantly this game is great for quick two-player jam sessions. Overall, Double Dribble is another excellent Konami title, and still one of the best b-ball titles on the NES. If you want a simple yet fun hoops title that two players can enjoy, slam this cart into your system.

    - Review posted on April 14, 2006