You see, if your chosen player sinks three shots without the other side sinking any he’s designated as being “on fire,” which means that not only will the net erupt into flames every time you score, but your shooting percentage goes up, you can sprint without running out of energy, and are just an all around better player. Where the goaltending bit of this comes in is that should you get called for a goaltending penalty it does not reset the number of shots you’ve sunk without your opponent sinking one (because with goaltending while a team has been given the points, they haven’t made the basket).
The same basic rules apply to the Remix Tour mode which is mainly just a different way of organizing the basic tournament. Well, it’s mainly that except for the power-ups. In this mode, throughout the game power-ups will magically appear on the floor and by grabbing them you’ll get special abilities like the ability to bulldoze a defender, increased speed, increased accuracy, etc. It takes what already was an arcade game and pushes it even further in that direction.
Then there are a whole bunch of other types of ways to play as well – you can play 21, you can play an elimination mode where it’s everyone for themselves and at the end of each round the person with the lowest score is out, you can play Domination where you need to make shots from certain places on the court, you can also play a Smash mode which is all about breaking the backboard. The game even has the ability to play a Boss Battle mode where you take on some relatively special folks, but you need to unlock those guys first which you do by playing in the Remix Tour (you can also unlock teams and courts).
Perhaps the biggest problem with the game is its insatiable desire to try to even things out. If you start to run up a big lead, it’s understandable that your opponents will change tactics (and they do, they always go to a press), but that it seemingly becomes harder to hit a shot (unless you’re on fire) is distressing. It should be said though that I’m against the computer leveling the field like this in any game (see Mario Kart) – it may make things more even but it simply destroys the realism.
As one would expect, the graphics for the title have improved greatly over the initial console debut so many years ago. I will say, however, that the reflection on the floor of some of the electronic signs from the stadium is just plain annoying. I completely understand that it’s impressive that graphics have come to the point where such reflections are possible, but they don’t add to the excitement or the challenge, they’re just in the way.