screenshot from "NBA Street V3"
Electronic Arts  /  AP
"LeBron James" performs a high-flying dunk in this screenshot from the Electronic Arts video game "NBA Street V3."
updated 6/22/2005 7:11:05 PM ET 2005-06-22T23:11:05

Find yourself dozing off during this year's defense-oriented National Basketball Association finals? Consider taking a shot at "NBA Street V3" from Electronic Arts.

It's a three-on-three basketball game that blends urban style with hip-hop beats and crossover dribbles, establishing it as the top arcade basketball game on the market.

Each NBA team is represented with partial rosters, but the real fun comes when you unlock and play one of the 25 NBA legends like Julius Erving (aka Dr. J) and Wilt Chamberlain, as well as several street ball legends.

Playing pickup games earns you street points, which are used as currency to unlock NBA legends, street ball legends and courts like New York's Rucker Park and Oakland's Mosswood Park.

The sheer level of customization is staggering — with dozens of combinations of the latest street clothing and accessories. You can also have the ultimate home court advantage by creating your own outdoor courts.

Game play has taken a small step forward from the popular "NBA Street Vol. 2," but the new version still stresses style and showmanship over fundamental basketball.

Pulling off trick moves, combos, shots and dunks still fills up your Gamebreaker meter, but now you can pull off dunk combos during the Gamebreaker, using up to three players, to increase you trick point totals.

The default Gamebreaker is worth two points, but you'll up your trick points to earn up to four points — if you can master the three person dunk combos.

"NBA Street V3" has several modes of play, with highlights being Street Challenge and the brand new dunk contest. Create a custom player in Street Challenge and team him up with local players to take on street ballers across the country. Winning games earns rep points that are used to recruit better players and improve your player's skills and gear.

Style, style and more style sums up the presentation of EA's hallmark street franchise. The courts look authentic and D.J. Bobbito Garcia returns with more colorful play-by-play. The music is mostly classic hip-hop and rap artists like House of Pain and the Beastie Boys that fit nicely within the action.

"NBA Street V3" ($49.99, E-rated) supports online play for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The GameCube edition is offline only.

Three and a half stars out of four.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: 'NBA Street V3'


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