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NBA Jam Chronicles: On Fire

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As regular readers of Green Bandwagon know I am currently working in England. I will continue to follow the Celtics as best I can, which may include a summer league report from a fellow SB Nation NBA blogger. In addition I am running a series on NBA Jam. I will focus on the original Sega release, which was also out on Super Nintendo. Every weekday I will tackle issues from rebounding to my theory that the game tore apart franchises in the early to mid 90s. Today marks the first entry in my quest to make you say, "I know that game is at about 15 years old and nobody plays it anymore, but that guy knows a ton about NBA Jam." Enjoy.

On Fire  

The on fire mode is by far the most important aspect of NBA Jam. A player simply has to hit three shots in a row, without the other team making a basket to achieve this all-important status. Furthermore, a player can goal tend and still reach on fire status. In fact this is the only way to defeat an opponent that used the code to be on fire for the entire game. After the second basket the announcer remarks, "He's heating up" and following the third basket the announcer yells, "He's on fire!"  The change is immediate:  

  • The ball glows when held, is flaming when shot, and burns the net.
  • The player has turbo until the other team hits a shot.  
  • The player is allowed to goal tend.
  • As soon as the on fire player crosses half court almost any shot will go in, although the poor shooters are more likely to miss from real deep.  And if you stay on fire long enough anyone, Chris Mullin included, will miss.  
  • The announcer continues to yell, "He's on fire" after every made basket.
  • Eventually, even if the opponent does not score, the fire goes away.  
I do have some lingering questions about the on fire mode.  
  • As I mentioned the ball burns the net. Yet the next time up the court there is a new net. Who replaces it?
  • The ball immediately stops glowing once any other player obtains it. Seems odd. And let's not forget that somehow no one is burned.
  • It is impossible to get a pair of teammates on fire at the same time. Even if they each hit three shots without the other team converting a field goal, only one will obtain the special powers. This actually hurts the quality of play because teamwork breaks down completely. Instead one player dominates the ball while his teammate stands around and watches. It's like the real NBA!