Pat Riley Basketball – Review

Basketball has never been overly popular in England. Yes, we played it at school, or if one of our friends happened to persuade their parents to buy a hoop for their garden, but overall, basketball was considered very much a North American sport. In the mid-90s, Channel 4 began showing NBA games regulalry on Sundays. Had Pat Riley Basketball been released during this time, it may have proved a more popular game.

Copyright © Sega
Screenshot from

Pat Riley Basketball is a sports game developed and published by Sega in 1990. It was released on the Sega Mega Drive and can be played in one or two-player modes. It version was also released for the Sega Master System. I chose to review the Sega Mega Drive version.

There’s not really that much to say about this game. It did not have the license for the real team or player names, most likely because the budget went on securing Pat Riley’s association with it. The graphics are pretty good, especially during action cut scenes when players shoot and dunk. Whilst dunking, a bar appears with blue and red areas in it. A white dot moves across the bar and you must stop the white dot inside the red zone to ensure you score the basket. The same rule applies when defending a dunk. For some reason when in open play, the ball is ridiculously large. It looks more like a medicine ball.

Look at the size of that basketball!!!
Screenshot from 10min Gameplay

The gameplay does let this game down though. The pass function isn’t as responsive as it should be, and its frustrating the way the computer is able to steal the ball from you, but you can only intercept their passes to steal the ball back. Another annoyance is that once you have scored a basket, your team seems to hang around the opponent’s end, leaving your basket unattended and allowing the computer to make a B-line for it.

The graphics whilst dunking are pretty impressive
Screenshot from

Did I complete the game?

I have completed this game several times without using any cheats. You really shouldn’t need them for this game anyway, as its not that difficult to win comfortably. Sadly, there is not much of an ending to make you feel that the effort was justified.

What the critics said:

Mean Machines: (Reviewed as Super Real Basketball) “Super Real Basketball gives solid entertainment to two players, but on your own, it’s a little wearing! Overall 79%”.[1]

Sega Power: (Reviewed as Super Real Basketball) “Boasting detailed close-ups of the slam-dunk action, realistic court views and decent sound this is an okay sport sim. However, the lack of depth and difficulty means that its potential is only realised in two-player mode. Overall 3/5.[2]

Sega Power: (Reviewed as Super Real Basketball) Detailed close-ups of the action, realistic court views and fairly decent sound FX. An okayish sports sim, with great two-palyer mode. Overall 2/5”[3]

My verdict:Some nice graphics, let down by the gameplay, but worth a bit of your time if you like basketball and the game is cheap to pick up.”


What are your memories of Pat Riley Basketball? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame.

[1] ‘Review: Mega Drive – Super Real Basketball’. (April 1991). Issue 7:56-57. Mean Machines. ( Accessed 10th December 2019).

[2] Jarrett, S., ‘The Hard Line – Super Hang-On’. Sega Power. (April 1991). Issue 23:54. ( Accessed on 29th July 2020.

[3] ‘The Hard Line – Review: Mega Drive – Super Real Basketball’. Sega Power. (September 1993). Issue 46:99. ( Accessed 17th February 2020).

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