They Love This Game: NBA Live 98
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1998. First
published in Computer Player, February, 1998
review of EA Sports NBA Live 98
from Electronic Arts Canada
Earlier this sports game season, we assembled a team
of hard-core 13
year old boys to look at the cream of the crop of computer hockey
to pick the CD-ROM to best let Canadian youth sharpen their virtual
and head for the digital ice.
But with both Toronto and Vancouver now sporting NBA
perhaps there?s competition for the sport that most captures the
of our young. Certainly, our reviewers were looking forward to the
of turning their attention to the NBA on-screen.
But while we were able to make the hockey game feature
into a shoot-out
between Virgin?s PowerPlay 98 and Electronic Arts? NHL 98, the NBA
turned out to be no contest. Acclaim Sports never responded to our
to obtain a copy of their NBA JAM Extreme (booo!). And while Microsoft
Canada promptly sent a copy of their basketball game, Full Court Press,
the company decided not to update it for the 1997-98 season, and
it from the market.
That left our panel with a single game: Electronic
Arts? NBA Live 98.
Luckily, like the company?s NHL 98, they found that once again, EA
had produced a winner.
The game ships in Sony Playstation on PC/Windows 95-CD
panel looked at the PC version. It requires at least a P-100 with 16
of RAM, with 50 megs of drive space. Multiple players can connect via
or network, with help from EA in matching up potential on-line players
(go to http://www.ea.com/multiplayer_matchup/).
The program boasts of including 400 NBA players with
based on 3-D polygon animation based on motion-capturing real team
in action. (Superstar Michael Jordan, however, was represented by a
Number 89 named ?Guard?).
Our panel members, Joey and Frankie both reported that
the game was
easy to learn, with (for a change) a useful instruction manual. The
enjoyed the announcing, by TNT network Ernie Johnson Jr. , which they
did a good job of following the game action, and added to the realistic
feel. The realism was enhanced by the look of the court, according to
who was impressed by the marks on the court and on the hoop. Frankie
the use of actual players? faces (except for Jordan?s) an improvement
earlier games that featured identical clones. Frankie complained,
that the sound effects were a little too quiet, but Joey especially
sounds such as the ball hitting the ground and people bumping into one
Both boys hoped that next year, EA will improve the
jams. Frankie hoped
that ?when the guy jumps up and puts it in, he should have a little
while Joey fantasized a ?monster jam? if a player makes three shots in
a row, the ball would catch on fire or shatter the glass.? Even so, the
panel agreed that EA Sports has another winner here, with both boys
NBA Live 98 a perfect 1