NBA Live 98
by EA Sports
Although I'm not known to be a big sports fan around the offices of EGM, I must admit sports titles are starting to grow on me. One of the games that has encouraged my newly found sports game open-mindedness is NBA Live. Live 98 is, for me, one of the most enjoyable b-ball games on the Saturn so far. Within five minutes of playing Live 98,1 got a firm handle of the gameplay and control layout, even though I never read the instructions (if that isn't a sign of an intuitive and playable game then I don't know what is). If anything, the computer Al is a little bit on the easy side in Live 98 (I mean, if a rookie like me can play competitively against the Sonics using Golden State, then something is a little out of whack), and it's also really easy to perform high-flying slam dunks. Don't get me wrong, it's real entertaining and all, but I don't think you'll see this much action in the NBA. As I said before, Live 98 is a fun and fast-paced basketball game, but the one thing that does get in the way are the slightly muddy polygonal graphics. The textures seem real low-res and are so blotchy that it's hard to see what's going on at times. Most of the time it's OK, but there are some instances (high traffic) where it's difficult to see who's doing what. If you're looking for a fun b-ball game, Live 98 is it. Just be sure to wear your glasses.
It's unfortunate that this game isn't as good as the PlayStation version. Obviously, this was a quick and easy port that was paid very little attention. The 3-D graphics are. Fuzzy and the frame rate is sporadic, making the on-eourt action sometimes difficult to control. The sound is static and unexciting, and the TNT broadcasting crew that calls the PS version didn't even bother to show up. EA could and should have done a better job.
I have yet to find a basketball game I can immerse myself into, but this comes very close. I'd like to see much more work done to the defensive portion of the game, since the offense is so in sync and natural that your defense isn't worth playing manually. The custom plays are a cool option, and overall, the game's animation is good. Be-careful how high you set penalties though, or you might spend the entire game at the line.
N BA Live 98 for the Saturn is definitely an above-average b-ball title, but aside from multiplayer play (which I still say is the only way to play NBA Live), the game doesn't do much for me. I don't like to make these kinds of comparisons, but in all honesty the PS version is a lot better, and graphical limitations aside, this just shouldn't be the case. Why the flawed gameplay? Why no play-by-play? Not bad, but not up-to EA-standards.
2016-09-06 NBA Live 98 game added.