March Madness 98

a game by EA Games, and EA Sports
Genre: Sports
Platforms: Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 7.2/10, based on 3 reviews, 6 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
Rate this game:

People say:

7.0

Finally, EA has brought out a college hoops game for the PS. Unfortunately, it uses a modified version of the Live 97 game engine. This means that in addition to slightly outdated 3-D graphics, it's way too easy to beat the computer (unless you challenge a good team with a really bad one). March Madness 98's biggest problem is that you can bully or finesse your way to the bucket with ease. One of my favorite easy-to-do cheap plays is passing to the other side of the court for a dunk before the computer players get back on defense. Playing against a good human opponent is much harder, at least. Still, there is a lot to like about this game. For one, atmosphere is a big part of March Madness, and unlike any other basketball title, it could affect the outcome of the game. The innovative (and optional) "Momentum Meter" is a very cool feature that pumps up or deflates your player's abilities according to how he is playing and how the crowd reacts. The less innovative, but appreciated college Fight songs, and detailed basketball courts also contribute greatly to the collegiate flavor of the game--and hey, you can even play with women's teams. I like this game, but EA should make their basketball games more challenging so that you don't need a second player to make them fun.

7.0

Another college addition gets a hand-me-down game engine. In fairness, the Live 97 engine is good enough to power this one but there are some flaws. Driving the lane like a steamroller, penalty-free is one. Another is the rampant breakaways after the throw-in. I forgive it though for the huge amount of teams available including the 11 women's teams. It's not as flashy as the pro editions but it shouldn't be--its college ball!

7.5

In the month of March, I'm all over college basketball, baby. This title is just what the doctor ordered, especially since it's the only college game around. The graphics in the game are pretty good, but could be better-I just wish they would stop using refurbished game engines from a year ago on their college stuff. Regardless, all of the features, options and solid play override most of its flaws, making MM 98 a worthy buy.

7.0

March Madness is a fairly solid basketball game. While it comes up short in the audio department (the crowd and sound effects are lackluster), it looks great. But Madness 98 suffers from the biggest problem plaguing most hoops games today: It's way too easy to get into the paint for an uncontested lay-up or dunk. Why do basketball games have so much trouble with defensive Al? Looking past that, MM 98 is a decent game.

Download March Madness 98

Playstation Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PSX Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Overview

When you think of college hoops, you think of the road to the Final Four. March Madness '98 captures the passion and the intensity which is college basketball during the wild run to the be part of the Final Four. Okay, I love console sports games, they are probably the only types of console game that I play over and over again. They are great to play solo and even better to play against a human opponent but it seems that lately there have been so many different versions of sports games that it's hard to know which is the best one to get. If you cornered me and asked me which was the best basketball game that I have played, I would have to say that it is probably NBA Live 98...or at least until the next wave of hoops games come out. Visually it is stunning and the level of moves that you can make are awesome, but I might just mention March Madness 98 as a runner up. Sure it doesn't have all the fancy moves like the cross dribble and the head fake, maybe it doesn't have the incredibly detailed players like NBA Live 98 has but it has something almost intangible about it that makes me really like it. I can only say that it feels and plays more real than NBA Live 98.

First off there is a lot packed into this game and each one of these features just reinforces the feel of real college hoops. March Madness '98 comes packed with 107 Division 1 men's teams and 9 top women's teams, including: Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana Tech, North Carolina, Old Dominion, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas Tech and Virginia. That's a lot of college players represented here (not as many unique players as FIFA RTWC, but certainly a lot). What other game allows you to play one of the top 9 women's college teams? Many of these players have been motion-captured as well to provide a more realistic basketball experience. One of the women that was motion captured was Kate Starbird, former Stanford University basketball star. Here's what she had to say about being part of this game:

"As a computer science graduate, I was fascinated with the MotionBlending technology that EA SPORTS used to create such a realistic looking and playing hoops game. It was pretty incredible to see myself going through hundreds of moves on the real court then seeing those exact moves replicated in the video game. NCAA March Madness 98 will give both male and female fans a great outlet to enjoy the excitement surrounding college basketball. I also think that this game makes a strong statement about the success and recognition of women in sports. "

To add to the realism of this game, EA included not only faithfully replicated arena's (from the small gym to the larger Hoosier dome type stadiums) and college type jerseys (T-shirt, baggy shorts), but also by including the authentic pep band fight songs and other sounds of the game, like crowd chants. To do this they actually recorded music from college bands and crowd noise taken from actual games.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

The fact that EA went to all the trouble to include all of the above into the game says something, but check out the game play. If you have ever gotten bored of just taking it to the hole and slamming it down over and over again, well forget about doing that here. The AI's a little bit better than that and they are tough in the paint! You may still be able to do that but it's going to take you a bit of juking and running picks to free up your man for the tomahawk jam. You can do this by taking advantage of on-the-fly play calling by pre-selecting some set plays from the Coaching screen and pressing R2 + the one of the other buttons to call up the play assigned to it. Once you have identified how the computer is going to play you, you can set up at the top of the key and call the play that you want and see if it frees up a guy to take it to the hole. One of the moves that I live for is the ally oop. If you take your shot and have a player near the basket you can get him to grab the ball and dunk it. This is a huge momentum booster. That's another extremely innovative feature of this game that adds to the realism of the game.

EA has included a momentum booster meter to the game. If you trade baskets, the meter will stay even but if you start taking it to the hole, dunking and breaking back boards, stealing the ball and running the floor and laying it up, the meter is going to swing in your direction. The more the momentum swings in your direction the better your players will start to play. Even though it more often than not works against me in a game, I really like this feature. After watching many basketball games, you can really see how much momentum is a factor in basketball. A team is struggling and can't buy a shoot, then a guy hits the three ball. Coming down court, he steals the ball and runs the length of the floor for an easy lay. You can literally feel the momentum swing in the game and EA has done an outstanding job of incorporating this into March Madness.

Graphics

Another thing that makes this game worth checking out is the detail that EA went to do to portray the different types of arenas that are used in college hoops, from the smallest to the largest. The level of detail in these stadiums, the advertisements placed on the score board tables, the wood grain on the hardwood, the player's shadows and the light reflecting off of the hardwood, all combine to make this a visually appealing game. They further add to the realism of the game by incorporating awesome motion captured polygon college basketball players! So that not only do the players look realistic but now they move in a lifelike manner.

Bottom Line

While I cannot say that March Madness '98 is the best basketball game that I have played, I definitely put it up there with the best. While it may not have all the special moves and finely detailed players that other simulations boast, it is by far one of the most playable and realistic of all the basketball simulations that I have played. It is actually interesting and challenging to play against the computer for more than a couple of games, so playability goes along way. The parts of the game that are 'must haves' are all there: setting the unbudging pick, real time play calling, give and go and more statistics than you would ever want, it also has some of the 'nice to haves' as well, like: the alley oop, multiple camera angles and moving camera, and shattering back boards. All in all this is a well put together combination of playability and realism without going overboard and putting too much into a game so that it becomes unplayable. So if you value playabilty and realism over the quantity of moves and button combinations then you won't be disappointed with March Madness '98.

Overview

When you think of college hoops, you think of the road to the Final Four. March Madness '98 captures the passion and the intensity which is college basketball during the wild run to the be part of the Final Four. Okay, I love console sports games, they are probably the only types of console game that I play over and over again. They are great to play solo and even better to play against a human opponent but it seems that lately there have been so many different versions of sports games that it's hard to know which is the best one to get. If you cornered me and asked me which was the best basketball game that I have played, I would have to say that it is probably NBA Live 98...or at least until the next wave of hoops games come out. Visually it is stunning and the level of moves that you can make are awesome, but I might just mention March Madness 98 as a runner up. Sure it doesn't have all the fancy moves like the cross dribble and the head fake, maybe it doesn't have the incredibly detailed players like NBA Live 98 has but it has something almost intangible about it that makes me really like it. I can only say that it feels and plays more real than NBA Live 98.

First off there is a lot packed into this game and each one of these features just reinforces the feel of real college hoops. March Madness '98 comes packed with 107 Division 1 men's teams and 9 top women's teams, including: Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana Tech, North Carolina, Old Dominion, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas Tech and Virginia. That's a lot of college players represented here (not as many unique players as FIFA RTWC, but certainly a lot). What other game allows you to play one of the top 9 women's college teams? Many of these players have been motion-captured as well to provide a more realistic basketball experience. One of the women that was motion captured was Kate Starbird, former Stanford University basketball star. Here's what she had to say about being part of this game:

"As a computer science graduate, I was fascinated with the MotionBlending technology that EA SPORTS used to create such a realistic looking and playing hoops game. It was pretty incredible to see myself going through hundreds of moves on the real court then seeing those exact moves replicated in the video game. NCAA March Madness 98 will give both male and female fans a great outlet to enjoy the excitement surrounding college basketball. I also think that this game makes a strong statement about the success and recognition of women in sports. "

To add to the realism of this game, EA included not only faithfully replicated arena's (from the small gym to the larger Hoosier dome type stadiums) and college type jerseys (T-shirt, baggy shorts), but also by including the authentic pep band fight songs and other sounds of the game, like crowd chants. To do this they actually recorded music from college bands and crowd noise taken from actual games.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

The fact that EA went to all the trouble to include all of the above into the game says something, but check out the game play. If you have ever gotten bored of just taking it to the hole and slamming it down over and over again, well forget about doing that here. The AI's a little bit better than that and they are tough in the paint! You may still be able to do that but it's going to take you a bit of juking and running picks to free up your man for the tomahawk jam. You can do this by taking advantage of on-the-fly play calling by pre-selecting some set plays from the Coaching screen and pressing R2 + the one of the other buttons to call up the play assigned to it. Once you have identified how the computer is going to play you, you can set up at the top of the key and call the play that you want and see if it frees up a guy to take it to the hole. One of the moves that I live for is the ally oop. If you take your shot and have a player near the basket you can get him to grab the ball and dunk it. This is a huge momentum booster. That's another extremely innovative feature of this game that adds to the realism of the game.
EA has included a momentum booster meter to the game. If you trade baskets, the meter will stay even but if you start taking it to the hole, dunking and breaking back boards, stealing the ball and running the floor and laying it up, the meter is going to swing in your direction. The more the momentum swings in your direction the better your players will start to play. Even though it more often than not works against me in a game, I really like this feature. After watching many basketball games, you can really see how much momentum is a factor in basketball. A team is struggling and can't buy a shoot, then a guy hits the three ball. Coming down court, he steals the ball and runs the length of the floor for an easy lay. You can literally feel the momentum swing in the game and EA has done an outstanding job of incorporating this into March Madness.

Graphics

Another thing that makes this game worth checking out is the detail that EA went to do to portray the different types of arenas that are used in college hoops, from the smallest to the largest. The level of detail in these stadiums, the advertisements placed on the score board tables, the wood grain on the hardwood, the player's shadows and the light reflecting off of the hardwood, all combine to make this a visually appealing game. They further add to the realism of the game by incorporating awesome motion captured polygon college basketball players! So that not only do the players look realistic but now they move in a lifelike manner.

Bottom Line

While I cannot say that March Madness '98 is the best basketball game that I have played, I definitely put it up there with the best. While it may not have all the special moves and finely detailed players that other simulations boast, it is by far one of the most playable and realistic of all the basketball simulations that I have played. It is actually interesting and challenging to play against the computer for more than a couple of games, so playability goes along way. The parts of the game that are 'must haves' are all there: setting the unbudging pick, real time play calling, give and go and more statistics than you would ever want, it also has some of the 'nice to haves' as well, like: the alley oop, multiple camera angles and moving camera, and shattering back boards. All in all this is a well put together combination of playability and realism without going overboard and putting too much into a game so that it becomes unplayable. So if you value playabilty and realism over the quantity of moves and button combinations then you won't be disappointed with March Madness '98.

Given the popularity of college basketball these days, it's surprising that EA hadn't put out a 32-Bit college basketball game until now. Nevertheless, the wait is finally over as March Madness 98 is well under development.

EA's college basketball game uses a revamped version of the NBA Live 97 engine. Thus, the 3-D graphics and look of the game will be nearly identical, aside from a few new motion-captured moves (from the likes of Tim Duncan). On the other hand, the atmosphere of the game will consist of a rich college flavor. March Madness 98 will have the real basketball courts, teams, players and even many of the authentic school fight songs.

There are a few features that make this game stand out. Among them is the Dynasty Mode feature (also in NCAA Football 98) that lets players manage and play with a team throughout many years. One of the biggest challenges is keeping your team competitive by restocking a team's talent with freshmen players as junior and senior players graduate or leave for the pros. This involves player recruitment and choosing who is red-shirted. No word yet on whether the game will involve underthe-table deals and shady "gifts" to influence players to come to the school.

One thing always missing from sports games is the effect the crowd and momentum has on the game. March Madness 98's "Momentum Meter" changes that by gauging the momentum felt on the court. If a team scores consecutive baskets or makes a big play, the crowd roars and the team gains confidence. Confidence is portrayed by a temporary boost of each player's abilities while momentum is on their side. If momentum is against you, your players might not play quite as well. The only way to get momentum back in your favor is to make a play of your own, just like in real-life.

With nifty features such as these, and a proven game engine adapted from NBA Live 97, March Madness looks like it's on track to be at the top of the ranking polls.

EA Sports is expanding its PlayStation lineup with the impressive-looking college hoops game, NCAA March Madness '98.

From Rupp Rrena ro Tobacco Road

Jumping into the hallowed halls of today s college hoops arenas comes NCAA March Madness '98. If you were a fan of EA's Coach College Basketball for the Genesis, it's time to get excited as this PlayStation title looks like a worthy successor.

Not only will there be 108 men's Division I teams, but 8 women's Division I teams as well. As far as the action goes, you can look forward to Exhibition, Season, or Tournament modes; beefed-up polygonal players (like those in the NBA Live series); icon passing; and authentic team uniforms, stadium floors, and logos. A sharp Dynasty mode (much like the one in NCAA Football '98) will enable bailers to fully manage a team by creating, recruiting, and red-shirting players, as well as building a roster from year to year. Most importantly, EA is striving for the total college atmosphere with animated crowds, pep bands, fight songs, and more.

Looking Like o Diaper Dandy

EA's primary goal with March Madness is to create the most realistic sim possible, and it's certainly headed in the right direction by consulting one of the legendary coaching icons of the collegiate basketball world, Lou Carnesecca. Under the coach's tutelage, EA is looking to tune the game's A.I. to reflect how a real college team would play. Gamers can also look for March Madness to feature classic basketball strategies such as traps, zones, pressing defenses, and post-play offense.

In this early stage, March Madness is shaping up quite nicely. Many of the courts and player logos have yet to be implemented, but the game looked and played very smoothly. Spicing up the intensity of each game, a new Momentum Meter will help swing the balance of a game toward the home team's favor if they get on a hot streak. If all the pieces come together by its release date, March Madness will rule the college courts this winter.

College hoops has finally made its way to the Play-Plantation Station in championship form with NCAA March Madness '98. Even though it lacks a lot of the flash of Live '98, MM still delivers a top notch game with showtime intensity.

Bring It On

Contrary to its appearance, March Madness isn't a direct port of the Live series. EA has made it a point to imbue MM with a distinct college attitude and style, including pep-band fight songs, breaking backboards, and an exhaustive amount of college-hoops strategy. And just as in real collegiate basketball, there are no superhuman players that you can use to get guaranteed buckets. To score effectively, you need to be a patient, strategy-minded player, as this game's A.I. is one of the staunchest around.

To win consistently in MM, you need to learn the intricacies of the game, from executing successful give-and-gos to calling the correct offensive and defensive sets. The end result is unparalleled depth, realism, and, more importantly, fun.

There Can Be Only One Champion

MM hits the courts featuring not only 107 men's Division I teams, but 9 women's Division I teams as well, with all the standard play modes, two ranking polls, extensive stats, and create a player. EA has also incorporated a Momentum Meter that rises as you hit a hot streak. Once it's maxed out, the crowd starts to get wilder and shots that may have come up short start to fall in with more regularity. Unfortunately, the Dynasty and Conference Tournament modes that we reported about last in the hands-on preview have been left out because of time constraints.

The graphics and sound in MM do an excellent job of bringing home the excitement and intensity of college basketball. It's clearly noticeable that the players in MM aren't as polished as those in Live '98; however, this does nothing to detract from MM's already solid gameplay. Sonically, this game delivers just the right amount of in-game effects, from the swish of the net to the grunt of players as they hit the deck after taking a charge.

The control is equally solid--moving your players up and down the court is a breeze, and both the offense and defense feature icon activation so you can pass to or control the correct player every time. Unfortunately, the game lacks fancy deke moves, such as crossovers and behind-the-back dribbling, which really added flair to its pro counterpart.

Tell Me Who's in the House Tonight

When the final buzzer sounds, March Madness '98 does everything well enough to be the best college hoops console game of all-time. Basketball fans everywhere need to pick this one up.

ProTips:

  • To blow out the score, call plays that will isolate your team's 3-point threat.
  • Whenever possible, work the give and-go when the defense presents you with a lane to the basket.
  • By using the Pivot and Turbo buttons together, you can create a nice spin move in the paint and drive strong to the rack.
  • Know your team's strengths and weaknesses--calling the right offensive and defensive formations can be the difference between winning and losing.
  • Call a timeout to help cut down the opposition's momentum before things get out of hand.
X More on GameFabrique Super Mario Bros. 3

Download Super Mario Bros. 3