NBA Live 99

a game by NuFX, Inc., and EA Games
Genre: Sports
Platforms: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64, PC, Playstation
Editor Rating: 7.4/10, based on 8 reviews, 9 reviews are shown
User Rating: 9.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Basketball Games, NBA Games
NBA Live 99
NBA Live 99
NBA Live 99
NBA Live 99

Basketball Is rubbish. Everyone knows that. It's a nonsensical charade played by physical freaks with over-active pituitary glands. Of course, Americans love it, predominantly because there's lots of scoring, and hence lots of statistics, berating 'sahker' for lacking these factors, seemingly oblivious to the fact that theirs is virtually the only country in the world that has not embraced The Beautiful Game.

They are, of course, wrong. In football it is the rarity value of goals that makes them so special, and the skill required that makes them memorable. It's all about violent swings of emotion - moments of lung-bursting ecstasy countered by mute despair. It is the apprehension, uncertainty and frustration that precedes a goal that makes it such a climactic experience. Conversely, the fear of conceding a goal gives football a nervous edge unmatched in any sport, and when it happens it is a sickening blow.

The same cannot be said about basketball. It is guaranteed that one team will score within the first few seconds of the game, and continue to do so on a regular basis thereafter, as will the other team. They simply cancel each other out again and again with tit-for-tat plays. How can you get excited or upset about something that happens on such a regular basis? Also, with two evenly matched teams, at least the first three quarters of the game is largely null and void, matches almost always decided in the last minutes. For all the difference it makes, they might as well play five-minute games. It's a farce.

Jesus Loves Amerikkka

However, anyone who has visited the States during the annual NBA play-offs cannot have failed to get caught up in the razzmatazz surrounding the season's climax. It's pure showbiz, and NBA Live 99 accurately recreates this feel, proving good enough to instil doubt in the mind of even the most embittered anti-American.

As we've traditionally come to expect from EA Sports, the game smacks of quality in all areas. The presentation is both polished and stylish, with some suitably 'badass' music kicking in to reasonable effect, giving you an underwhelming desire to don an outsized pair of strides and an acutely angled baseball cap. But providing you can resist this worrying temptation, there's a more than decent game to be had.

The motion-captured players appear sharp, and the ball is always distinguishable - a fairly elementary prerequisite, but one often overlooked by slapdash programmers. Further graphical treats include some very impressive reflections on the court, and for emphatic attention to detail, facial expressions have been included for the first time, with players laughing, frowning or showing blank indifference, depending on the situation. As well as over 30 unique facial expressions, each NBA player has his own facial features accurately represented. Among those that the casual sports fan may recognise are Shaquille O'Neal and Dennis Rodman, the former due to his freak 7' 1" stature, and the latter courtesy of his extravagantly coloured barnet, which actually changes hue throughout the game. Mercifully though, Rodman's penchant for wearing women's clothing is left unexplored. The tit.

Dream Team

All very impressive, but if there's no playable game attached you might as well squint at some televised basketball. Thankfully, EA Sports' quality control has pervaded, and NBA Live 99 plays like a proverbial dream. Not a dream in the sense of a fragmented, confusing journey into the outer reaches of your fragile psyche, but as in a very good thing.

The control system is both instinctive and responsive, enabling the virgin player to start slam-dunking within minutes. For a more simplistic approach, it's possible to get away with employing a rudimentary pass-and-shoot strategy. This is effective enough on the easiest setting, but for more ostentatious play there are enough fancy moves to satisfy a Harlem Globetrotter. A burst of speed is useful for getting past defenders - or the basketball equivalent - and an extravagant spin is handy for creating space to shoot, the moves performed easily enough to make the most cack-handed gamer look good.

Where basketball often falls down as a video game is in the inability to defend effectively. Because there are no slide tackles as such, all you can usually do is vaguely worry the attacking player, meaning that for approximately half the game you're not doing anything of note. NBA Live 99 counters this to an extent, as it is possible to back off from the oncoming attacker, as well as to attempt a steal.

Basket Case

The greatest compliment that can be paid to NBA Live 99 is that it makes basketball seem exciting. The games ebb and flow, and it's all about remaining within striking distance of your opponent's score. In fact, the game hinges more on misses than it does on successful scores. If you find yourself falling behind, there is a temptation to attempt more difficult three-point shots in order to claw back the difference. However, should this strategy fail it becomes a vicious circle, and you fall even further behind, with even more pressure to score. Ultimately, you have to at least be within contention in the final seconds. The excitement is tangible, and it often comes down to the final play, which either involves gratuitous time-wasting, or scoring so late that the other team can't reply. There aren't the orgasmic eruptions of football, but there is more of a constant intensity, building up to one victorious climax.

This is the fifth instalment in the NBA Live series. However, under the new regime of Reviews Editor, Paul 'Harsh But Fair' Mallinson, we can't dish out Classic ratings indiscriminately, particularly for such a niche title. Having said that, NBA Live 99 is a great game - it's a near-perfect representation of the sport - and if basketball games are your thing, you should certainly buy this game.

Download NBA Live 99

Nintendo 64 Download

System requirements:

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

PC Download

System requirements:

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

Playstation Download

System requirements:

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

Game Reviews

NBA Live '99 is ready to start the season (even if the pros aren't) with one of the most spectacular-looking basketball games on the PlayStation.

In Your Face. Fool!

Even though the start of the NBA season is still in doubt, gamers can look forward to creating some oncourt magic of their own as NBA Live '99 laces up the Chucks for more in-your-face action. Adding spice to an already outstanding title, EA Sports is focusing on upping the graphical ante by including beefed-up (and we mean "beefed") player models that sport outstanding detail. Plus, for additonal flair, players will now react to in-game situations with animated facial expressions: You'll notice players showing elation after big-time dunks or frowning after making a bone-headed mistake. Another cool innovation for those with access to the Internet is the ability to use InterAct's DexDrive (see "The Cutting Edge," October) to download updated rosters from EA's homepage onto a memory card so that when the season finally does start, you'll be instantly up-to-date.

As for features, Live includes all the standards, plus new on-court sounds, such as player chatter or coach alerts when the clock is winding down. It also promises an enhanced Arcade mode with Jam-style dunks, the ability to play up to 10 seasons as any team with players' attributes changing throughout their careers, direct dunking (like in last year's Shoot Out), and, finally, a Practice mode.

Will the A.I. Jump?

The preview version we played featured the same tried-and-tme gameplay that Live hoopsters are used to--including, unfortunately, the floating effect as players run upcouil. The game's A.I.--which has been the downfall of previous Lives--has yet to be finalized, so it's difficult to say right now if this major shortcoming has been improved. However, if EA does a little tinkering between now and NBA Live's release, gamers will be too busy throwin' down the virtual rock to notice there's a lockout.

Scorching the net with rim-ratting gameplay and in-your-face graphics, NBA Live '99 gives basketball fans what they have come to expect from the stellar series. The game does have its flaws, but the total package is well worth the money--especially when video game basketball might be the only hoops being played this season, even by the pros.

That's the Jam

Live '99 slams your eyes with the most realistic looking player models and deke moves to date.This year, the players not only sport their real-life faces, but actually make facial expressions depending on whats happening in the game. After a monster dunk,you'll see your player look hard at his beaten defender, or you might see him flash a smile. Superstar Antoine Walker modeled for all the motion-captured player moves, and every movement from the tomahawk jam to the cross-over dribble looks NBA authentic.

But Lives not all about flash as it also offers the frantic up-and-down-the-court action bailers demand.The game features Exhibition, Season, Playoff Practice, and Three-Point Shootout modes. If you're an NBA nut, you can play authentic-style basketball in Sim mode (Super-star level is hard as hell, kid). Or, if you like your games buzzing by with high scoring and even higher jumping, you can turn Live to Arcade mode and watch the leather fly.

Out of Bounds

Where Live chokes somewhat, however, is in the area of player control. You have all the great moves of the NBA, like scoop shots and reverse dunks, but your players do some seriously wacky things-- especially on. You get called for illegal defense sometimes for no apparent reason--and don't even think about trying to block a shot near the basket or you'll get whistled for goal tending. On offense, you can now use shoulder fakes and stutter steps to juke defenders but the new Direct Shot doesn't work nearly as well as NBA Shoot Out 98s.

ProTips:

  • Pressuring your opponent's point guard from end-to-end will cost them precious shot dock seconds.
  • Use picks at the top of the key to free up your point guard for a three-point bomb.
  • You need at least one scorer on your bench If you hope to contend for a championship.
  • Use pump fakes to draw your defender in the air, then shoot over them as they're on their way down.
  • Continue to pass the ball around until you find the open man. Don't lust run up court and shoot or you'll get slaughtered.

Graphics

Live captures every player detail perfectly from hilarious facial expressions to Iversons cornrows. No PlayStation basketball game yet can match Live '99's Hall of Fame graphics.

Control

You have all the moves at your fingertips; it's pulling them off that's the problem.The players don't float around the court anymore, but spme frustrating things still happen on the hardwood.

Sound

The play-by-play is fun and accurate (although a bit late), and the crowd gets excited at all the right times. Players even yell out during the game things like "Go" and "Watch your back!"

Fun Factor

Lives mad dunks, frantic gameplay, and cool graphics make it a solid purchase for basketball fans,.especially bailers who'ye followed the series from game one.

People say:

9

Yes! I was thinking I would never see a great basketball game until the new systems came out but here's one right on the PlayStation. NBA Live 99 incorporates all the fanciest bells and whistles in the book and somehow manages to be a great-playing simulation. The control is classic Live with new tweaks that take advantage of the Dual Shock. Everyone has some type of "showtime" button, but Live takes it several steps further. You can perform fake crossovers, fake passes, shots--just about anything. The cool part is, it works. There's also a new move that lets you back into the defender, then execute a quick turn and leave him in your dust. This move isn't automatic and takes skill to master, especially in tougher Al levels. The players look great with lots of animation and even facial features like grinning and opening their mouths. I can go on and on aoout all the neat little touches, but all of it wouldn't mean diddly if the game didn't play right. The Al, the controls and the overall speed of the game are down pat. I feel like I'm gushing a bit too much, but you just can't understand how frustrating it's been playing through games like Shoot Out and Kobe Bryant and knowing how close those games were to being truly great. Luckily, Live has stepped in and showed them how it's done.

9

After several years of having ridiculously easy CPU Al in their NBA Live games, EA seems to have finally gotten it right. Not only have they improved their game on all aesthetical levels (the player faces are a kick, even if they're not very useful), but they've actually made it somewhat challenging, too. The new moves are easy to pick up. and make offensive control even better than before. Too bad the lockout is killing my enthusiasm.

9

Wow, I'm impressed. First off, the players look great. Extensive shading along with real facial expressions make them look very convincing. New mo-cap animation has done wonders for realism as well. But more importantly, the "easy gameplay" syndrome of the past has been fixed. No more repetitive cheap jams, it's all strategic now. Honestly, this thing looks and plays better than any other basketball sim on any platform.

9

EA's N8A Live series always has taken a step backward for every one forward, but Live 99 has nothing but improvements. It comes packed with a ridiculous amount of features, great-looking graphics (the players even change facial expressions), and a smart computer opponent. The only major fault with the game is that the player animations and frame-rate are a little choppy. This is the best PS basketball simulation out there.

Shown for the first time at E3, EA's NBA Live 99 seems to be coming along quite nicely. Although the Nintendo 64 is no longer starved for hoops games, the system still could use an in-depth one. That's reason enough to be glad that EA is finally bringing their basketball franchise to the N64.

After having just about every feature implemented in the Live series that could possibly be stuffed into a basketball game (three-point shootout, player trades, creation and signings, "NBA on TNT" presentation, and tons of coaching options) it seems like the only thing left unconquered is competent artificial intelligence. Stan Chow, producer of NBA Live 99 commented that the Al would be improved this year as well as the post-up game, but also added that "sometimes fun and reality work against each other, and in the instances where they do, fun must prevail." Indeed, but recent basketball games like Nintendo's Courtside have proven that the two can coexist. Aesthetically, Live 99 should enjoy some modest improvement thanks to newly redone motion-capture and of course, the N64's 3D prowess.

With improved graphics and a ton of features, NBA Live 99 will certainly be a great, fun basketball game. Hopefully, it will even manage to become a smarter and more realistic one too.

  • MANUFACTURER - EA Sports
  • THEME - Sports
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4

People say:

8.0

What could be better than NBA Live 99 coming out for the N64? Maybe a Dreamcast version? Anyway, it's about time Live came out for the basketball-starved system. One can only play NBA Courtside for so long. My first impression of Live 99 is that it looks and feels like a deluxe version of Live 98. Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing--unless, of course, you're expecting some sort of radical new design fueled by the N64's magical processor. Don't anticipate that. Instead, expect a competent new edition to the Live series featuring classic NBA Live gameplay, good animation and a "different" Arcade Mode. That's the good news. The bad news is, it's still kind of easy. Even on Superstar setting it's not hard at all to turbo up the lane for the easy dunk. But that's what a lot of people like about the game, so no big deal, I guess. I'd like to see a bit more technique (like in NBA Courtside) but I'm not too disappointed. I'm disappointed in the Arcade Mode though. It's basically cartoon sounds, a few fire effects and exaggerated jumping-nothing to write home about. Overall the game doesn't break any new ground, but It does offer the N64 owner a very good basketball simulation. And considering that there hasn't been a truly awe-inspiring sports game for the N64 yet, that's high praise.

8.0

NBA Live 99 is a real solid b-ball game that, like its PS counterparts, has one glaring problem: It's too easy! Single-player games against the CPU are a joke, even on the highest difficulty setting. The graphics and animation are nice, as is the control, but ultimately the lack of challenge makes it an unworthy iP game. Multiplayer is a ton of fun, though, and kids will probably dig the Jam-like Arcade Mode. Overall, I prefer Courtside.

6.5

It looks like the first hoops sim for the N64 (Kobe Bryant) is still the best one. NBA Live is a decent title, but the choppy animation and erratic frame-rate ruin any chance of this game upsetting the current champ. And what's up with the players running a good 100 mph with the turbo button depressed? At least this title comes with a very goofy NBA jam-style game. This Arcade Mode, although tacked on, is rather fun.

7.5

Live 99 for the N64 is a strong basketball game for sure, but it has the unfortunate job of going up against NBA.Courtside, which is an overall better game. If you like your b-ball on the easy side, Live may be a better choice for you, because the CPU Al is a joke. But on the whole, there's not much here that hasn't been done before. As with all EA games, Live 99 is real polished, though I have to ask--wassup with that lame Arcade Mode?

Bugs Bunny once played basketball, it's just a shame he's not in this!

How many basketball games can there be? Loads of different companies keep on churning them out like sausages, but no matter how many times a slam-dunking release creeps on to the shelves, one common theme binds them all together. They're all exactly the same. Choose a team, change it around, play some games and win a trophy. For a revolutionary game to arrive in the basketball market would be like Elvis crash-landing his flying saucer on top of the Loch Ness Monster. We shall continue.

Slam Dunk Junk?

So then, we've established what a game must do to succeed in the saturated sports market. It must perform superbly; offer compelling gameplay and look the dog's danglies. Unfortunately; you get the impression EA isn't really that concerned about quality just so long as the money kept coming in. Aesthetically, NBA Live '99 is shrouded in that fuzzy haze that we've become used to and all the rainbow hues of the NBA teams just come in a dull soupish colour. Individual players are animated well and are a pleasure to control, but when gathered together under a net the collection of jumping bodies and waving limbs make it hard to distinguish who's who. To help out in that particular sticky situation your team mates are thankfully very intelligent They call to you to announce their positions, they block the opposition and more often than not they help to slam a basket home with their amazing passing ability. One staggering new aspect that can't be ignored is the Al -it's here in bountiful supply and it works!

Slam Dunk Hunk?

NBA Live '99 certainly does seem to take itself seriously as a real basketball sim, and not only does it offer a good on-court ball-bouncing experience, but EA has also crammed in every stat and aspect of managing a team you could imagine. We're surprised you don't have to tie their laces before your team comes on to play!

There are two sides to this coin though, because the menus are so user-unfriendly you end up praying for a quickstart button to save you the task of ripping the hair from your head. Not to worry, if you are a serious basketball fan then finding your way about the menus would probably be a pleasure. If you are a serious fan though, it's likely you will already have an NBA game that satisfies your craving.

The likelihood of anyone rushing to the shops to buy this is slim, because it is virtually the same as everything that has gone before it - the only real difference is the liberal sprinkling of Al dusted on top. If you are yet to get bitten by the basketball bug (and who isn't?) then this should be considered. Remember though, look at all the basketball games on the market before choosing this one. There are so many out at the moment an almost identical title could be picked up at a fraction of the price.

2nd rating opinion

Another baggy-ball game arrives 'from down town' and as far as I'm concerned, it should have stayed there. Not a patch on Nintendo's NBA Courtside, but it has its moments. The effective 'icon passing' system provides a reasonable afternoon's entertainment.

It's not easy developing a basketball game. First of all, there's two types of sports-game fans to appease when you make a sports game: the sim-freak, and the arcade-nut. The sim-freak wants the detailed stat-tracking and meticulous attention to detail, while the arcade-nut wants no-holds-barred action and thrills. It's usually impossible to do both things right and come up with a game that will satisfy everybody. More often than not, titles like this wind up being good at nothing in particular and less satisfying than if they merely concentrated on one style of game.

EA Sports hopes to change all that with the release of their newest basketball title, NBA Live 99. Now, anyone who knows EA, knows that they usually throw everything but the kitchen sink into their games, but have recently had difficulty making the transition successfully into 3D. However, with Madden 99, and now NBA Live 99, it seems as if they're ready to put all that behind them, as Live 99 features some of the most gorgeous basketball graphics on the PlayStation yet.

It's difficult to convey how realistic these players look and move unless you see the game, but it's quite impressive. The courts also look fantastic, with gorgeous reflections and polygonal bleachers raising the level of detail. Additionally, anyone with a Dual-Shock controller will appreciate the dead-on control and the feeling of every slam-dunk hitting home.

Among the new features in Live 99 are a GM Mode (which allows you to participate in a full draft), direct dunking, new player reactions, head-tracking, funky new music and an Arcade Mode. Another striking feature is the Instant Replay Mode, which is positioned to give you the most dynamic view of your most recent swoosh or slam. The interesting part is that the whole thing replays in black-and-white, except for the man who made the play, who is featured in full-color. It's a nice cinematic touch that adds a level of polish to the game. The soundtrack is also of note, as its funky tracks add an element of excitement to the already super-charged proceedings. As usual, new highlight films and FMVs of cheerleaders in action (yeah!) round out the typically glossy EA presentation.

The problem with many of the recent basketball games have been either sluggish gameplay or compromises in control, mostly due to canned animations resulting from the method of motion-capturing used to make these games so realistic. Whether or not NBA Live 99 sidesteps these pitfalls remains to be seen. While it certainly looks great, the jury's still out on the actual gameplay. We'll have a complete version soon enough though, and if the control and fun factor match the visuals, PlayStation owners jonesing for a kick-butt basketball game certainly have something to look forward to this winter.

Gamer's Edge

This is probably the most common knowledge in videogame basketball, but it's worth mentioning again. The best place to release the ball is at the top of your jump. If you manage to get it right, not only will you be sinking the rock like a guy named Jordan, but the threes will be forthcoming and plentiful. This will serve you better in the long run, as it gives you more versatility, rather than always trying to slam the ball. All the better to bury your opponent with, right? Get in a rhythm and watch as the opposing team runs over itself trying to get at you.

  • MANUFACTURER - EA Sports
  • THEME -Sport
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-8

EA Sports' Hall of Fame basketball series returns for another season with the hope of continuing the tradition of excellence it established in past titles.

Live Got Game

NBA Live '99 promises sliek gamcplay and authentic NBA action with an enhanced A.I. that will Have players reacting realistically to situations on the court. This1 year, if you're attempting to post up in the paint and get double-teamed, one of your teammates will try to gel open for a three-point bomb instead of just standing around.

Live also sports a new General Manager mode that enables you to draft a custom team and play up to 10 seasons with your players' attributes changing throughout the years. And if your game isn't quite up to superstar standards, you can fine-tune your shots and dunks on an outdoor practice court.

Spree with Glee

Live's phat graphics show amazing detail in the players, including over 30 facial expressions that will change depending on what's happening in (he game. Players will laugh, jump in another player's face, and even frown after making a mistake.

Also adding to the realism in the game are the new on-court sounds, including player chatter and coaches yelling "Watch the clock!" son might he in limbo, hut basketball fans needn't worry. NBA Live '99 should offer enough hoops to satisfy even the most hardcore fans.

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