With his review, Dale has thrown down the gauntlet on the myth of NBA Live's dominance over the genre and I'm right there beside him. I'm totally baffled as to how a game with so many flaws can get so much praise from the media. This game is far from flawless (as some have actually described it!). Most obviously are the esoteric menus, which befuddled me the point that it took me 10 minutes just to find the create-a-player feature (setting up a game would take another 5). Then there's the overall presentation. You do not know the meaning of ugly until you get a load of the graphics and animation in Live 2000. Looking at the audience and players during close-ups was so disgusting that it hurt my eyes! The frame rates were so choppy that it brought back horrid memories of playing games on a 386.

Moving right along, the game has terrible controls that were not only difficult to learn, but highly unresponsive. You cannot believe how many times I tried to drive into the lane and ended up out of bounds because the direct dunk option simply would not work! While we're on the subject of dunking, I've never seen a b-ball game make throwing down a rock so difficult. Almost every time I managed to get on the open floor (which was rare because the computer opponents would magically get in front of me even if I was trying to break away with Sprewell, who is arguably the fastest open-court player in today's NBA), the players would annoying pull up for jump shots when they could have just as easily laid it up or dunked it. I thought that employing the direct dunk option (players are able to select their type of shot in Live 2000) would alleviate that, but much to my frustration, that only led to dunks that incessantly rimmed out.

Those aren't the only things wrong with the gameplay either. The post-up plays are rendered useless because it's too slow on offense to beat the 3 second violation and too stagnate on defense to stop the slippery (described by Dale as if they were on 'skates') players. Jumping players also 'hang' so long in the air that they would be more accurately described as floating. This problem is glaring during one-on-one games where if I mistimed a jump (for a rebound or block), the computer would have time enough to recover the ball, clear it, and drive it to the hoop before I had even landed from that very same jump! Believe it or not, I could go on about the unrealistic ball stealing, the lack of league leaders tracking during the season modes, or the lack of resemblance in the models to their actual counterparts and I would still not have mentioned all the flaws in Live 2000.

There are a few bright spots like the dancing cheerleaders in the full-motion video, the resurgent one-on-one matchups (remember the old Dr. Jay vs. Bird games?), the realistic scores (despite the frequent misses of ridiculously easy buckets in order to achieve this), and did I mention the cheerleaders? But these bright spots are few and far between and are unable to hide the obvious, which is that this game is near-hideous from top to bottom and true basketball fans (who know that steals in a real game of hoops cannot be achieved by rapidly karate-chopping a player) should avoid this one like the plague. Rating: 4 out of 10

Chi Kong Lui

Chi Kong Lui

In the 1980s, Chi grew up in small town on the outskirts of New York City called Jackson Heights. Latino actor, John Leguizamo referred to the town as the "melting pot of the world," and while living there, Chi was exposed to many diverse cultures, as well as a bevy of arcade classics such as Pac-Man, Space Ace, Space Harrier and Double Dragon. Chi's love of videogames only seemed to grow as his parents finally caved and bought him an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (after being the only kid in the block without one). In the 1990s, Chi finagled his way into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Somewhere between all the gaming, Chi some how managed to finish high school and get into the New York Institute of Technology. At the same time, Chi also interned at Virtual Frontiers, an Internet software consultancy where he learned the ways of HTML. Soon after acquiring his BFA, Chi went on to become the lead Web designer of the Anti-Defamation League. During his tenure there, Chi was instrumental in redesigning and relaunching the non-profit organization's Web site.

Today, Chi is the webmaster of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and somehow managed to work through the tragic events of September 11th without losing his sanity. Chi considers GameCritics.com his life's work and continues to be amazed that the web site is still standing after the recent dotcom fallout. It is his dream that GameCritics.com will accomplish two things: 1) Redefine the grammar of videogames much the same way French film critic Andre Bazin did for the art of cinema and 2) bring game criticism to the forefront of mainstream culture much the same way Siskel & Ebert did for film criticism.
Chi Kong Lui

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