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SGN's E3 1999 Final Thoughts

SGN will be providing E3 coverage for all you sports nuts who were not able to get into E3. All of the E3 sports titles which we get a chance to try out will be posted here, while all the press releases, fact sheets and screen shots are posted on

Coverage on Individual E3 Sports Titles

Final Impressons from Andy

E3 was a great show for sports games this year. Racing fans had too many titles to count to check out, and there were even some pleasant surprises such as Fox's NBA game, Bass Landing and Prince Naseem Boxing. As Matt mentioned in one of his reports, the Dreamcast is looking to be a sports gamer' (sorry, I had to say it). Once you see the Dreamcast NFL and NBA games in action, you'll know what we mean.

I think what really impressed me most about those titles is not just the graphical quality (we all knew they'd look great), but the attention to detail that Sega is using the DC's power to build into the games. For instance, in NBA 2000, you can actually see individual members of the crowd, and they react to what is happening on the court (i.e. harassing free-throw shooters, etc.). In NFL 2000, the physics of tackling goes far beyond two polygonal players touching each other and falling down. And these observations were made with limited playing time in a noisy, crowded environment. I'm sure that serious time spent with these games will increase the drool-factor even more.

Other quick notes and highlights for me were: Colin McRae Rally looked (and played) great - keep an eye out for this one, European PGA Golf by Gremlin has a potentially stunning analog swing feature that should make a huge impact on the way console golf games are played, Fox's NBA game looks extremely promising, Bass Landing is a fishing sim for the PSX that will come packed with its own very sweet fishing rod controller (like the one for Get Bass on the DC) with force-feedback, and Prince Naseem Boxing may finally do the sport justice on the PSX (I never found the PSX version of Ready 2 Rumble - I hear it was buried at the back of Midway's booth, unlike the DC version that was everywhere).

The biggest disappointments of the show would have to be 989's decision to only show already-released product (no Gameday, Faceoff, or Xtreme 2000), Blitz 2000 on the DC looked lackluster, NFL QB Club on the DC (what little was showing) looked just plain sad next to NFL 2000, Gran Turismo 2 was shown in such a way that a lot of attention was attracted to it, but only a scant number of systems were actually set up to play (making it very difficult to get a chance to play it at all) and finally, even though there were more than enough driving games being shown for the DC, many of them lacked any sort of excitement. Ultimately it will be tough for gamers to differentiate between many of them.

Final Impressons from Matt

As I left E3 this year, my most immediate impression was that I was sold on the Dreamcast. Going into the show, I had skeptical feelings about Sega's new machine and wondered if I would just hold out until the PSX II next year. Forget it. Unlike the Nintendo 64, which had few quality sports titles for its first year, the Dreamcast will be a great console for sports fans right out of the box, with at least three top-notch sports games slotted to be available this fall (NFL 2000, NBA 2000, and Ready 2 Rumble Boxing). Start saving your money now.

Meanwhile, the PSX continues to be a great console for sports gamers. EA Sports' fall lineup once again looks very strong. Madden looks and sounds better, and promises even better AI this season. NCAA 2000, one of the best sports titles on any console last year, is faster and richer graphically, with an expanded and improved dynasty mode. NHL 2000 looks to combine the best of NHL98 and NHL99, plus a new career mode. Aside from EA, Fox Sports, 989, Midway, Konami, and other developers will continue to provide quality competition for sports action on the PSX.

On the N64, Acclaim continues to set high standards for animation and visual effects. While their attempts to raise the IQ of Quarterback Club 2000 remain to be seen, there's no question that the game will be a graphical treat. And NBA Jam 2000 looks great already, with a legitimate five-on-five NBA simulation mode, coupled with a classic-style, wacky arcade mode that runs on a completely separate game engine. N64 hoops fans will get two games in one with NBA Jam 2000.

Some downers at E3: Where was Gameday? For the second year in a row, 989 kept its football franchise out of sight. Not a good sign for a football title that took a step backwards last year and needs to re-establish itself as a serious contender for the PSX football crown. Also, NFL Blitz is already beginning to look old. Midway will need to be more creative with its rock-em, sock-em football franchise before it wears out its welcome.

(note: some of the following games will be released for platforms in addition to those listed, but those versions were not shown at E3)

Most Promising Game:
Andy Matt
1. NFL 2000 (DC) 1. NFL 2000 (DC)
2. Ready 2 Rumble (DC) 2. NCAA 2000 (PSX)
3. NBA 2000 (DC) 3. Madden 2000 (PSX/PC)
4. Rallymasters (PSX, PC) 4. NBA 2000 (DC)
5. European PGA Golf (PSX) 5. NBA Jam 2000 (N64)

Best New Game (not from an existing franchise):
Andy Matt
1. NFL 2000 (DC) 1. NFL 2000 (DC)
2. Ready 2 Rumble (DC) 2. NBA 2000 (DC)
3. NBA 2000 (DC) 3. NFL Fever (PC)
4.Colin McRae Rally (PSX, PC) 4. Ready 2 Rumble (DC)
5. Bass Landing (PSX) 5. Fox NBA 2000 (PSX/PC)

Best Update to an Existing Franchise:
Andy Matt
1. Madden 2000 (PSX, PC) 1. NHL 2000 (PC)
2. European PGA Golf (Actua Golf series) (PSX) 2. NCAA 2000 (PSX)
3. Ken Griffey Jr.'s Slugfest (N64) 3. Madden 2000 (PSX/PC)
4. NCAA 2000 (PSX, PC) 4. NBA Jam 2000 (N64)
5. FIFA 2000 (PSX, PC) 5. Quarterback Club 2000 (N64)

Worst Update:
Andy Matt
NFL Blitz 2000 (DC) NFL Blitz 2000 (All)

Best Driving Game:
Andy Matt
1. Colin McRae Rally (PSX, PC)
2. Sega Rally 2 (DC)
3. C.A.R.T. Racing (DC) (As an admitted racing ignoramus, Matt P will recuse himself from this category)
4. Rallymasters (PSX, PC)
5. XLeration (DC)

Sleepers (games that won’t get all the hype, but deserve it):
Andy Matt
1. High Heat Baseball (PSX) 1. NCAA 2000 (PSX)
2. Bass Landing (PSX) 2. NBA Jam 2000 (N64)
3. European PGA Golf (PSX) 3. Fox NBA 2000 (PSX/PC)
4. Fox NBA 2000 (PSX) 4. NFL Fever (PC)
5. Rallymasters (PSX, PC) 5. Bass Landing (PSX)

Biggest Disappointments:
Andy Matt
1. Gameday 2000? Anyone? 1. Gameday 2000 (PSX)
2. Blitz 2000 (DC) 2. Blitz 2000
3. Gran Turismo 2 - very few systems meant little if any playtime 3. QB Club 2000 (DC)
4. QB Club 2000 (DC) 4. WWF Mayhem (PSX)
5. Konami Rally 5. Backyard Football (PC)

"Must Buys" for each system:
Andy Matt
DC: NFL 2000 DC: NFL 2000
PSX: Colin McRae Rally PSX: Madden 2000
N64: Ken Griffey Jr.'s Slugfest N64: NBA Jam 2000
PC: Colin McRae Rally PC: NHL 2000

That's all folks! Hope you enjoyed our E3 coverage. Please send us any comments or suggestions regarding our E3 coverage. Thanks to Andy and Matt for their role in our very first E3 coverage.

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