With their flagship Saturn console not performing as well as they'd hoped, Sega have turned their hand to publishing PC software. The latest release to come out of their Sega Sports division is the basketball sim, NBA Action 98.

As an officially licensed product, the game features all 29 NBA teams and some 320 players, with the notable exception of Michael Jordan. You can play just a single exhibition match, an entire season, or, if you haven't got the patience for that, you can jump right to the play-offs. Alternatively, you can play against a friend in a network game or indulge in some remote play using a modem.

This is more of a straightforward simulator than most of the console- based basketball games, - so, if you're expecting flaming balls or helicopter dunks, you'll be disappointed. However, the gameplay is addictive and the motion-captured players look very impressive. This is complemented by an unobtrusive and accurate commentary.

But before you rush down to the shops to pick up your copy, you might want to consider upgrading your PC as you won't get the best out of the game unless you've got a top-end machine. It's designed to run with the new MMX technology, and, though it does have downward compatibility, the performance won't be nearly as good.

If you like basketball and you've got the equipment to handle it, NBA Action 98 is a very competent simulator. But, if you're not a big fan of the sport and your PC is only slightly more powerful than a pocket calculator, this probably isn't for you.

On release, pounds 39.99

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