Two sports games team up for action
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1995. First
published in Our Computer Player, May 1995
review of Electronic Arts 'FIFA International
Soccer' and NHL Hockey
Electronic Arts has teamed up with several of the
governing bodies of
pro-sports, in releasing perhaps the most realistic sports-games yet.
FIFA International Soccer gets into World Cup play, as
the player gets
to select one of 48 national teams, and attempts to guide it to the
Similarly, NHL Hockey 95 carries the blessings of both
the NHL and the
Players Association, in what was almost the only hockey action in this
year's strike-shortened season.
The games are available in both floppy disk and CD-ROM
well as versions for the major game-system platforms. We took a look at
the CD-ROM versions of both games. Despite being on CD-ROM, each
quite a few files onto the users' hard disk... in FIFA's case, about
megs worth, while NHL Hockey demands a whopping 13.5 megs. This allows
each game to play more quickly and smoothly than would be possible
off the CD disk.
They also require reasonably hefty hardware-- the
hockey game suggests
a 386-33 or faster, with at least 4 megs of ram. And some users will
into problems with DOS's infamous 640kb memory limit; they may find it
difficult to free up enough ram, while loading both their sound card
and their cd-rom player.
In that case, the documentation walks the user through
the process of
creating a boot floppy, loading the necessary drivers... but even then,
keep your fingers crossed. Even with a boot floppy, some users have had
to drop sound support in order to play the cd-rom version. (Both
run under Windows 95, in Single Session mode, which in my tests,
sound and cd-rom drivers to be used).
Once you've got the games running, you can choose to
get right down
to play, or to spend time as team manager. This can be as involved as
choose to make it; as hockey manager, for example, you can trade
or even create new rookies-- the teams start off with the real rosters
of the 1995 season.
There's less of this nature in soccer-- after all,
Germany and Brazil
aren't able to trade players from their national teams.
As well, you can play an individual game, or part of
an ongoing series,
leading up to either the Stanley Cup, or soccer's World Cup. Since you
won't be able to play an entire season in a sitting, you can save your
series, and resume play later.
Both games support keyboard play, but can be best
enjoyed with a joystick
or Nintendo-style game controller. NHL Hockey, in fact, recommends the
Gravis GamePad controller, and can be purchased bundled together with a
GamePad. (Is it a coincidence that both Gravis and Electronic Arts both
have large facilities in Burnaby, BC?)
With a good controller, game action is fast, fluid,
accurate. All four controller buttons can be supported, permitting a
range of moves-- bicycle kicks, diving headers, heel passes, and slide
tackles in soccer, for example, or fake shots and drop passes in
And the cd-rom versions fill the disk with added
frills-- more realistic
sounds and music, and between games sportscasts and locker room shots.
The game pans the ice (or playing field) like good tv coverage. EA
that the crowd noises are digitized recordings of spectators at real
a minor detail, but an indication of their commitment to realism.
Either of these games is a worthwhile addition to any
computer-game player's collection.