Have your own World Cup
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1998. First
published in Vancouver Computes,
FIFA 98?The Road to the World Cup
World Cup 98
Both by Electronic Arts-Canada
Requires a Pentium-100, 16 megs RAM, 100 megs of drive space, running
Windows 95 with DirectX 5.0.
The non-stop soccer blitz of the just-completed World
Cup series should
have reminded us all that the world?s most popular sport isn?t
hockey or US-style football, but instead is that sport that most of the
world calls football?soccer.
Of course, computer screens aren?t immune to the
soccer mania. And while
the real World Cup was underway, our never-resting 14-year old test
was busy recreating key matches, using two soccer simulation games,
98?The Road to the World Cup and World Cup 98.
Unlike previous game comparisons, both of these games
by a single company?Electronic Arts, from their Burnaby, BC-based
headquarters. FIFA 98 came out last Fall, while World Cup replaced it
prior to the start of actual World Cup play. (We tried to get a copy of
Microsoft Soccer for this comparison, but Microsoft is no longer
Not surprisingly, there are a lot of similarities
between EA?s two games.
Both offer attractive, 3D game play, with a wide range of national
Both feature the same, English-accented announcer. The titles just
sum up the key differences between the two games.
FIFA 98 focuses on the road to the Cup?rather than
start with national
teams, you can compete for the right to represent your nation. As a
there are more teams (189 at the beginning of the series!), and more
on the road to the World Cup. World Cup 98, by contrast, starts you
off with national teams at the Cup itself?a mere 48. The two games
different stadiums?the boys particularly liked the wooden-floored
stadium that?s one of FIFA 98?s 16 venues.
Both games offer similar game-play, and a striking
level of realism.
From the appearance of the grass, to the dejected look as the losing
walks away, either of these games are life-like. The announcing,
after scoring and a choice of camera-angles add to the sense of
World Cup play on television?but being able to control the play
World Cup 98 includes some extras in this
for instance. But both games are smooth and attractive.
Both games are easy to get started with, and can be
played pretty competitively
with just the basic moves. But both offer lots of possibilities for
as well. You want fancy moves? You?ve got Pele-style bicycle kicks and
more?as much more as you take the time to learn to control.
As well, both games offer a wealth of management
features. Set your
team?s strategy to maximum offense, and watch them go crazy on the
Tweak players? individual statistics. World Cup one-ups FIFA, adding
ability to set up custom formations pre-game, which can be called into
play at the touch of a button.
Artificial intelligence lets your computer control
your opponent. And
it?s smart enough so that it feels like a different game depending on
you?re up against. The defense can be pretty tough. World Cup?s virtual
goalkeepers are more versatile, and less easily faked out than FIFA?s.
As well, that game seems to feature more realistic refereeing.
While FIFA features far more teams, World Cup offers
the option to
replay great teams from past Cups. The 1966 games are in black and
and all historic games feature haircuts and shorts from the past. Good
In short, either game is spectacular! FIFA offers more
teams and a longer
series, while World Cup gives slight improvements in look and play,
focusing entirely on the Cup series itself. You don?t need both, but
gives you the chance to rewrite soccer history, and with your skill,
your team to the top.
Microsoft joins race for baseball pennant
Microsoft Baseball 3D
requires: Pentium 133, 16 megs RAM, 45 megs drive space,
Microsoft?s Baseball 3D (created by Whizbang Software)
came our way
too late for inclusion in the July issue?s
of Electronic Arts? Triple Play 99 and Accolade?s Hardball 6.
While the two games earlier reviewed support 3D video
they run fine without them. Microsoft?s product requires a 3D
It does support of wide range of 3D hardware. The result is a new level
of realism. Each player has a unique face, and even a unique batting
and their own batting rituals.
Because Microsoft didn?t start by porting a
Playstation game to the
PC, the interface offers computer-style drag and drop to control
lineups, pitching rotations, and more. The realism carries through to
games? physics?balls bounce differently on natural grass than
for example. Announcing, however, lacks a colour commentator, which
Triple Play 98 much of its flavor. The game also lacks the coaching
of its competitors, and has only minimal team management, choosing to
on arcade-like action.
The game offers exhibition and 162-game season play.
over the Internet is not supported, though Microsoft is promising a
to add this feature. While appearance is exceptional, gameplay needs
tweaking?it can be set to be very easy, or very hard, but needs some
Overall?a rookie game with great potential, but in a
tough league. Microsoft
has shown a bad tendency to drop games after the first version, rather
than sticking around to develop them over the long haul. We hope they
continue to build on the promise of Baseball 3D.