Get your kicks with FIFA 99
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1999. First
published in Vancouver Computes,
for Windows PC (P-133 w. 16 megs RAM) or Sony
What?s the world?s most popular sport?
Nope?not NBA basketball, not hockey?we said the world,
Score a point if you said ?soccer?, or as the rest of
the world knows
Game maker Electronic Arts owns the rights to market
games under the
name of ?FIFA?, the international soccer federation, and they?ve been
the franchise for all it?s worth. Last year being a World Cup year, the
first released FIFA 98: Road to the World Cup, then followed it up with
World Cup 98.
This year, things are back to normal in the soccer
world, so we just
get a standard release: FIFA 99. Still, the game has been getting rave
reviews?the British GameSpot web site, for example, rated it 11 out of
10 (shades of Spinal Tap!)
Go see what all the fuss was about, we tossed PC and
at Joey, our designated teen game player.
He found the program a nice update to last year?s
version. Joey reported
that both platforms sport nicer-looking graphics than last year?s duo,
with more muted, more realistic looking colours. The weather feature
works?no more sunny days if you?ve picked ?rain?. Players look more
having individual heights and even emotions. Watch a green-carded
grumble and complain as he leaves the field!
Improved animation makes the players quicker and more
for the first time, you get some control over the goalkeeper. Even if
don?t control the goalie, he has more moves, for an all-around more
The game moves back from last year?s international
competition to focus
on national leagues. Pick a country, and you can choose from a wide
of teams?240. Manchester United vs. Arsenal? No problem. Or go Italian.
Or set an Swedish team against Brazilian one, if you prefer.
Like other new EA Sports games, there?s a new Training
mode, along with
the ability to play an entire season or create a European Dream League.
Last year?s Shoot Out mode has been replaced with a Golden Goal mode,
the first side to get 5 goals wins. Of course, there?s a Quick Match
if you just want to play a match or two. Joey felt that last year?s
level was too easy?this time around it?s more challenging, while still
within range of a new player.
What?s missing? No Internet play (though multiple
players can interact
via modem or network). Joey wanted a few features that got dropped in
transition from last year?s version: the Shoot Out mode, and the indoor
stadium option. For these lacks, Joey rated the game at 8 out of
a possible 10 points.
If you have either of last year?s versions, you could
happily skip a
year?the improvements, while real, are relatively modest. But if you
why Soccer is the world?s most popular sport, you?ll want to give this
game a go.