You could count the number of man-hours lost through playing World Cup 98 lasl summer at the office on one hand - but you'd need the help of the entire population of Canada to hold out both hands before you came anywhere near an accurate estimation. Finally, after what seemed like years of trying, EA Sports had managed to marry an almost perfect blend of graphics, control and gameplay and produce a football game that played as good as it looked.
It was by no means perfect, however. Despite the introduction of a variable speed feature, it still wasn't as smooth as Gremlin's Actua Soccer. The hundreds of motion-captured moves meant the players' actions might have been more realistic, but uninterruptible animations meant you didn't always feel in total control. The AI - the weak point of so many football games - was still often questionable, especially where the goalkeepers were concerned. Why the hell did the ball fly off the pitch when you tried to retrieve it from close to the sideline? It may be only a few months since World Cup 98 was released, but the developers have been beavering away on FIFA 99 since the end of last year. They've looked long and hard at their best-selling World Cup game and listened to the feedback and criticisms that were levelled at WC98. The result is a faster, smoother and even more playable game than before.
Yep, FIFA 99 is even better than World Cup 98, and that really is saying something. All the above niggles have been addressed to varying degrees and. overall. FIFA 99 is a lot less frustrating and a damn sight more enjoyable than previous FIFA games. Okay, it may not look that different, but it's certainly a lot smoother, with a 20-odd per cent increase in the frame rate. As well as a whole host of new moves, there are now interruptible animations, so you no longer have to wait for your players to complete their animation cycles before attempting a new action. The AI is still a little suspect at times, but the CPU-controlled players now get into better positions and there's a panic button you can press that causes your keeper to come screaming off his line and retrieve the ball.
New 'binding logic' means you can run up to and retrieve the ball from the touch line without it flying into orbit and, perhaps most significantly, you can now chest the ball down to other players and turn a lot quicker, which speeds the game up no end. There's a whole host of tournaments, leagues and custom competitions to take part in, as well as EA Sports' own European Super League. The presentation is up to the usual high standard and the commentary, sound effects and music are in a different league (ahem) from the competition. You can even edit and transfer players and play almost instantly with just two clicks of the mouse, thanks to a handy new 'Quick Start' option.
So what's wrong with it? Well, the keepers tend to parry the ball into their own net a bit too often, and the AI is still questionable at times, though this is an area that, arguably, no developer has been able to perfect. It's also still way too easy to win the ball from an opponent and make successful tackles. When you have possession, you really should be able to shield the ball from the opposition before playing the next pass or taking a shot. Because the tackles come flying in so quickly, you're often forced to pass the ball almost immediately or almost certainly lose it.
Keeping possession against an opponent who's got the hang of tackling is very difficult indeed, which means it can become a bit of a slog in the middle of the pitch. That said, once you've mastered a couple of the special 'skill' moves, retaining possession does become a lot easier. Not only do you Keep the ball more, but the look on your opponent's face when you skip past him after pulling off a couple of 360 Rocastles for the first time is a moment to cherish forever. We've also discovered two 'score almost every time' moves which the play-testers obviously missed - which makes the whole thing a bit predictable unless you both agree to ignore such tactics.
Overall, FIFA 99 represents a worthy successor to WC98 and it's a much more playable and enjoyable experience. If you bought WC 98 a few months ago, you'll probably feel a bit narked at having to shell out another 40 quid for what is in many ways an upgrade, and who can blame you? But if you want the best football game available for the PC, you'll have to just put aside your qualms and buy FIFA 99. Look on the bright side: you'll probably get around 15 for World Cup 98 at your local swap shop.
Download FIFA '99
If you dismiss FIFA '99 as jusc another boring soccer game, you'll miss out on one of the best sports games of the year. Awesome refinements to the graphics. A.Land controls push this game to the pinnacle of its sport
With four years until the next World Cup, FIFA '99 focuses on the fierceness and excitement of club soccer, offering such prominent teams as Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, and more than 237 others.The only bummer is that EA didn't land the MLS license, but most hardcore American soccer fens devote themselves to European soccer anyway. Other hot features include the European Dream League, customizable cups and leagues, national teams, trades, and exhaustive strategy options.
But the best news is FIFAs smart A.I., which delivers phenomenally fun, realistic gameplay. Keepers perform more intelligently, the defense covers you more tightly, and the offense slips slick passes through any available openings.
As for controls, everything just works better and more intuitively.The crisp passings a breeze, players are armed with more jukes and moves, and when the balls in the air, headers, chesting,and so on are much more lifelike.
FIFA looks sharp, coo, sporting a sweet new player model, cool new animations, and a quick, clean frame rate. As for sounds, those stuffy announcers return with that familiar, humdrum two-man commentary, but the music and onfield sound effects totally rock.
Even if you've already sprung for FIFA '98 or World Cup '98, it's time to bust out that wallet again. With such impressive across-the-board innovations and refinements, FIFA '99's a must-buy for sports gamers.
- In order to fire off a shot along the ground (which often sneaks past the keeper), press and hold Away on the directional-pad while shooting.
- On offense, passing the ball forward isn't always the best choice. Moving the ball back-even when you're deep in the zone-often draws away coverage and opens gaps.
- Passing the ball In from the sides or from the rear midfield for a rapid one-timer is, as always, the best way to score. Use the through pass (tap R1) for best results.
- Plow through tackles by tapping L1 to lift the ball past the defender.
Now that the World Cup's just a memory, the leading soccer game has turned its attention to the gritty action of club soccer. FIFA '99 delivers 250 club teams from countries like England, the U.S.. Brazil, Italy, France, and more, which means top teams like Manchester United, AC Milan, Arsenal, Real Madrid, and the like. If that's not enough variety, you can create your own leagues and tournaments. EA also reports that it's focused on tuning up the A.l. and (he responsiveness of passing, shooting, tackling, dribbling, and in-the-air action. With all that headed for the pitch. FIFA '99 looks like another star in the making.
OK, we all know that FIFA has improved dramatically in recent releases, but a number of things spring to mind when looking at this. First, this is the third FIFA game this year so how can EA Sports possibly have done anything different? Second, ISS 98 was about as good as soccer games can get, so is EA focusing on the wrong stuff? And finally, what's new? The answers are surprisingly as follows; yes, no and...a big long list that I won't go into fully, but here's the important stuff: New defense and attack Al that makes the teams react as a whole more effectively. Enhanced semi-auto goalies. Over 240 teams from 12 territories (including the United States). A European "Dream League" with all the best "real" soccer teams (let's face it, U.S. teams are crap). Fakes and jukes, ISS 98-style. A new chest trapping feature that is cool, but the animation for which pops up FAR too often. Greater control in the air; bicycle kicks, volleys, better headers (although it's so subtle you only notice it if you've played a lot of console soccer). Also the graphics are a bit better, with nice lighting, etc., though again--you hardly notice it. Oh yeah, and the players aren't all the same height any more. Subtle, but sort of important I guess. So is it better than ISS98? Urn, well, you know--it might be.
FIFA, like just about every other EA Sports series, keeps getting better and better. I particularly enjoyed this year's edition because it plays much more realistic than the older FIFAs. The biggest thorn in EA's side, however, is the same thing that bugged me about the last few FIFAs: the choppy frame-rate. The game moves and plays just fine, but I'd sacrifice a few of the stadium and player details for more frames of animation.
FIFA 99 is easily my favorite soccer game on the PlayStation so far. I'm finally happy with the graphics (the frame-rate in World Cup 98 was a tittle questionable, but not here), and the control is better than it's ever been. The new moves (like the jukes) are actually quite useful, and the Al (on Professional level and above) is excellent. I just hope we don't get a repeat of last year, with another "sequel" three months from now. We'll see...
To me FIFA 99 is about as good as a soccer game can get for the PlayStation. With the huge amount of licensed teams, options, players, etc. it's hard to imagine wanting more. Of course it's the solid gameplay that holds it all together. It's still easy to get away with slide-tackles but strangely, it makes the game more intense. New juke moves are useful as well for faking out opponents. I'll take this one over ISS Pro 98 anytime.
According to the FIFA 99 manual, the Federation Internationale de Football Association was founded on May 21, 1904. It governs the most popular sport in the world enjoyed by over 200 million people. The opening scene of the player triumphantly climbing the steps like Rocky really captures the joy of the game.
This is a very impressive game. It's refreshingly simple yet it flows so well that it is extremely enjoyable to play. The players on the field are so well synchronized that it looks like the programmers actually planned for every step and body movement that the players demonstrate. Especially when you take the time to pause and watch the replay, it looks like it could have been a video of a real human game.
Like many EA sports games, there is a quick start option that gets you right into a basic game. This is a great deffault option but when you are ready for more involved games or seasons, you will want to try out other options. Friendly match allows you to select the two teams that will play and choose a stadium to play the match in. Also all penalties only matter in the match you are currently playing.
Golden Goal Mode is a first to X game where X is a number of goals, this can be a great option in a heated rivalry where time flys but nobody can break through for that elusive goal.
Season mode has four different primary options (League, Cup, Custom League, and Custom Cup) leading to 15 different league and cup competitions. In league mode you get to choose from a great list of countries including BELGIUM, BRAZIL, ENGLAND, FRANCE, GERMANY, ITALY, NETHERLANDS, PORTUGAL, SCOTLAND, SPAIN, SWEDEN, and the USA. Cup mode allows you to choose from three European Cups. You can set up a custom league with the Custom League Creator. This is very useful if you have an odd number of friends over and you want to play an organized approach to seeing whose the greatest. Finally, Custom Cup lets you build your own tournament and choose teams.
European Dream League is the big show. You get to choose one of the 20 most prestigious football clubs and try and prove that your team is the best. If you don't want to choose which opponent you'll play you can get a random assortment.
In addition to the play options, you also have some game options. The options button allows you to move to three subsections: match options allow you to change the time length for the half, the clock, and weather options (you gotta love those snow games); Gameplay options allow you to set difficulty level and choose which optional calls will be available to the referees.
Team management lets you choose which players you do or don't want on your team. Then you can play with the formations trying out different approaches to the game's strategies. Also through In-Game Management (IGM) you can change these selections to try different things during the game. Whenever you save, the game will also save your strategies.
Player Edit and Team Edit are great options which even allow you to pick uniform colors. That aspect is a blast (other sports games should take notice). Training allows you to choose some drills to help build your teams skills. The commentary is appropriately timed, brief, and interesting. In fact, you can receive some satisfaction as he marvels at a great offensive or defensive play.
The basic moves are as would be expected. On offense or defense, you move around with the directional buttons and turbo sprint with triangle. On offense, you can pass with X and shoot with Circle. On defense, you can switch players with X, tackle with circle, and Slide Tackle with square.
After you've mastered the basic moves, you'll be ready for the intermediate controls. To pass through press R1. To intentionally foul and draw a penalty card press L1. To jump a slide tackle press L1. To juke left or right (a great way to throw off defenders) press L2 or R2 respectively. You can also do full spins to the left or right by double tapping those buttons.
Yes, there are even advanced moves for plenty of game depth. If you hold the L2 or R2 buttons and use the directional buttons, you can fake different moves. If you hold L2 or R2 and press square you will do a rainbow kick or a flick-over respectively. The same holds with the addition of R1 will do a step-over nutmeg or Double Step-over. Finally hold L2 or R2 and press L1 to dive.
What would be a great soccer game without the ability to use your head? To do a header on goal just press Circle. To head the ball into your teammates chest, press square and to do so to their feet press X. Also you've got to use the directional buttons to aim at a target player to head to.
The Goalie can be tricky. To charge press R1. To pick up the ball press L1 and triangle to drop it. X is for throwing and circle for punting. You'll want to choose the option that will get the ball to the player of your choice around problematic defenders.
After you've driven in for a shot on goal or made that sweet pass for a great shot you'll want to aim the ball. To shoot high, press the stick towards the goal. To shoot a low, hard one press the stick away from the goal (or just tap the circle).
If you press circle when your player is near the ball, you can do a check and steal the ball. Stealing the ball is much easier in the basic mode of the game. When you turn it to a harder mode, the computer is much better at denying you the opportunity to get your foot on the ball.
This is where this game really shines. The players look so fluid in their motions that it makes the game that much more fun to play. FIFA seems to have found the right distance to get a good handle on the game. The players look a little square from close up but the on-field perspective is incredible.
This is a great game. You may even like it if you don't like sports or soccer games in particular. I'm not a big fan of watching it on TV but I love to play this game. Worth buying.
FIFA '99 is 'EA's finest effort to date-but can it kick Konami's mighty ISS into touch?
Love 'em or hate 'em, EA's relentless marketing machine churns out at least one FIFA game every year, but as World Cup '98 proved, the good times are back and the 'curse of FIFA' has been well and truly banished to the sidelines. As regular readers will be aware, the last game scored a massive 93% back in issue 14, and although not quite in the same league as Konami's seminal ISS '98, injected new life into a heavy-legged series that had become an industry joke.
So here we are, smack bang in the middle of another season and following our tasty preview like a faithful hound, comes undoubtedly FIFA's finest hour. Before we get too carried away though, this isn't the ISS '98 beater that we'd all hoped for. Perhaps a little divine intervention could put paid to that, but FIFA '99 (the fourth in the series) is a beautifully crafted game, which like its predecessor will appeal to novices and experts alike. Cutting straight to the chase, it's even smoother than World Cup '98 - and when played at normal pace you can't help but admire the superb attention to detail.
And we don't just mean the superb off-the-ball celebratory gestures and grimaces of the players which are FIFA trademarks, but the actual in-game animations as well. The emphasis this time has been placed heavily on the domestic leagues throughout Europe, but 20 international squads feature too, in case you fancy spanking the Argies in a World Cup grudge match.
With over 220 teams to choose from and a wealth of comprehensive options including a European Dream League and cups (pre-set and custom) to wade through, FIFA '99 delivers in a way in which we've come to expect. Additionally, a brand new feature allowing you to trade players has been included - it's far too simplistic to be tarred with the same brush as Championship Manager on PC, but it lets players have a tinker in the transfer market. The useful IGM system has been retained for FIFA '99 too, which means that any time during the game you can change from a defensive arrangement to something far more adventurous with the press of a button.
Escape To 'Victory
When compared to the intuitive, ultraslick playability of ISS '98, FIFA falls just slightly short. Yes, there are four speeds of play and the option to play at Amateur, Professional or World Class level, but it's still too easy to score goals and there's just the tiniest hint of slowdown every now and then. EA has kindly included a stunning hi-res mode which looks the dog's danglies, but this hampers the tempo somewhat when the game is boosted up to a quicker pace.
On a more positive note, when you're passing the ball, there's virtually no delay in execution and you don't need to wait for players to finish their extravagant animation sequence before taking up the reins again. Speaking of which, fantastic manoeuvres such as step-over nutmegs and bicycle kicks can be learned within minutes, and all this by combining just a couple of buttons. A FIFA game has never been so easy to play, without losing the strength in depth that more experienced players will appreciate. FIFA '99 is superb value for money and proof that there almost certainly life in the old dog yet. If you're a fan of the series, took no further!
2nd rating opinion
We've seen FIFAs come and go, but finally there is one to stay. FIFA '99 has the kicking power to last more than just a few weeks. And with the introduction of the hi-res mode, you can bask in the glory of those stunning shots and thunderous volleys!
Ah, yes, the FIFA series. Plainly, yearly 'reinventions' haven't benefited its cause. Whereas once we may well have rejoiced at the sight of real players and real teams performing in sprite-based harmony, last year and even more so this, we found ourselves just a tad embarrassed by the sight of 22 stumbling, anorexic polygons plodding about the pitch like a Brighton-bound bus load.
Therefore, you'd assume that an opportunity to address the subsequent skinful of criticism would be top of EA's agenda. And, yet, much of what made FIFA '97 on the PlayStation so disastrous remains in this N64 incarnation. Even with twice as much power to play with, FIFA 64's Canadian developers have done nothing about the pace of the game, the lack of control or the highly suspect goalkeepers. Worse still, the changes that have been rung through the game amount to nothing more than superficial additions to the options menu.
The 'FIFA 64 Cam', for example, offers nothing that wasn't originally available, while the one seemingly-rosy element, the 'Picture-in-Picture' view, turns out to be a bit of a lame dog. Included to give the player a separate view of what's happening further on down the field, the 'PIP' is far too big, and seriously hampers the main action. Other features, including goal nets that billow out in the most ludicrous fashion, and limited, isometric tactics screens, add further to the disappointment. Finally, the N64's clever ability to pixel-blur close objects has only been used to give proceedings an unbearable, strangely fuzzy look. Acceptable in the less useable viewpoints but annoying when using the preferred Tele Cam.
But, for that, the mouldiest parts of FIFA 64 are those left over from previous versions. The speed of the game is infuriatingly slow. Even the advent of a speed-up button does nothing to encourage pacy wing play or break away goals, as a press of that very same button equates to only the tiniest injection of extra leg work.
The controls, too, are frankly awful especially after the silken C-button-driven Perfect Striker. FIFA 64 seems incapable of deciding which button does what, with a tap of the pass button not necessarily leading to its natural conclusion. Instead, the ball frequently balloons off into the stand. Tackling also lacks any conviction, with wayward foot-ins just about as close as you're going to get to emulating Adams or Southgate. The final insult, though, is that every step in The Dave Beasant Guide To Goalkeeping has been included, opening the way for ridiculous Sunday League-like scores as the 'keepers consistently let balls sail between their legs.
The problem FIFA 64 has is that, due to its combined flaws, it never allows you to become even competent at the game. Each individual match is won via a different set of controls so, much of the time, you're fishing around in murky old waters of trial-and-error trying to fathom out how to work even the simplest of footballing things.
Thus, it won't take players long to realise the consequences of any hasty decision to part with FIFA 64-directed cash. The tragedy is that EA have such a wonderful chance to impress - this does have Premiership players, after all - and, once again, they've completely missed the boat. Tsch! If only Konami had managed to get the licence...
Penalties in FIFA 64 are disastrously random. Whereas Perfect Striker, once again, rewrote the post-extra time rigors of winning the day, EA's effort relies more on getting to grips with the inconsistent controls.
The main problem is that when you tap the shoot button, the player takes a couple of seconds to react.
**If Perfect Striker's athletic stoppers were Premier League-like in their expertise then FIFA 64's can only lay claim to a fleeting appearance as the Screwfix Western League incarnate. And here, as they say, is why...
Presumably in an effort to spice up proceedings with a couple of 'unexpected' goals, the goalkeepers in FIFA 64 never take to incoming shots with their legs together. Instead, emulating a particularly feisty cossack, they approach spherical arrivals with legs akimbo and then pretend it wasn't their fault when a toe poke hits the onion bag.
Thanks to some sort of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" sponsorship deal, the goalkeepers are forced into smearing the contents of several large tubs onto their gloves. Thus, even the tamest of tricklers are frequently spilled and an outstretched palm that makes contact doesn't necessarily mean a save. THIS MAKES THE GAME VERY IRRITATING.
The final insult is when a shot powers in towards goal -- at head height -- and your 'keeper makes absolutely no attempt to use his hands. The subsequent travelling of the ball over and sometimes even through his head means that, finally, you find it in your heart never to forgive the programmers for basing their goalkeepers on The Invisible Man.
Another year, another FIFA. In 1998, EA tried to pull a fast one on us with World Cup 98, a nearly identical game to Road to World Cup 98.1 lost faith in the FIFA series because of WC 98, so I wasn't really looking forv/ard to FIFA 99. I'm happy to say, 99 brings to the table a significant number of improvements, enough for me to give this game a healthy recommendation. Overall, FIFA 99 is a lot tougher and more realistic than its predecessors. It's now easier to avoid slide tackles, a traditionally guaranteed turnover-creator in FIFA. The defensive Al is much smarter, forcing you to take longer shots--you can't drive right up to the goal as often as the older FIFA games let you. (While this takes away a little of the arcade-level excitement of soccer video games, this definitely creates a more realistic soccer experience.) The goalies' behavior is also more lifelike. They don't make as many ludicrous dives for easy saves, and they come out of the goal more often for those one-on-one situations. Overall, I'd have to say I'm very pleased with this year's FIFA. It's the most realistic one yet. Non-soccer enthusiasts, however, may want to pass. The tough Al can make for some pretty frustrating, pretty low-scoring and uneventful games (again...just like in real life). Now, If EA could l only smooth out the damn frame-rate...
FIFA finally makes that tiny step forward that places it in alongside ISS98. In fact, it's now very much like Konami's classic, only with proper license stuff. The new features bring some much-needed Al tweaks to the game, and the new system of volleys, headers and chest trapping makes for a more natural feel. The semi-auto goalies seem to be just about there now, and the fakes and jukes are a welcome addition. Also, it looks great.
This FIFA series continues to take big strides with every new edition. This year's standouts include the juke, chest trap and header abilities. The movements look fluid and realistic, and add a load of defensive and offensive abilities for your player. Smarter Al puts your teammates in better positions to make through passes, and using them for fast breaks is great fun. This is by far the deepest and most entertaining FIFA yet.
FIFA 99 is easily the best FIFA game yet, with obvious improvements not only in the game's Al and controls but in its aesthetics too. The frame-rate is finally solid (unless you've got a RAM Pak, in which case I recommend you steer clear of the choppy "Super High" resolution mode), and the many new moves you can execute are not only useful, but fun. The more sim-oriented IGM and IGT features are surprisingly user-friendly, too.
Continuing the series' tradition of excellence, FIFA '99 boots one into the net with another fine day on the N64 pitch. If you have a choice, the PlayStation versions definitely superior, but this game holds its own as the best soccer title 6n the Nintendo 64.
FIFA '99 suffers from one significant flaw, and that's the chunky frame rate. The games still perfectly playable, but c'mon the N64s capable of much slicker speed.
Once you get used to that, FIFA '99 delivers a tough, rough match that's fun to play. The game focuses on club play offering top teams like Manchester United and Bayern Munich from leagues in England, Italy Brazil, and much more. While some soccer fans will be disappointed by the absence of the MLS teams, the world's top talent shows up, and FIFA '99 also packs in sweet features like the European Dream League, customizable cups and leagues, national teams, and excellent in-depth strategy options.
Refinements to the A.I. and controls make passing, tackling, and one-timers much more realistic and much more fun than in World Cup '98--overall, FIFA '99 is a much more solid game. Still, aiming passes with the analog stick isn't as on the money as it should be.
Graphically, FIFA sports eye-catching, realistic players who bust off impressively lifelike moves, such as chesting the ball or stumbling after being tackled. The sound side also performs well with cool tunes by Fat Boy Slim, great onfield sound effects, and, yes, those same constipated British announcers.
All told, FIFA '99 could certainly use a better frame rate and some crisper passing, but those flaws pale in comparison to the games overall excellence. Its the game N64 soccer fens shouldn't be without.
- Stuff the offense with tight tackling: When timed correctly, speed-bursting up to the ball carrier (tap down-0 and then tackling them (tap B) strips the ball almost every time.
- The 360-degree spin (double-tap Z or P) Is the most effective way to slip past defenders.
- Firing off a through pass (tap right-0 into the pack in front of the net for a one-timer shot is the best way to score.