FIFA 98: Road to World Cup
|a game by||Electronic Arts, and Electronic Arts Canada|
|Platforms:||PC, Genesis, SNES, Nintendo 64, PSX, GameBoy|
|Editor Rating:||7.3/10, based on 9 reviews, 12 reviews are shown|
|User Rating:||7.5/10 - 12 votes|
|Rate this game:|
|See also:||Sport Games, Sports Management Games, Soccer Video Games, FIFA Games, Championship Games|
FIFA 97 faced something of a backlash with people laying into it all over the shop. Depending on which magazine you read, it was either a marginally improved game from the year before, or a pus-ridden, rotting testicle ripped whole from the semen-stained shorts of Satan. (Mind you, that review was in The Watchtower.) Despite the bad reviews however, it sold by the metric tonne as usual, although a lengthy re-evaluation process did follow.
"I was concerned at the reviews," says Neil Thewarapperuma, "so I instigated the biggest research programme EA have ever carried out, with focus groups in London, Manchester, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden. One of the biggest surprises was that people seemed happy with the game, but we did establish key improvements that people wanted to see." As a result of this, they've gone one step further this year, with a 'testbed' version of the software featuring wireframe players on a black background to assess the game engine. "This year we're concentrating on the gameplay. Without the pitch, stadium, or player graphics on screen and with no sound, we can get feedback without the gamers being swayed by presentation, or even the name," explains Neil. "We're running the focus test with people over a six-week period at the moment, with the gamers attending once a fortnight. Comments are noted each time and the game is tweaked. Only at the end of the six weeks will they see the fully built game."
So What's New?
The big new thing is tied in with the name: you can set out to qualify for the World Cup Finals in France - as nightmarishly difficult and insanely convoluted a prospect as the real thing, regardless of which federation around the world your chosen team is in.
Gameplay-wise, it runs faster than previous versions and the controls have been simplified (non-touch-typists should now kneel and face Langley Business Park in thankful homage). Hopefully, this means that the word 'intuitive' will now, finally, enter the vocabulary of FIFA reviews. The physics model's been improved, so that when you head or volley the ball, you'll actually hit it with a bit of power - unlike in the previous version of FIFA which had you tapping gentle aerial shots goalwards with all the conviction of someone eager to provoke allegations of involvement with a Far Eastern betting syndicate.
I Suppose It Looks Nicer, Too?
Why, yes it does. Graphically, they've kept David Ginola to 'be' himself in the motion capturing (no doubt pottering about ineffectually on the wing, and occasionally falling over injured - Spurs fans everywhere rejoice). But they've used a different professional player for every other position, so defenders move like defenders, wingers like wingers and so on. This overlooks the fact that England defenders have to move like carthorses, but there you go...
Taking a leaf - actually make that a branch - out of International Sensible Soccer 64's book, players now also have facial details like beards, different hairstyles and skin tones (younger players have problem acne) and are now of different heights. And yes, they react to being booked and missing sitters. The animation's been enhanced as well: where FIFA 97 has two frames of animation per movement, FIFA Road To The World Cup has 15. EA have hired a professional kinesiologist (someone who gets paid a lot of money to watch people moving about - or as you and I know them, a 'voyeur') to ensure that the players all move convincingly in each of the 15 frames too. The things some people think of to earn a living, eh? Talking of which, Statto is providing the stats for the player database. Still, cheer up - you won't have to hear him speak. There are 180 teams in the game, so it should keep him busy for a while.
Download FIFA 98: Road to World Cup
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- Game modes: Single game mode
- Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
- Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
- "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
- "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
- "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)
Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed
If you have been holding out on buying a soccer simulation for the Playstation because you couldn't find one that has it all, your waiting is over. FIFA 98 RTWC by Electronic Arts is by far the best soccer game that I have played on a console. Everything that you could do on the field and off, can be done in this game. EA has outdone themselves in putting together a very comprehensive and realistic World Cup experience.
FIFA 98 RTWC allows you to take your pick of 172 international teams and fight it out to capture one of the prized 32 positions of the final round of the World Cup. Actually there are only 30 spots up for grabs because 2 positions are reserved for the host nation (France) and last years winner of the World Cup. FIFA 98 RTWC gives you 5 basic game play options:
"Friendly"—These games do not affect World Cup standings but are good practice matches and extremely helpful in trying to perfect your strategy, as well learning to master some of the more difficult skilled moves.
"Road To World Cup"—This allows you to go through all of the qualifying rounds and hopefully end up in the World Cup.
"League Play"—You control up to 8 teams and play out an entire league schedule.
"Training"—This is a great way to sharpen up on all of your gameplay skills by selecting both offensive and defensive drills. A nice feature here is that you can determine how many offensive and defensive players will take part in these drills.
"Penalty Shootout"—If none of the above suits your fancy, you can choose this option which simulates the sudden death shot out where each team takes 5 penalty shots on goal.
For all of the above options, you have the ability to take the teams that are already created for you or you can completely customize your own squad, by editing player and team attributes or calling up players from reserve squads onto a national team.
For those of you who desire complete control, you will really get into this feature allowing you to recruit players. Beware, however, that they do take into account the monetary value for each player, so you can't just recruit everyone.
The gameplay of FIFA 98 RTWC gives you complete control. There are almost too many combination of moves, passes and shots that each player can perform. It's a little confusing at first, but after some experimentation you start to get familiar with most of the moves. EA did a good job of creating a game that you can start playing immediately (and even win some games) with only the knowledge of a couple of some basic moves. Yet the more you play, the more you start to pick up some of the more advanced moves. After a couple of games on the easiest skill level, I found that I was beating most teams. But on World Cup level, my world was rocked pretty bad. The defense becomes so overwhelming that if you don't pass the ball every second or two, one of the opponents will strip you of the ball. It was then that I realized that I needed to become more proficient with some of the advanced moves, like give-and-go passing, headers, and avoiding slide tackles by passing the ball to yourself. I needed to start mastering some of the games more advanced moves if I wanted to get away with a victory. Eventually I was able to squeak by, only losing by 1 or 2 goals instead of 4 and 5 goals.
While you are on offense, you have many actions that you can take. You can sprint to try and beat the defender, pass directly to a team-mate, or double tap to perform a through pass that places the ball just beyond your team member, so that he may catch up to the ball while in full sprint. This is often essential while trying to beat the last defender on your way to the goal. You can also perform lob passes to teammates or even to yourself. This is an effective move to avoid opponents' slide tackles. Another nice feature is the ability to fake or juke your opponent. So if you are trying to best a defender, you can fake to the right and go left. Even shooting on goal allows you many options. FIFA RTWC allows you the option of executing a quick low shot, a chip shot, or regular shot. Using the D-pad, you can target any part of the goal on your shot or allow the computer to select where the shot will go. If you opt to pass to a teammate instead of taking the shot yourself, the receiving player has several other options. While the ball is in the air, you opt to attempt a header shot on goal, bicycle kick shot on goal, or even lob it over the goalies head.
As strange as it seems, some times the slow lob shot scored pretty effectively. The goalie would go up and some how the ball would just sneak through between the top of the net and his hands.
On the defensive side of the ball, EA has given you several more options. In many games you are given the option of tackling. EA Sports has given you the option of executing a conservative, aggressive or severe tackle. While these are fun to do, you risk getting called for the red card. It's bad enough to get the yellow card at times but the red card will keep you out for a game. Going after the true realism of the game, EA also has allowed for the possibility of injuring yourself on a severe tackle. This could keep you on the disabled list for more than a couple of games. Keep on eye on your star players here. You will miss them in the big games against Brazil or Argentina.
The FIFA license allows EA Sports to include a huge number of clubs from around the world and each is stocked with real players. Each player is evaluated in 17 categories of real-life performance. The detail even goes down to the point where even their facial features are captured. This in itself is amazing. In addition they have faithful recreated 16 true-to-life stadiums from around the world, where your teams can compete. John Motson and Andy Grey handle the announcing for each game.
FIFA 98 RTWC boasts extraordinary graphics. From the panoramic stadiums views, to the players, each is uniquely drawn so you can distinguish them from a distance. The movements of the players are fluid and life-like. The range of motion is painstakingly represented from merely running to shooting, performing 360 degree turns, passing, throw-ins, as well as corner, goal, and penalty kicks. Toss in the after the goal celebration and from a distance you would almost swear that you were watching an actual game on TV. FIFA 98 RTWC displays some truly stunning 3D graphics.
The more that I play this game, the more that I like it. EA Sports has put together a great package with FIFA RTWC 98. Everything is top notch, from the game play and graphics, to the overall realism and atmosphere of the game. Toss in that with three levels of difficulty, you should never get too frustrated. In fact, increasing the difficulty kept me from getting bored. The amateur level was considerably easy, but the professional and World Cup levels will definitely keep you challenged for a long time. If you love soccer, you will love this game.
As excitement builds up for France '98, you can get your home team there early on the N64, and liven things up with these cheats!
Edit Players And Colours
While on the EA Sports screen, enter A, B, A, B, B, B, A, Z.
During the game, push various directions ori the d-pad and the crowd will hurl abuse at the other team!
Different Scoring Animation
Enter C Left, C Right, C Up, or C Down directly after a goal for a variety of scoring animations.
Choose Slovakia as your team and enter LASKO on the player edit screen.
Choose Sheffield Wednesday as your team and enter WAYNE on the player edit screen.
Choose Vancouver as your team and enter KERRY on the player edit screen.
Choose Vancouver as your team and enter ANATOLI on the player edit screen.
Black & White Mode
Choose Canada as your team and enter MARC on the player edit screen.
Increase the speed of the game by choosing any team and entering CATCH22 on the player edit screen.
A vastly improved follow-up to FIFA 64, FIFA '98 remembers to include little game-enhancing things like realism and playability. The players now respond to your actions, for a start. A hugely comprehensive management option makes this the definitive choice for budding Glenn Hoddles, though in terms of gameplay /55 64 still just slots the winner home.
A massive improvement on FIFA 64, but almost immediately rendered obsolete by World Cup '98, its own sequel.
Let's be brutally honest - FIFA 64 was so much of a dog it was shedding hair and slobbering. It played so clumsily that it might as well have been programmed in '64! A lot people had written off the once-proud licence as a result, thinking that it descended into the Hell Of The Sequel Too Far occupied by Alien Resurrection and all those Friday The 13th films.
EA Sports obviously realised this, and rather than just knock out another lacklustre update that would top the charts anyway purely on the basis of the name, they've completely tweaked everything about FIFA and come up with a footy game that's finally worthy of the N64, in the rectangular shape of FIFA: Road To World Cup '98. Every single aspect of the game has been improved, from the opening of the game (complete with Blur's 'Song 2' blasting out from your TV and getting you straight into the proper mood) to the animation and responsiveness of the players.
Although it's not an actual World Cup licence, the cunningly titled FIFA: Road To World Cup '98 might as well be, taking international teams as close as they can get to the actual final without having some important French bloke handing over the silverware. It's not just World Cup games, though - just about every world league you can think of is included in the game, from the obvious ones like UEFA to regional groupings like the South Pacific's OFC. You can then go down even further, and choose the actual teams that make up the leagues! Taking things to a ridiculously local extreme, you can then edit the teams - and the appearance of the players - so that you can actually jog out onto the pitch alongside Beckham or slam a few balls into the back of Blackburn's net. All that's missing is a way to slap your own face onto one of the players - something for the 64DD version, perhaps?
Off the pitch, FIFA '98 offers a hugely comprehensive management option, which is detailed enough that it almost qualifies as a game in its own right. Players from all over the world can be bought and sold, tactics developed and your chosen team generally honed into a world-class side - if you get things right, of course!
It's actually possible to play FIFA '98 entirely as a management game. At the start of a match, you're given a controller selection screen - by leaving this in its default position, the match will play itself without any intervention on your part at all. If you don't think your playing skills are up to par, but instead fancy yourself more in the Glenn Hoddle role, this is the one for you. People will look at you funny when you admit to buying a game with the intention of not actually playing in it, though.
Team tactics play a much increased role in FIFA '98 over its predecessor. Although it's perfectly possible just to jump into the game and start playing, tinkering with formations and strategy can improve your chances of slotting one into the onion bag, and new options like 'man marking' and 'aggression' (now you can turn your whole team into raging psychopaths!) add considerably to the variety of play. If the team are performing badly, you can give them a dressing-down at half time and try to psyche them up for the second half by whacking up their aggression and sending them back out there with a red haze in front of their eyes. You just have to hope that they don't end up seeing too many red cards as well!
When you actually start to play a game, the first thing you notice is how much the graphics have been improved over FIFA 64. It's probably hard to tell here, because PAL machines and our video grabbers still don't get on quite as well as they ought to, but FIFA's use of a nonstandard graphics mode gives everything a look rarely seen on the N64. It's still not pin-sharp by any means, but it's far better than the Coke-bottle glasses effect of old.
The animation of the players is much better than it was; if you think that everyone's got the moves of David Ginola, it's because they have!
The posy Frenchman was motion-captured doing his stuff for the benefit of EA Sports' computers, and it pays off. Having fully animated players does cause some annoyances from time time, because there are occasional points in the game when it seems like you have to wait for a particular animation sequence to finish before you can regain full control of your player. It's especially apparent when you're trying to make tight turns, where what should be a single smooth movement feels like move-turn-move-turn-move. This time lag is short, but just noticeable enough when it happens to be irritating.
He Shoots, He Scores
The animation isn't the only thing that's better about FIFA '98. The players are now a lot more controllable than the hobbling pensioners of old, and the drastically improved control system now lets you pass the ball about with some degree of accuracy, rather than just hoofing it up the pitch and hoping for the best. It's much more of a passing game than it used to be, and is a lot more fun as a result.
Although the intelligence of the opposition has been improved, they thankfully aren't the invincible supermen that some football games over the years have provided. The keepers aren't infallible, and providing you're quick enough on your feet you can get shots past them from all distances without having to resort to the little slippy kicks and specific tight angles that often plague soccer sims.
A very good new addition to the game is the on-screen directional arrow that accompanies corners, free kicks and dead balls. The arrow itself is pointed at its target with the analogue stick, while the Z and R buttons bend it so you can belt out curve balls without messing around with aftertouch. Although some people might not like it in a multiplayer game, on the grounds that it gives away your intentions, it makes things a lot easier for the player taking the kick - which is as it should be, as they're meant to have the advantage!
FIFA '98 is so much better than FIFA 64 that it's hard to believe that they're actually part of the same series. From the more varied chatter of the commentators (Motty, Des and Andy Grey) to the extremely in-depth management options, FIFA '98 is polished in every way. But is it as good as Konami's International Superstar Soccer 64? Well... not quite. ISS 64 still pips the new FIFA in playability, because the game flows that crucial bit more smoothly, and despite FIFA '98 using a higher resolution, ISS seems just a little bit clearer on screen. On the other hand, FIFA's management and customisation options and more up-to-date teams, as well as its greater variety of camera angles and familiar commentators, might tip the balance back for some people, and unlike ISS versus FIFA 64, there isn't a huge difference in playability. Plus there's the rather obvious point that FIFA '98 is cheaper!
Which you buy is up to you, of course. But for the first time in ages, you won't be falling for the old trap of 'big licence over gameplay' if you buy FIFA '98. If you want to take your home team to the World Cup, you can't go wrong with this!
To skip to round 1 of the World Cup. type in ANATOCI under Vancouver on the player edit screen.
Banishing the memory of FIFA 64, there's plenty of promise here and a seemingly rosy future for the World Cup '98 version.
The game copies in accuracy Football Championship 1998 in France starting with since the qualifiers. That involves virtually every team of the world... Besides, all of the 11 leagues are retained.
The first FIFA title on the N64 was a disaster, ' which made me leery when I got my hands on the newest entry of the series: FI FA RTWC 98. Suffice to say, I was extremely pleased when I got some solid playtime on this game, because it is remarkably improved over its predecessor. There are a lot of improvements in FIFA 98, but the most important one is that the game is very fun. There is a variety of realistic moves, and some are quite dramatic when they involve shots on goal. Multiplayer is where this game excels, but the One-player Modes are fast and challenging. For a change of pace, you can even try some frantic indoor soccer. There are only two major flaws with FIFA. First, the goalie A.I. in the game is a little flaky. For example, sometimes the goalie will walk by a ball that should be picked up, or will dive at routine catches. It'll cause you to grumble "cheap goal" more than a few times, I'm sure. Next, the frame rate is suspect at some points during the contest. It doesn't hurt the pace of the game much, but you'll notice it occasionally. FIFA 98's 3-D graphics are excellent. The players are very detailed, and they have a variety of realistic moves. The atmosphere of the game just feels right, and if you like you can dampen it with the rain, sleet or snow options. Though not as good as ISS64, FIFA is well on , the road to redemption.
FIFA 98 is a huge improvement over last year's version. FIFA 64's engine has been totally overhauled for the better. The stadiums are more detailed, the player animations are much smoother and the gameplay is much more intuitive and friendly. Multiplayer games are a blast and the whole experience reminds me of ISS64, and that's a good thing. The goalie Al is braindead at times, but other than that, all is peachy. Al Sports: It's not in the game.
Soccer games are getting better and better. This year's FIFA slaughters last year's, an easy task considering how shoddy FIFA 64 is. A few flaws prevent FIFA 98 from reaching stardom. 1.) Inconsistent goalie Al (they don't seem to know where the ball is sometimes); 2.) Poor frame rates (even in 4x4 indoor soccer) and 3.) Poor passing mechanics. Overall, the game is fairly entertaining. I hope EA keeps improving the series. If so, FIFA 99 will be king.
What a difference a few months can make! Besides Konami's ISS64 (still the king), FIFA RTWC 98 is the best soccer game I've played. The game controls really nicely, the graphics are awesome (the frame rate could've been better, but it's hardly bad), and the play-by-play is excellent. Where the game really shines though is in 4P Mode--it's just TOO much fun. Indoor Soccer is a blast too. My only gripe is that goalie Al can get flaky at ti mes.
EA Sports hits the field running with the superb FIFA: Road to World Cup '98. If you're a soccer enthusiast that was a little let down from FIFA '97, you'll definitely dig the improvements made to this year's game, which make it the best on the Nintendo 64.
A Bona Fide Net-Ripper
FIFA: Road to World Cup '98 really packs in the options, offering play in Friendly, League, Penalty, Shootout, and Practice modes. And since this is the only soccer game with the official World Cup license, you can also try to earn a spot in the World Cup championship in the Road to World Cup mode.
As far as teams go. FIFA '98 offers 189 clubs from 11 leagues for League play and 172 clubs from 6 geographical zones for World Cup play. On the features side, FIFA throws in 16 re-created outdoor stadiums and one indoor stadium, along with the ability to manage every aspect of your team (from its formations to its roster)--you can even tweak your players' aggression levels. You also have the option to create a custom player and put yourself in the lineup.
Get Your Kicks Here
FIFA '98's overall presentation is really topnotch, featuring some of the best all-around graphics, sound, and control found in a soccer title. The players are superbly detailed and move with fluid grace, and the character animations are so realistic, you'd swear you were watching a televised game (the goal-scoring celebrations are especially cool). On the sound side, FIFA '98 never misses a beat with its two-man commentary, and the in-game effects and crowd chants really raise the intensity during the match.
Borrowing a page from International SuperStar Soccer 64, the control for this year's feet-fest is probably the most improved feature of the game. Now, instead of having to rely on a radar screen, an arrow will appear attached to the cursor under the player you're controlling, alerting you to where your closest teammate is--it really makes passing simple and helps create an upbeat tempo. You can also easily perform one-touch passes, and give-and-gos work more effectively this year. These features--along with some cool deke moves--really add excitement and flair to each contest.
Fast Feet and a Head of Steel
If you think you had seen it all in a soccer game--think again. FIFA '98 is a super-fun title, easily topping International SuperStar Soccer 64 in overall gameplay. So if you're looking for fast-paced soccer thrills, you need to kick up a copy of Road to World Cup.
- If you time it right, you can slide-tackle the goalie and cause a turnover; otherwise, it's a red card for you.
- If you're stuck deep in your end, avoid an offsides call by passing the ball to an open man upheld instead of power-kicking the ball out of your/one.
- Always look to pass: If you hog the ball, not only will vour player become tired, but you'll move him out of his defensive position.
- If the defense is all over you, deke 'em out of their cleats with a 360-degree spin by holding Z or R and pressing left-C.
In its perennial soccer outing, EA's focusing on World Cup qualifying, adding in a mode that lets you try to guide one of 172 national teams to the pinnacle of the spoil. As always, FIFA delivers more teams that you know what to do with, throwing in an additional 193 club teams from 11 leagues. Beyond tuning up the graphics for '98, the FIFA team's also zeroing in on faster gameplay, tighter controls, and sturdier A.l.
Snapshots and Media
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots
SNES/Super Nintendo/Super Famicom Screenshots
Nintendo 64/N64 Screenshots
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- World Cup 98
- Sensible Soccer: European Champions
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