NCAA Football 98

a game by EA Games, and EA Sports
Platforms: Playstation PSX
Genre: Sports
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 3 reviews
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See also: NCAA Games

EA Sports' NCAA Football 98 is poised to give college football fans reason to cheer this fall season. Not to be confused with last year's College Football USA 97 for the 16-Bit Genesis, this PlayStation title is a completely different title (well, except for the fact that they both are football games).

NCAA Football 98 features fully rendered 3-D polygonal college stadiums (122 of 'em, in fact) and motion-captured, 2-D rendered player sprites (similar to Madden 97 on the PlayStation/Saturn). All of the players have accurate jersey colors and correct logos. EA's Tiburon development team has made sure that every college stadium has been replicated down to the most intricate detail.

To Madden 97 football fans, NCAA 98 will look very similar at first glance. Although the game uses an enhanced Madden 97 engine, the numerous changes implemented in NCAA 98 make a big difference. The players no longer appear to slip and slide around the field (as they did in Madden 97). and the new playbook allows the pitching of the ball in option plays. The game also seems more realistic, and the control is crisper. Still in early stages of development, NCAA is already feeling like a much superior product.

An incredible amount of features is one of the highlights of NCAA 98 as is the amount of licenses the game carries. Every NCAA division is represented in the game (including all 10 conferences and 112 division A teams). There are also over 40 classic football matches in college football history (for example, you can re-create the 1987 Fiesta Bowl with '86 Penn State vs. '86 Miami University). If you win with a classic team, you can also use them in a regular season game (not to mention edit your own classic matchups at will). There's even a Rival Mode where each college team can be matched up against their unofficial rival (ie., Florida vs. Florida State or Notre Dame vs. everybody). All of the regular season games are based on the current '97-'98 rosters and their full stat tracking during season play.

NCAA Football 98 also boasts four different bowl games (Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange) and the East/West Shrine game as well. There's also a Dynasty Mode (a console first) where players can simulate four consecutive seasons in which players graduate, get better and hit slumps. You can even recruit freshmen out of high school.

Fans of the game interested in realism and preparation will be glad to note that NCAA features a unique Practice Mode. Here, you can run plays without the defense on the field, practice receiving routes and isolate specific matchups on defense and offense. During the game, fatigue can slow your players, and a variety of injuries can hamper a player's performance and/or keep him out of the game. You can even look at highlight footage at any time during a game to spot defensive breakdowns or to just admire a great play.

EA has paid a lot of attention to the atmosphere of the games. NCAA Football 98 has licensed fight songs from more than 30 different colleges, play-by-play commentary by Chuck White (of Rose Bowl fame) and even the voice of NCAA referee Bill McCall.

Due out for the PlayStation this August. EA's NCAA Football 98 is looking to be one of the major players in this year's hotly contested video game pigskin race.

  • MANUFACTURER - EA SPORTS
  • THEME - Sport
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-8

Download NCAA Football 98

Game Reviews

Overview

EA Sports is putting the call out to all university alumni and college football fans. Pick your former or favorite school and see if you can take them down the road to the National Championship. Instead of spending your Saturday yelling at the TV about the bum that plays quarterback for your school, you can actually play as that bum and see if you can do any better.

All the major universities are here (and even some that are not so major) for a total of 112. NCAA Football 98 has the college stadiums, college play books, college fight songs, and the college atmosphere Plus, you can even create your own football dynasty. Cool.

Gameplay

NCAA 98 plays a lot like Madden 98 with one major advantage: the play book. For some reason, the college plays are quite different from the pros. You can run the "wishbone" offense or go for the "triple option." You will never see this type of scheme in a pro game, but that is why college football is so exciting'you never know what to expect. And fortunately, this game gives you ability to call the unpredictable plays.

As gameplay goes, NCAA 98 does a good job keeping up with the big boys. The game has the hurry-up feel of college football and flowed along nicely. It seems that the same basic game engine that is used in Madden 98 is used in this game, which is alright'it's a good engine. This means that if you have played the pro game, the transition to college should be a piece of cake.

You can also choose to play about any school you can imagine. Anybody playing this game should be able to identify the powerhouse teams by name, but learning about the smaller college teams is more of a problem. To help you choose from teams that may not make the headlines, the developers have supplied a grading system of each team's offense and defense from A to D.

A big area of concern in past EA Sports football titles has been the AI or lack thereof on some plays. This game does a pretty good job of balancing the defense. Some plays you can break for big gainers, while other plays get stuffed before they even get started. I did find some passing plays that seemed to work too often, which resulted in some inflated passing statistics at the end of the game. But I'm sure that it didn't help that I was playing as Florida against Boise State. Hey, give me a break. They had a fair chance.

The options are all pretty much standard fare. You can play with varying quarter lengths, weather conditions, crowd noise, etc. I must say that I was disappointed in the rain and snow modes. The graphics were cheesy-looking and actually bordered on distracting.

I did like the tournament mode. This allowed you to pick 4, 8, or 16 teams to battle it out to the end. You can either have the computer simulate the other games or have 16 of your closest buddies over to play the tournament out. This is definitely the way to go because your friends either pick the school they attended or one of their favorites. For some reason, people really get psyched up over college football teams and take them seriously. Your loyalty to a team will only grow the more times you beat your friend in the tournament. If you do challenge your friends to a tournament, I hope you went to a school with a top ranked football team'or else you may find your foot in your mouth.

One thing from the "doesn't-affect-gameplay-but-is-still-cool" department: after you score a touchdown, the school's fight song is played by the band. Like I said, people seem to have a tremendous loyalty to their former school and nothing gets them going like their old fight song. After a few beers, some of my friends even tried singing to the songs after they scored. This was all the more reason to play good defense.

One last thing that I really liked was the ability to replay some of the biggest bowl games of the past. Unfortunately, NCAA 98 does not use the players' names, I assume due to licensing issues. It does have the jersey numbers of the players and the unnamed players bear a strong resemblance to their real-life counterparts. If you know the players on your favorite team, you should have no problem recognizing the star player.

Graphics

The graphics were a little disappointing. For one thing, they were too grainy. They could have used some serious touch-ups. Also, the lame attempt at creating rain and snow did more harm than good. As far as the stadiums and such, they were very accurately depicted. Little things down to trees in the end zone were here. The schools' colors were all accurate enough to add realism to the game.

Bottom Line

If you are a fan of college football, you should be fairly happy with this game. With tons of schools to choose from and so many different plays available, I never lost interest in the game. The schools, colors, players, fight songs, and some good football were all here. And the best part of the game? I didn't have to watch Notre Dame play every week if I didn't want to.

Overview

EA Sports is putting the call out to all university alumni and college football fans. Pick your former or favorite school and see if you can take them down the road to the National Championship. Instead of spending your Saturday yelling at the TV about the bum that plays quarterback for your school, you can actually play as that bum and see if you can do any better.

All the major universities are here (and even some that are not so major) for a total of 112. NCAA Football 98 has the college stadiums, college play books, college fight songs, and the college atmosphere Plus, you can even create your own football dynasty. Cool.

Gameplay

NCAA 98 plays a lot like Madden 98 with one major advantage: the play book. For some reason, the college plays are quite different from the pros. You can run the "wishbone" offense or go for the "triple option." You will never see this type of scheme in a pro game, but that is why college football is so exciting—you never know what to expect. And fortunately, this game gives you ability to call the unpredictable plays.

As gameplay goes, NCAA 98 does a good job keeping up with the big boys. The game has the hurry-up feel of college football and flowed along nicely. It seems that the same basic game engine that is used in Madden 98 is used in this game, which is alright—it's a good engine. This means that if you have played the pro game, the transition to college should be a piece of cake.

You can also choose to play about any school you can imagine. Anybody playing this game should be able to identify the powerhouse teams by name, but learning about the smaller college teams is more of a problem. To help you choose from teams that may not make the headlines, the developers have supplied a grading system of each team's offense and defense from A to D.

A big area of concern in past EA Sports football titles has been the AI or lack thereof on some plays. This game does a pretty good job of balancing the defense. Some plays you can break for big gainers, while other plays get stuffed before they even get started. I did find some passing plays that seemed to work too often, which resulted in some inflated passing statistics at the end of the game. But I'm sure that it didn't help that I was playing as Florida against Boise State. Hey, give me a break. They had a fair chance.

The options are all pretty much standard fare. You can play with varying quarter lengths, weather conditions, crowd noise, etc. I must say that I was disappointed in the rain and snow modes. The graphics were cheesy-looking and actually bordered on distracting.

I did like the tournament mode. This allowed you to pick 4, 8, or 16 teams to battle it out to the end. You can either have the computer simulate the other games or have 16 of your closest buddies over to play the tournament out. This is definitely the way to go because your friends either pick the school they attended or one of their favorites. For some reason, people really get psyched up over college football teams and take them seriously. Your loyalty to a team will only grow the more times you beat your friend in the tournament. If you do challenge your friends to a tournament, I hope you went to a school with a top ranked football team — or else you may find your foot in your mouth.

One thing from the "doesn't-affect-gameplay-but-is-still-cool" department: after you score a touchdown, the school's fight song is played by the band. Like I said, people seem to have a tremendous loyalty to their former school and nothing gets them going like their old fight song. After a few beers, some of my friends even tried singing to the songs after they scored. This was all the more reason to play good defense.

One last thing that I really liked was the ability to replay some of the biggest bowl games of the past. Unfortunately, NCAA 98 does not use the players' names, I assume due to licensing issues. It does have the jersey numbers of the players and the unnamed players bear a strong resemblance to their real-life counterparts. If you know the players on your favorite team, you should have no problem recognizing the star player.

Graphics

The graphics were a little disappointing. For one thing, they were too grainy. They could have used some serious touch-ups. Also, the lame attempt at creating rain and snow did more harm than good. As far as the stadiums and such, they were very accurately depicted. Little things down to trees in the end zone were here. The schools' colors were all accurate enough to add realism to the game.

Bottom Line

If you are a fan of college football, you should be fairly happy with this game. With tons of schools to choose from and so many different plays available, I never lost interest in the game. The schools, colors, players, fight songs, and some good football were all here. And the best part of the game? I didn't have to watch Notre Dame play every week if I didn't want to.

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