NCAA Football 99

a game by EA Games, and EA Sports
Platforms: PC Playstation PSX
Genre: Sports
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 5 reviews
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See also: NCAA Games

Football season's around the comer, and Mindscape has college ball on its mind. Show down kicks off with a planned 105 Division 1A teams, the ability to create teams, bowls, tournaments, a playbook that follows each school's style, and a sweet playbook editor that enables you to test-run your plays. For armchair QBs, a sim option gets you blazin' through a season so you can jump in to play only the games you're interested in. As the players charge through 16 3D stadiums, you'll see the numbers on their backs and hear fight songs to spur you on.

Download NCAA Football 99

Game Reviews

NCAA Football 99's Coaches Camera literally draws the entire play on the field for you.

It seems that EA had a change of heart when it came to developing its college sports. Instead of having its college games use year-old game engines, the games are now being developed concurrently with EA's other sports. The first one to benefit from this is NCAA Football 99.

The most obvious difference in NCAA 99 is that it's polygonal and has wrap-tackles and other things associated with being a 3D football title. But the changes between this year's NCAA Football and last year's game run deeper than the presentation of the players. Those who played last year's game will remember having an easy time with the game's bad Al, but judging from this playable version, NCAA has gotten a whole lot smarter and more realistic. QB's can now do pump-fakes, running backs can juke at the touch of a button, and defenders cover receivers much tighter.

NCAA 99 will also be chock-full of new features to complement the improved graphics and gameplay. For starters, there's an offensive and defensive play editor that allows you to draw up a play, then immediately practice it on the field. Between this and the new "coaches camera" that lets you see the play diagram transparently drawn on the field (using a shoulder button), it seems like NCAA 99 could teach anyone the X's and O's of the game. There's plenty of other new goodies such as an improved instant replay camera, new play-call interface, and a beefed-up Dynasty Mode that actually allows you to be fired from a team if you do a bad job of coaching it. These are only the tip of the iceberg and we'll fill you in on the rest of the details once NCAA 99 gets closer to release.

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

Overview

Last year's NCAA 98 met with mixed reviews. I personally was a bit disappointed, but our reviewer seemed to enjoy it. Since someone else reviewed last year's game, I jumped at the opportunity to give my thoughts on the latest version. Well, the college football season is here and so are the football games. Bring 'em on!

NCAA Football 99 is EA Sports' first attempt at polygon players. This game packs all of the options that any football fan would go crazy for, and once again carries all 112 division 1A teams. The complete 1998 rosters are used and a new five year dynasty mode will keep you playing for quite some time. If the current teams are not your bag, you can always check out one of the 80 historical teams in the Great Games mode. All that is missing is your favorite school's fight song. Wait, even that is in here. I guess the only thing left is great gameplay. Does it even have that?

Gameplay

I am really ticked off right now. I have purposely started writing this review after playing a few games in my dynasty. Why am I ticked, you ask? Because I just lost to Utah State (I played as the Washington Huskies). It is not that I lost to Utah State, but the way that I lost to them that really ticks me off. The reason I lost sums up why I gave this game a score in the low 80s. Let me explain.

I think this game is great in just about every aspect except one, and that one aspect really kills me. What is it, you ask? Here, let me set the scene for you. I was winning 14-13 and there were only 29 seconds left to the game. They had the ball deep in their own territory, so I decided to go in for the kill. I called a safety blitz because I really wanted to stuff his ass. The ball was snapped, my lineman blasted through the line and my safety came flying past everyone and had a clear path at the quarterback. I had control over the player and I was going to lay the QB out in the end zone for a safety. I hit the hard tackle button and leaped at the QB. I slammed him hard and solid about two yards deep in the end zone. Did he go down? Nope. My dude just fell to the ground like a rag doll and the QB stayed on his feet. Not to worry, because by this time I had linemen converging on the QB from either side. Both hit him. Did he fall? Nope. He shook off my 250-plus-pound linemen and took off running. He ran directly into the pack in the middle of the field which had three of my linebackers engaged with defenders. Each of my linebackers took a shot at the QB just to be shrugged off like they were eight-year-old girls. Since I blitzed my safeties, the QB was off to the races.

The above paragraph was not embellished at all. This is exactly what happened and the sad thing is that it really did not surprise me. Ticked me off, yes, but surprised me, no. Why did it not surprise me? Because this was a very common occurrence in the game and it was really frustrating. Let me be the first to go on record telling you that this same thing will happen to you at least two times per game, sometimes more. The ball carrier will bounce around like a pinball and there will be times that a running back will manage to make it through a series of hits that would put a normal player in the hospital. Granted, this is college football and the basic idea of college football is that you never know when the next big play will happen, but this was ridiculous. I don't even mind the fact that there are a lot of big plays broken, but what bothers me is that you will actually be penalized for calling blitz plays because 7 times out of 10, the runner will just bounce off of your blitzing player and break a big gain. I am sorry, but it was terribly frustrating to call the perfect defense only to have the runner rip off a 40-yard gain on you.

Whew! I feel much better now that I have that off my chest. Once you get past that problem, you will find one really fun college football game. Actually, this game is so much better than the previous year's version that it is almost unfair to give them the same name. The control has been shifted to analog (although no Dual Shock) which helps correct one of the game's biggest flaws from last year. I thought the control was terrible last year and running diagonally was nearly impossible. Thanks to the analog control, this is no longer a problem

If you have ever played any video football game, you should feel right at home with this one. There is nothing overly complicated about the controls and moves, but they do get the job done year after year. There are more plays than ever and the best part about college ball is the options. You can call triple options if you so desire, and it is really easy to pitch the ball off. One of the things that makes college ball so much fun is the outrageous play calling and selection, and the developers did a great job in keeping this intact.

Along the same lines as the play calling, this game did a great job of capturing the whole college atmosphere. The school's fight song is played by the band after a big play and the crowd is always filled with the school color. One big thing this game does right is that it actually gets the crowd cheers correct. This is one of the only games around that actually has the home crowd cheering when the home team does something good, and the stadium goes quiet when something bad happens. I know this sounds basic, but it is absolutely amazing how many games miss this whole point. It is even more amazing when you see what it does to change the whole gameplay environment.

The coolest thing about this game has to be the dynasty mode. I know that you are thinking the dynasty mode has been done before. Yeah, but not like this. You can set up a five-year dynasty that lets you play out five years on the same team. You can see where your players are drafted and depending on how well you do, you can land the top recruits. If you are not doing so well you can even get fired. This added so much to the replay value of this game that I can't even begin to describe the impact. Let me just say that you will spend hours and hours creating your dynasty and playing out the seasons just to see how you do against the competition. Great job on this.

Graphics

EA Sports has finally taken football into 3D. Well, this is not entirely true. I think of this as more of a pseudo-3D. The players do not have the rough polygon look like the players in GameDay, but they also don't have clarity. You will get wrap tackles and some very cool one-handed catches, and the players do look a lot more realistic than last year. Actually, the player graphics are probably the single most improved aspect of this game. One other thing of note is the stadiums. Talk about looking awesome. All of the stadiums have been replicated perfectly, right down to the cities in the background. I found myself hoping for a road game just so I could see the different stadiums.

Bottom Line

All in all, NCAA Football 99 is pretty good and is light years ahead of last year's release. Why such a low score? Because I am still really ticked about the way that players can bounce off so many would-be tacklers and break out for a long gain. Trust me, you will be screaming at your TV when you call the correct defensive alignment, only to have the runner break tackles by every player on the field during the same play. I think if they had toned this down a little, the game would have scored around 88 or so. This is how much it bothered me. If you can overlook this, you will be rewarded with a pretty good college football game.

Overview

Last year's NCAA 98 met with mixed reviews. I personally was a bit disappointed, but our reviewer seemed to enjoy it. Since someone else reviewed last year's game, I jumped at the opportunity to give my thoughts on the latest version. Well, the college football season is here and so are the football games. Bring 'em on!

NCAA Football 99 is EA Sports' first attempt at polygon players. This game packs all of the options that any football fan would go crazy for, and once again carries all 112 division 1A teams. The complete 1998 rosters are used and a new five year dynasty mode will keep you playing for quite some time. If the current teams are not your bag, you can always check out one of the 80 historical teams in the Great Games mode. All that is missing is your favorite school's fight song. Wait, even that is in here. I guess the only thing left is great gameplay. Does it even have that?

Gameplay

I am really ticked off right now. I have purposely started writing this review after playing a few games in my dynasty. Why am I ticked, you ask? Because I just lost to Utah State (I played as the Washington Huskies). It is not that I lost to Utah State, but the way that I lost to them that really ticks me off. The reason I lost sums up why I gave this game a score in the low 80s. Let me explain.

I think this game is great in just about every aspect except one, and that one aspect really kills me. What is it, you ask? Here, let me set the scene for you. I was winning 14-13 and there were only 29 seconds left to the game. They had the ball deep in their own territory, so I decided to go in for the kill. I called a safety blitz because I really wanted to stuff his ass. The ball was snapped, my lineman blasted through the line and my safety came flying past everyone and had a clear path at the quarterback. I had control over the player and I was going to lay the QB out in the end zone for a safety. I hit the hard tackle button and leaped at the QB. I slammed him hard and solid about two yards deep in the end zone. Did he go down? Nope. My dude just fell to the ground like a rag doll and the QB stayed on his feet. Not to worry, because by this time I had linemen converging on the QB from either side. Both hit him. Did he fall? Nope. He shook off my 250-plus-pound linemen and took off running. He ran directly into the pack in the middle of the field which had three of my linebackers engaged with defenders. Each of my linebackers took a shot at the QB just to be shrugged off like they were eight-year-old girls. Since I blitzed my safeties, the QB was off to the races.

The above paragraph was not embellished at all. This is exactly what happened and the sad thing is that it really did not surprise me. Ticked me off, yes, but surprised me, no. Why did it not surprise me? Because this was a very common occurrence in the game and it was really frustrating. Let me be the first to go on record telling you that this same thing will happen to you at least two times per game, sometimes more. The ball carrier will bounce around like a pinball and there will be times that a running back will manage to make it through a series of hits that would put a normal player in the hospital. Granted, this is college football and the basic idea of college football is that you never know when the next big play will happen, but this was ridiculous. I don't even mind the fact that there are a lot of big plays broken, but what bothers me is that you will actually be penalized for calling blitz plays because 7 times out of 10, the runner will just bounce off of your blitzing player and break a big gain. I am sorry, but it was terribly frustrating to call the perfect defense only to have the runner rip off a 40-yard gain on you.

Whew! I feel much better now that I have that off my chest. Once you get past that problem, you will find one really fun college football game. Actually, this game is so much better than the previous year's version that it is almost unfair to give them the same name. The control has been shifted to analog (although no Dual Shock) which helps correct one of the game's biggest flaws from last year. I thought the control was terrible last year and running diagonally was nearly impossible. Thanks to the analog control, this is no longer a problem

If you have ever played any video football game, you should feel right at home with this one. There is nothing overly complicated about the controls and moves, but they do get the job done year after year. There are more plays than ever and the best part about college ball is the options. You can call triple options if you so desire, and it is really easy to pitch the ball off. One of the things that makes college ball so much fun is the outrageous play calling and selection, and the developers did a great job in keeping this intact.

Along the same lines as the play calling, this game did a great job of capturing the whole college atmosphere. The school's fight song is played by the band after a big play and the crowd is always filled with the school color. One big thing this game does right is that it actually gets the crowd cheers correct. This is one of the only games around that actually has the home crowd cheering when the home team does something good, and the stadium goes quiet when something bad happens. I know this sounds basic, but it is absolutely amazing how many games miss this whole point. It is even more amazing when you see what it does to change the whole gameplay environment.

The coolest thing about this game has to be the dynasty mode. I know that you are thinking the dynasty mode has been done before. Yeah, but not like this. You can set up a five-year dynasty that lets you play out five years on the same team. You can see where your players are drafted and depending on how well you do, you can land the top recruits. If you are not doing so well you can even get fired. This added so much to the replay value of this game that I can't even begin to describe the impact. Let me just say that you will spend hours and hours creating your dynasty and playing out the seasons just to see how you do against the competition. Great job on this.

Graphics

EA Sports has finally taken football into 3D. Well, this is not entirely true. I think of this as more of a pseudo-3D. The players do not have the rough polygon look like the players in GameDay, but they also don't have clarity. You will get wrap tackles and some very cool one-handed catches, and the players do look a lot more realistic than last year. Actually, the player graphics are probably the single most improved aspect of this game. One other thing of note is the stadiums. Talk about looking awesome. All of the stadiums have been replicated perfectly, right down to the cities in the background. I found myself hoping for a road game just so I could see the different stadiums.

Bottom Line

All in all, NCAA Football 99 is pretty good and is light years ahead of last year's release. Why such a low score? Because I am still really ticked about the way that players can bounce off so many would-be tacklers and break out for a long gain. Trust me, you will be screaming at your TV when you call the correct defensive alignment, only to have the runner break tackles by every player on the field during the same play. I think if they had toned this down a little, the game would have scored around 88 or so. This is how much it bothered me. If you can overlook this, you will be rewarded with a pretty good college football game.

Overview

It seems as if the rain has picked up since you started this drive at your own 15-yard line. It has been a sloppy four quarters of play. The clock reads eight seconds and it is third and goal at the two yard line. You wasted your last timeout earlier on a risky pass over the middle for a 15-yard gain. As you approach the line of scrimmage, you know this will be your last chance to put the ball in the end zone. It is now or never! The referee places the ball in the mud and runs off. The clock starts to tick. You start a receiver in motion and realize that the defense is in man-to-man coverage. You think to yourself, "Do I have time to audible? No way, I have to go with the option like the coach said." The clock ticks. As you ready yourself to snap the ball, you find your thumb is swirling in a pool of sweat that has made its way to your game pad. (Boy, that better not mess this up.) The clock ticks. You snap the ball and run to your right; your halfback stays just out of harm's way waiting for the pitch. You start to go into a hole inside, but it fills quickly so you keep going outside. The safety bites on the move that you made. (Yes! I have him right where I want him) Wait for him, wait for him, NOW pitch it to the halfback! He has the ball and it looks like he has a chance to make it around the corner. RUN, FAT BOY, RUN!!! With a hard stiffarm and a dive he slides into the end zone. YES! The clock runs out and you kick the extra point. The game is over, your New Mexico State Aggies 10 and the Ohio State Buckeyes 63.

Don’t laugh; this actually happened to me last night.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

The controls for the game are pretty easy to master after you play for a little while. I highly suggest that you go out and purchase an 8-button game pad or controller. (This is a hint for my wife.) You can play with your standard 4-button game pad but you miss out on some of the special moves that you can do with the 8-button (Juke, hurdle, backpedal).

I found that the players were very responsive and the game played smoothly almost all of the time. I was really impressed with how the players had trouble with the different weather conditions. If you want to have a battle, try playing against either Nebraska or Ohio State in the rain or snow in their stadium.

I was also impressed with the tackling in the game. Don’t think that you can just get close to the person and make a tackle like I have seen in most football games. If you don’t hit the person square, he will mow you down and run for the end zone. Sometimes it can be frustrating to hit someone six or seven times before they go down, but as in real football if you don’t hit them at the right angle, you will just slide off and lay there holding that person's jock.

Offensively, I found that running can be hard and fast. The holes open up for a second and then close quickly. If you hit them fast enough, you can pick up some yards; otherwise you had better hope you can get to the outside. Passing, on the other hand, is something that must be practiced. The receivers sometimes have a mind of their own. They will start a route and then change it for some unknown reason. The quarterback will lead them sometimes and then throw it short the next time. I highly suggest that you practice with a decent team before trying your luck with an unranked college.

Originality/Cool Features

On the main menu you will have some interesting choices to make. You can play an exhibition game between two teams of your choosing. You can play in Dynasty mode, which is where you are hired as the coach of a team and then you start your career at the school. You can play in tournament mode where you play in a 4-, 8-, or 16-player tournament. Great Games mode is where you can relive 40 of the greatest matchups in college history. I e-mailed EA about the fact that you cannot save a game halfway through in Dynasty mode. It doesn’t sound like they are going to fix the problem, but you never know when they will come out with a patch.

You can also set up a playbook for your team, selecting the plays of your choice. My only complaint is that you cannot design your own plays. A play editor would have been nice.

Graphics

NCAA Football 99 has quality graphics, but does not utilize the 3D accelerator card to its fullest. The game really doesn’t need to be pretty, but it would have been nice to add the little things that make a game a classic. The graphics for the instant replay are cheesy with a capital C. The players are choppy and they really don’t run very smooth. I think that EA could have left the replay out or maybe used a different camera angle. Speaking of camera angles, you have eight of them to choose from: Upper deck, blimp, EA Sports, isometric, defense, helmet, coach, and press box. I found that the upper deck one was the easiest for me to handle because it reminded me of the Madden games on my old SEGA.

Audio

A college football game would not be complete without the fight songs for the schools. NCAA Football 99 has them all. It also has the chants from the crowd when you get down by the end zone. I thought that this was a nice touch because it gives you the sense that the crowd is behind you all the way. The sound of the players hitting each other was done very well also. They didn’t make any annoying grunts or make any comments after a hit. Just like it should be.

System Requirements

Minimum Requirements: Windows 95/98, 166 MHz Pentium, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, DirectX 5.2a, and a high color, DirectDraw 5.2a compatible video card with 1 MB

Recommended Configuration: 200 MHz Pentium, 32 MB RAM, 8X CD-ROM drive, Sound Blaster 16/AWE 32 sound card, 3D graphics accelerator using the 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics or Voodoo II Graphics Game Pad Pro, Microsoft SideWinder Game Pad

Documentation

Documentation is skimpy. You basically have to experiment with the different options. I think the average game player will not have any problems getting the game to work because the game is fairly easy to understand and the game menus are self-explanatory.

Bottom Line

NCAA Football 99 is probably the best college football game on the market right now. It is fun to play and can be very engrossing. I gave the game an 88 because I feel that the graphics could have been a little better (like Madden 99) and it would have been nice to have a play editor. The game is very realistic in its play, and the play calling is close to real-life football.

And to redeem myself, I played with the University of Arizona and beat San Diego State 109 to 7. So I really do know how to play.

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