Viva Football

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a game by Crimson
Platform: PC (1998)
Editor Rating: 5/10, based on 1 review, 2 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.5/10 - 4 votes
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See also: Sport Games, Sports Management Games, Football Video Games
Viva Football
Viva Football
Viva Football

The PS1 dominated the competition when it came to sports games. Games like Fifa: Road to World Cup 98 redefined how football games could look in the 3D era. Then we have games like Viva Football (or Viva Soccer, if you’re American), a celebration of the rich history of football delivered in a faulty package.

With over a thousand possible teams to choose from, spanning rosters from over 40 years of football history, it seems like Viva Football can do no wrong. Sadly, its lackluster presentation and iffy controls turn the game into more of a mockery than a celebration.

A bit of history

Unlike games like Pro Evolution Soccer who’ve had their share of licensing issues in the past, Viva Football features over 16,000 real players from all around the world. The game boasts about its impressive roster size, and it certainly deserves those bragging rights.

If you’re a football fan, you’d be pleased to hear that all the big names are here: Pelé, Maradona, Di Estefano, are but only a handful of legendary players that can join your team in Viva Football.

What’s more, the game commemorates World Cup history by allowing players to play certain iconic matches that have forged the history of football. This dedication to celebrate football as more than a sport is commendable, even though the game lacks the refined gameplay to be entirely enjoyable.

Dribbling problems

If there’s an area where Fifa has Viva Football beaten is in the controls. Unlike Fifa, player movement and shooting controls in Viva Football feel like a rushed affair, with players unable to stand still or some passes not registering as they should.

Developers Crimson Studio have commented how the game features ‘realistic controls’ to further immerse players into the action, but in this context, it looks like ‘realistic’ actually means ‘unresponsive.’

That said, Viva Football contains its fair share of comprehensive tutorials to better understand how to properly play the game. It might not be much, but it at least lets you grasp the basics of the game a bit more.

Visuals and sound

As an early 3D football title, it’s clear that Viva Football is still struggling to find a way to represent 22 players on the field. Character models are blocky and chunky, but they don’t look too bad, especially when compared with other football games of its time.

Where Viva Football drops the ball is in its sound department: an odd commentary track tries to narrate the match, only to sound so robotic and disconnected that it would be better if the game had no commentators at all. Sound mixing is also irregular, with the commentator’s voices being muffled by the sounds of the crowd and other sound effects.

Viva Football can’t be considered a great football game, maybe not even a good one, but it just so happens that all the elements of the game come together in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way that is oddly charming.

The competent graphics are diminished by the game’s terrible controls, but the ability to choose teams of legendary players and the developers’ commitment to represent football players is commendable. Also, the mindless AI provides hours of entertainment, as you see the AI-controlled players struggling to keep up with you.


All in all, Viva Football might not be a suitable replacement for games like Fifa or Pro Evolution Soccer, but its janky charm can provide hours of mindless fun.


  • A large number of historical teams and players to choose from
  • Good character models
  • Four-player multiplayer


  • Dull AI
  • Terrible commentators
  • Awkward controls

Download Viva Football


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

At last, Virgin's much-touted World Cup game arrives. And while it would be churlish to point out that the last ball of that tournament was actually kicked on 12 July last year, in fairness the game isn't based solely around the exploits of that heady summer in France. History today is what we have here, with the game featuring every World Cup from 1958 to the present day, including the qualifying tournaments. A mammoth feat, this involves more than a thousand international teams and some 16,224 players, fact fans.

Impressive indeed, although it could be argued that the time might have been better spent improving the game, as it certainly isn't instantly playable. For all Virgin's heavyweight marketing campaign (adverts in The Guardian, don'tcha know), in many ways it has more in common with Supermatch Soccer and last year's risible official England game Three Lions than it does with FIFA or Actua. Incidentally, we're into boxed copy territory here, as we expressed doubts over an early version we were sent for review.

Simulation Street

These doubts have been largely borne out, and while Viva Football is a bold attempt at simulating football - making use of space, playing the ball behind the defence - there's a school of thought that says football games should be the equivalent of edited highlights. Even the keenest of fans will concede that large parts of a real football match are inestimably dull, and it's only the importance of the occasion and the lung-bursting ecstasy of a goal that erases the memory of the despair that precedes it. The same can't be said about a mere video game, which needs to be constantly entertaining. What developers Crimson have succeeded in doing is recreating all the tedious parts of football: the misplaced passes, the numerous offsides, niggly challenges, aimless free kicks and wayward opportunities.

Come By

Furthermore, with muted crowd noise and no commentary, the on-pitch player voices are more in keeping with One Man And His Dog than with The Greatest Show On Earth.

Football games have arguably reached a plateau, and elements such as atmosphere are becoming increasingly important. For those who were there, footage of the last World Cup can still raise hackles on the back of the neck. Unfortunately, Viva is unlikely to rekindle such memories. But if you relish frustration, enjoy low-scoring matches and have an unhealthy interest in the history of the World Cup, this game might be worth shoplifting.

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PC Screenshots

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