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FIFA Soccer 64

Rated KA for Kids to Adults

Platform:

Nintendo 64 (N64)

Publisher:

EA Sports

Developer:

EA Canada

Released:

March 1997

ROM Size:

64 megabits

Players:

One to Four Simultaneous

Genre:

Sports (Soccer)

Save:

Controller Pak (63 pages)

Optional:

None

 

 

> Final Rating: 2.9 out of 5.0

Introduction

The Electronic Arts FIFA Series has been one of the top-selling sports games in the world. With the rest of world being soccer mad, it's easy to see why this game has been popular since its inception on the Sega Genesis. As part of the "Dream Team" agreement with Nintendo, EA Sports agreed to release an exclusive version on the N64. In actuality, FIFA Soccer 64 is based on FIFA '97 (PlayStation), with just a few new features.

 

Unfortunately, though, this version lacks some important features found in the PlayStation version. For instance, there are fewer teams, less commentary, worse goalie AI, and no indoor mode. On the flip side, you won't find any load time. This hardly saves the game from impending failure.

Gameplay & Control

As expected, FIFA Soccer 64 is highly configurable. You can select the type of match you want to play (Friendly, League, Tournament, Playoff). You can toggle Controller Pak options. And you can configure game options, including Half Length (2-45 min) and Language (English, French, and Deutsche).

 

Once you have configured FIFA Soccer 64 to your liking, you'll find that it plays merely OK. While playing against the computer, the AI of the opposing team, as well as the other computer-controlled players, is decent. But why is the control cumbersome? Where's the through pass that International Superstar Soccer 64 brought as an innovation? One of the redeeming qualities of this game, however, is its multi-player capabilities. The game can be a blast with a bunch of friends playing Tournament, Versus, or on the same team.

 

An exclusive feature of the N64 version is a picture-in-picture option. It's actually a cool idea, but it's executed very poorly. The PIP window is exactly like how it is on a TV set: It's a window in the corner on the screen that lets you view something else. The point was to view the gameplay in the main view and then show you another section of the field in the PIP window. Unfortunately, EA implemented this by just adding a window that lets you use another camera angle. So it still shows your player and doesn't help you very much at all. You can't see down the field or anything. Another major problem with the PIP mode is that it totally kills the frame rate. To begin with, FIFA Soccer 64 didn't have a good frame rate.

Graphics & Sound

Graphically, FIFA Soccer 64 is unimpressive. For starters, the frame rate is noticeably choppy. From there, the animation transition is suspect, the players can look awkward and are composed of few polygons, and the graphics are blurry.

 

Since its move to CD-ROM, the FIFA series has been known for good commentary. Well, the N64 is cartridge-based, not CD-based. FIFA Soccer 64 may have the same announcing trio of Desmond Lienman, John Motson, and Andy Gray, but it's on a much more limited scale. Anyone who has played an EA FIFA game before will recognize how much voice was taken out—noticeably player names and countries/teams.

 

The sound's saving grace is the excellent crowd chants and player sound effects. The crowd reacts nicely with what is happening on the field—for example, if there is a drive to the goal or if there is a shot made on goal. You actually can sense the momentum build as you drive for the goal! Unfortunately, one of the options unavailable is the ability to toggle sound volumes within the game.

Conclusion

FIFA Soccer 64 is just marred with errors in every category. The graphics are bland, dull, and unrealistic. Although the crowd chants are pretty good, the boring trio of announcers brings down the sound a few notches. The control is more complex and confusing than it should be. The gameplay is inconsistent and comes nowhere near the level of innovation that International Superstar Soccer 64 brings.

 

About the only thing FIFA Soccer 64 has over its competitor is the FIFA license. But then again, who cares? International Superstar Soccer 64 is just so much better than this game. Do yourself a favor and save your time and money for Konami's spectacular game.

 

Graphics:

2.9

Sound:

3.8

Control:

3.1

Gameplay:

2.8

Lastability

3.2

OVERALL:

2.9

 

DOWN THE ROAD

Looking back at FIFA Soccer 64, I can honestly say that International Superstar Soccer 64 (ISS64) blows this game out of the water. There's just no comparison. FIFA: Road to the World Cup 98, however, is much better and is almost as good as ISS64.

 

Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: April 3, 1997

Appendix Added: December 6, 1997

 

 

 

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