FIFA Soccer ’97
Review by Al Giovetti, 12/20/96
Price: $49.95
Genre: sports simulation
Developer:Extended Play Productions
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Phone: 800-245-4525
Requirements: MS-DOS® 5.0 or higher or Windows® 95, Pentium 75 MHz processor or faster, Hard Drive Space MS-DOS Users: 3 MB minimum •Windows 95 Users: 15 MB minimum, Memory MS-DOS Users: 8 MB RAM •Windows 95 Users: 16 MB RAM, Graphics: 256-color, 1 MB PCI/VLB SVGA video card •MS-DOS Users: VESA compatible •Windows 95 Users: DirectXTM 2 compatible, CD-ROM 2x (MPC2 Compliant) CD-ROM drive •MS-DOS Users: DOS driver and MSCDEX version 2.21 or higher •Windows 95 Users: 32-bit Windows 95 driver •Audio MS-DOS Users: Sound BlasterTM 2.0 or higher, Sound Blaster ProTM, Sound Blaster 16TM and 100% compatibles, GravisTM UltrasoundTM and 100% compatibles, EnsoniqTM SoundscapeTM, Microsoft® Windows Sound SystemTM and 100% compatibles Windows 95 Users: DirectSound 2.0 compatible sound card •Input Devices: Microsoft-compatible mouse

Company line: A SPORTS delivers the world of soccer to your gaming machine or PC. And we do mean the world--world teams, six languages, authentic strategy, Virtual StadiumTM technology, indoor and outdoor action. Get your kicks with all-new 'motion blending' motion capture that makes every pass, every shot, every bicycle kick true to life. If soccer is a religion, here's your temple. Start praying.

History: Whether Americans believe it or not Soccer is the most popular sport on Earth. Electronic Arts Sports group in Canada has been producing some pretty phenomenal games for several years now and this is the 1997 version of a yearly classic.

Modes: The versitility required in a sports simulation is similar to a flight simulator, where you need tournament play, exhibition play, and season play. There are 255 international teams and 12 leagues represented in the game. Up to sixteen teams can be controlled through a season. Why the authors did not choose to allow you to control all the teams in one season is hard to fathom. A new arcade mode for faster game play. Indoor and outdoor game modes are supported, even though indoor arenas are not found in other games..

Stats: Up-to-date stats for 12 International leagues amd 255 teams. All your favorite teams are included in the 97 version of this award winning game.

Views: There are seven camera views. The three quarter view allows you to see the field from overhead while still getting a side view of the characters. The neatest view is the up close and personal view on the field as if you are playing the game.

Interface: Use either joystick, mouse, or keyboard to control your little players. There is very little in the way of coaching options beyond player substitutions and formation changes.

Graphics: Players look smooth enough to be the real thing when they run, kick, and butt the ball with their heads. Rendered on the fly players, using 3D+ allowing more animation frames, moves and detail. The uniforms

Animation: Accurate targeting, clear break-aways and smarter goalies are just of the few of the amazing changes with the new Artificial Intelligence Motion captured animation. The animation uses moves from an unnamed top European Player. Motion Blending is used to help the feeling of unlimited animation. A high level pentium is needed to have smooth and fast game control and play.

Voice actor: A Brittish accent announcer calls the play-by-play. The best Play-by-Play so far with full coverage of the match with 3 unnamed European commentators.

Music score: The music score is also excellent.

Sound effects: The sound effects on this game are excellent.

Difficulty matrix: Skill levels have beginner, pro, and semi-pro. Weather conditions from dry to extremely wet add to the play value and difficulty.

Editing utility: None. We see this as a very large deficiency.

Multi-player: The game supports null and phone modem for the two player combatant (head-to-head) mode, and LAN support for up to eight computers with up to 20 human players in both cooperative and head-to-head using the four-player GrIP daisychain pad. We have a game LAN in our office to allow for cooperative, but many use a null-modem to play will be denied cooperative play against the computer. The multiplayer options allow for up to eight players over a network and over the new Electronic Arts multiplayer network which is free for all registered purchasers of the game.

Hints, Tips, and Cheats: The computer is a great trainer. If you watch the computer play and get a feel for when it does certain moves, such as headers, and bicycle kicks, you will soon learn when to use these moves yourself and become proficient at playing the game. You certainly will not get good advice from the short , 55 pg. manual. The manual could use much more coverage of game play, especially in a country still resisting the urge to go soccer nuts.

The skill level control setting allows players of different skills to compete on an even level, making the old complaint that "it is hard to find someone at my skill level to play with" obsolete for this game.

Journalists: Scot was the only reviewer who rated this game so poorly and yet says it is the best Soccer simulation available.

Marshal M. Rosenthal, Boot, volume 1, number 5, January, 1997, pg. 99, (90%).
Jeffrey Tschiltsch, Computer & Net Player, volume 3, number 10, pg. 74, 90%, CNP Preferred.
Scott A. May, Computer Gaming World, issue 143, April, 1997, pg. 114, 60%