EA's celebrated soccer series returns to PC with FIFA 99. Featuring an enhanced frame rate and added animations over its predecessors, FIFA 99 also includes such details as accurate player heights, player head tracking, night games, and more detailed texture models. On the pitch, your athletes will be able to perform new slide shots, traps, tackles, and acrobatic skill moves. The main draw to this installment is a full season mode with a choice of 250 club teams from 12 leagues. Other options include a European dream league featuring 20 top-ranked teams and stadiums, and international matches with 42 national teams. FIFA 99 offers three EA Sports competitions as well as the ability to create custom leagues and cups. Up to eight players are supported via LAN or Internet.
Well, with FIFA, EA Sports brought soccer to the video masses. It's a license with a long history, and each one has just improved on the engine. This year's installment is no different and it just continues the excellence we've come to expect from EA Sports ... it is in the game after all.
FIFA 99 lets you play 250 teams from 12 world leagues (Belgium, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, and the USA). You can also play in the European Dream League (sorry America, looks like we're just not good enough yet), which consists of the best players and club teams in Europe. Unlike other EA Sports games, the virtual players do not look like their real-life counterparts. But you can imagine how daunting of a task it would be to recreate every player from every team in the world. Not that it really matters to me since I don't know what any of the players look like anyway, but the Brits sure did have something to say about it.
In FIFA 99 you can choose to play a single match, a league tourney, a cup tourney, play up to a certain number of goals, or, with the quick game mode, you can jump into a match immediately. There's even a training mode where you can learn all of the basics of the game. This offers up a lot of soccer variety, allowing you to play long, drawn out games or play a quick pick-up game.
Along with the numerous game type options, FIFA 99 also includes numerous other game options. You can create your own soccer players or even your own teams. In the management screen, you can pick your starting line-ups, position your players on the field, decide who takes penalty kicks, and trade players between teams. You also have the option of playing in hot weather, rain, sleet, or snow, making for some rather humorous matches as your players slide particularly far when attempting a tackle. How come their legs don't get dirty, though?
So you're probably wondering what this year's installment offers over the previous versions? There's improved framerate (it actually ran great on a P166 with only 3D software acceleration), better control, new moves (including chest taps, slide hooks, and fakies), improved ball physics, and improved AI. EA also claims they've included real-life player heights, but I personally saw no difference in the players except for their skin color and hairstyles.
Control is fluid and moving the ball down the field is a lot easier than in previous versions, which were rather sluggish in comparison. I found using the keyboard was just as satisfying as using a gamepad, with no control loss at all. The adjustable camera means you can focus on the action from a variety of angles and, if you like arcade action more than pure simulation, you can also activate an on-screen radar which shows the position of all the players on the field. And for you control freaks out there, FIFA 99 let's you take command of your goalie. Personally I like to leave the tending to the computer (as I usually screw it up) and control the other players on the field, but to each his (or her) own.
Where this game really differs from the other games in the EA Sports line is the in-game commentary. Where games like NHL 99 and NBA Live utilize running commentary which rarely repeats itself, FIFA 99s commentary seems to pale in comparison with the same phrases used over and over, sometimes within seconds of one another. Regardless, this hardly takes away from the gameplay and FIFA 99 is still a solid game.
FIFA 99 supports a variety of 3D chipsets, including 3Dfx, Glide, Voodoo Rush, ATI 3D Rage, Nvidia TNT, and Nvidia Riva among others. For you gamers who like to challenge your friends, FIFA 99 also supports up to 20 players on 8 PCs, offering up some intense multiplayer action.
Each EA re-release is basically the same thing: there aren't enough changes to qualify as a brand new product, but just enough extras to add spice to an already excellent product. I would recommend FIFA 99 to anyone looking for a good soccer game, but if you have 98, there may not be enough here to warrant a new purchase. It's definitely the best soccer sim on the PC, bar none ... of course, what's the competition? Sensible Soccer? Hah, I made myself laugh!
People who downloaded FIFA 99 have also downloaded:
FIFA 2000, FIFA World Cup 98, FIFA 2001, FIFA Football 2003 (a.k.a. FIFA Soccer 2003), FIFA Soccer 2002, FIFA: Road to World Cup 98, FIFA Soccer 2004 (a.k.a. FIFA Football 2004), FIFA Soccer 97
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