Search For Posters!
  Join the SGN staff!
Help Wanted
Release Dates


About Us

The Sports

Partner Links
Auto Insurance Quote
Irvine Moving Companies
LA Moving Companies
Brand Name Shoes

[an error occurred while processing the directive]

FIFA 99 (PSX) Review

Background Info

FIFA 99 is the third entry in EA's long-running series to be released in the past 12 months, following FIFA 98: Road to the World Cup, and World Cup 98. In the meantime, EA's stranglehold on the Playstation soccer crown has been threatened by Konami's International Superstar Soccer 98. Do we really need another EA soccer game so soon after World Cup 98? When that game is FIFA 99, the answer is a resounding YES!!!

Presentation/Graphics : 94
Like most EA Sports games, FIFA 99 features a terrific intro and great presentation throughout. Prior to each match, the teams march into the stadium side by side, the captains of each squad meet up for a pre-game handshake, and players warm up with stretches. Though every match begins this way, it remains fresh because the pre-game rituals are presented from a variety of camera angles from one time to the next. It's this sort of variety and attention to detail that makes FIFA 99's presentation so special.

Matches can be played in one of 16 nicely rendered European stadiums and, depending upon the game mode, begin with a video fly-in. Unfortunately, the fly-in doesn't take you right into the stadium as in FIFA 98, but the brief exterior view is impressive nonetheless. The interiors are adorned with advertising banners surrounding the pitch and look great. The crowds are flat and lack any sort of detail, but this is a small price to pay based on what FIFA 99 delivers graphically down on the field.

Player models, when viewed in close-up, are quite angular. While the players could stand to be more rounded, their blocky physiques smooth out considerably when viewed during gameplay from any of the several available camera angles. Moreover, with the slew of animations programmed into FIFA 99, the players move with utterly realistic fluidity.

The graphics during gameplay could be slightly cleaner, but the overall look is excellent and everything moves along very smoothly with little choppiness or slowdown evident even when the action heats up and there are many players on screen. There are moments when it's possible to lose track of the ball around the net or after a shot, but these are infrequent and don't affect gameplay.

Presentation/Audio : 96
The audio in FIFA 99 is the loudest and most dynamic of any game I can recall. I have my audio system set loud to begin with and, even at the default 80%, I had to adjust the game sound down. This isn't a complaint, only to say that the music, commentary, and sound effects all come through loud and clear.

In keeping with the stellar visual presentation, FIFA 99 delivers on the audio front as well. As with the last two incarnations of the game, FIFA 99 employs a three-man commentary team. However, sadly missing in action this time around is everyone's favorite Scotsman, Andy Gray. Despite his absence, the two men in the booth, the returning John Motson along with color man Tracy Lawrenceson, do an outstanding job of calling the play. They deliver context-specific commentary throughout that is more than varied enough to remain fresh through extended play. The crowd and other sound effects create a wonderful atmosphere, though it's difficult to tell who the home team is based on crowd reaction. Still, they rise and fall in volume based on what's going on down on the pitch, and the combined effect provides a real sense of being there when the audio is pumped through a Dolby Surround set-up.

Interface/Options : 93
Considering the number of modes and options available in FIFA 99, the menu interface is well designed, and largely intuitive. The main menu screen alone presents a staggering 12 possible selections (including a nifty training mode). The sub-menus, while chock full of options, are logically arranged and easily navigable. Only once have I become hung up in figuring out how to do something, and that was while creating a Custom Cup. A very fine job overall.

Gameplay : 95
Depth, depth, and more depth. That's the only way to describe FIFA 99's gameplay. Now that the World Cup has come and gone for another four years, EA has shifted the game's focus to league play. While it's still possible to play a 32-team international cup tournament, there is no World Cup mode per se and there are no regional conference qualifying rounds. This will no doubt disappoint some fans (this one included), but EA have compensated by the sheer number of teams and modes of play that they've packed into FIFA 99. Season play includes the ability to play in one of 12 national leagues, each of which is made up of about 18 real-life teams and players. There are 220 teams available in this mode alone! Not satisfied with playing through a season in the Belgian league? Not to worry, just sign on as one of the 20 top flight sides in the European Dream League or participate in one of the stock Cup tournaments. Better still, structure your own cup tournament or league and work your way to the top with the team of your choosing.

FIFA 99 plays better and more realistically than any other game of the series to date. Analog control is well implemented allowing for smooth player movement and precise shot targeting and passing. Subtle but effective use is made of shock feedback when tackling or being tackled. Speaking of tackling, this is the most physical FIFA yet. No longer are yellow or red cards flashed at the slightest sign of contact. Players are carded appropriately for blatant fouls (e.g. tackling from behind), but are left alone to play aggressive, hard-nosed soccer the rest of the time.

Control will be comfortably familiar to FIFA veterans, but remains a little daunting for novices. This is attributable to the vast number of moves the player has at their disposal. Basic moves like passing, shooting, and lobs are straightforward, but the more advanced moves are performed by various combinations of button taps and presses which can get quite complex. For example, a passback is executed by pressing R1 while holding R2 and L2 and using the D-button to select the player to pass to. It's great that this level of control is available but, with so many moves in all, only the most persevering players will master them all to the point that they can be pulled off in the heat of the moment. Add to this the degree to which formations, individual player positioning and strategies can be set and called up on the fly, and you have a simulation of unparalleled depth that is brimming with replay value.

Match length can be set to one of several pre-determined increments up to full 45 min. halves. The default is 4 mins., but I found that 6 mins. produced the most realistic results. A short match length has the added benefit of allowing you to play several games in a single sitting, making FIFA 99 a great choice to pop into the PSX when gaming time is limited. There is also an option to adjust game speed to one of four settings. It's nice to have the option, but the default slowest speed (Normal) will be plenty fast enough for most.

Ball physics are superb and result in kicks and headers that follow realistic trajectories in terms of height, angle, and distance. The ball is also more prone to remain in the field of play than in previous editions, and this results in fewer stoppages and throw-ins. The combined effect is a game that flows with convincing realism.

Difficulty : 90
FIFA 99 offers three levels of difficulty: Amateur, Professional, and World Class. The AI on Amateur is plenty tough enough to keep beginners challenged without becoming frustrating. While CPU opponents at this level provide sufficient time and space to allow comfortable ball movement when learning the game, they will not allow you to dribble the ball all over the field at will; effective passing is a must. The opposition will challenge you with tackles and attack your defense. FIFA veterans will no doubt head straight for Professional level. Here, the AI plays much tighter and attacks and tackles more aggressively. Constant passing and a grasp of at least some of the special moves (crosses, header and volley shots, for example) are essential for success at this level. World Class level? Let's just say that you better have your cleats laced up tight before venturing there.

The AI on both sides of the ball in FIFA 99 is excellent. Players are well positioned, and the visual indicator that was introduced in World Cup 98 makes precision passes to players positioned off-screen simple to execute.

The only downfall of FIFA 99 is that some players might find it a bit too difficult. Even at its easiest difficulty, the game is quite challenging to begin with. Make no mistake, this is a simulation of the sport of soccer, not an arcade game, and a superb one at that. The learning curve between the Amateur and Professional levels is fairly steep, but not so much so that scores become unrealistically out of hand. However only the very best players need apply to World Class level. This bodes very well for long term replayability, but a gentler learning curve might have given the game a slightly wider appeal.

Overall : 94
FIFA 99 is the complete package. Combining terrific presentation, graphics, audio, and gameplay, with unsurpassed depth, it is sure to keep soccer fans satisfied for some time to come. While the control and higher level difficulty will take some time to master, the game remains addictively fun and ranks as perhaps the best simulation of ANY sport in console gaming today.

By: Pete Anderson 11/25/98

© 1998-2006 Sports Gaming Network. Entire legal statement. Feedback

Other Links:
[Free Credit Report  |   Car Insurance Quotes  |   Designer Shoes  |   Outdoor Equipment

MVP Baseball 2003
Street Hoops
Mad Catz Xbox Hardware

Inside Pitch 2003
MLB Slugfest 20-04
Tennis Masters Series