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E. A - Sports



Electronic Arts

1-4 Players

Game Type

Sports Simulation

Mem. Card

Review Date

July 1997


Setting the Scene

Purchase a licence such as PGA, NBA of NHL and your half way to securing a top selling sports game. FIFA tops the list as the most recognizable association to the game of soccer and EA once again hold the exclusive rights to this connection. FIFA '96 outsold it's nearest PlayStation rival approximately five fold but it must be said that it was definitely not five times a better game than Actua Soccer. In fact if truth be known it was probably two times worse.


FIFA '97 is a soccer game that attempts to put the record straight as the sprite based characters are substituted by polygon motion captured players and the wealth of game options even includes the facility for an indoor five-a-side tournament.


Every conceivable graphical effect has been blended together to produce a soccer game that looks the business. David Ginola was used as the model to provide the motion captured players who look so realistic when they jog out onto the pitch and take up their positions for the forthcoming attraction. Just look at the detail of the players features, while their strips include squad numbers on the back of their shirts, club colors embroidered into the shorts and even the socks have identifiable colored hoops.

The game can be viewed from any of the eight available camera positions. Every possible angle is covered -sideline, cable, goal, stadium, shoulder, tele, ball and tower. However, as in all sporting sims there are only a couple of them that could be deemed playable.

Sounds and Effects

Desmond Lynam introduces the proceeding before handing over to match commentator John Motson, with co-comments provided by Andy Gray. There are a few variations on the introduction and although far from perfect the general commentary is a vast improvement over soccer games of old.


If it's options your after then Fifa '97 has them all, and a few more thrown in for good measure. Friendly - a single match between two teams of your own choice from a selection of over 250 clubs, yep that's 250 teams from all areas of the globe. If you cannot find a team to your liking (boy, are you fussy), then why not customize your own team from over 4,000 players using the transfer system.

League - Select a club from one of the eleven official leagues to challenge for the championship crown or take up to eight teams through an entire league schedule. Tournament - Play in a domestic or international league tournament, then take your champions on to a Playoff series. Playoff - Create a playoff tree with up to 16 teams, then take your favorite on a race for the championship.

The game length can last from as little as four minutes up to a full length of ninety. Three modes of play are offered simulation, action or arcade while fouls, injuries and the offside rule may be switched off or left on. Select the size of the pitch and the weather conditions you wish to play in, as the wetter the turf, the more sluggish the ball moves.

Fifa '97 offers three skill levels from beginner to pro and two control pad options with a complex setting allowing you to execute advanced skills.

Finally you may select to play a standard outdoor game or a fast paced match in an indoor stadium where the touchlines are replaced by Plexiglass topped boards to keep the ball in play.

So there you go, an option of gameplay that should suit everybody but what matters the most is how the game actually plays.

When I was a boy I remember reading a Roy of the Rovers comic book where the hero of Melchester Rovers used to practice his skills on the training ground wearing boots lined with lead. The idea was that when Match Day came along Roy would discard the heavy footwear and replace them with a lightweight pair of shooting boots. Overnight, this transformed Roy into a twinkle-toed striker that would nimbly dance around defenders before launching a rocket of a shot that was so powerful it would blast a hole in the back of a net.

Fifa '97 reminded me of this, but unfortunately the players have forgotten to replace their lead lined boots before kick-off and are forced to participate in a slow motion football match that borders on the painful. Yes, Fifa '97 is another typical example of graphics over gameplay.

Because every movement has been motion captured perfectly, the polygon players appear to first get their eye on the ball, then raise back the leg, a quick glance up to spot a team mate before lowering the foot through the ball to produce a perfect pass - but the balls gone, you've been tackled and the opposition is charging at your defenders, well slowly charging. The players trot around the park as if there is not a care in the world. There is a sprint button but this seems to boost their speed from very slow to slow while a goal scored sees a twenty second replay, a ten second celebration and a thirty second jog back to the half way line before the game continues.

Value for Money

Look, if your new to video soccer games then the pace, or lack of it, will probably suit you. Fifa '97 is probably the most realistic looking sports game on the PSX, but if your idea of a soccer game is exciting attacking play and fluid movement then check out the competition first.





Fifa '97 will have it's market and will probably appeal to the younger generation. The indoor tournament will produce a bucket full of goals but a thimble full of skillful moves. I must say that I prefer Soccer '97 to this, any day.











A few months ago I bought this game on the Megadrive and still think that it's the best soccer game on the 16 bit system. The graphics look better on the Playstation but it plays much slower and I found it difficult to score.








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