FIFA Soccer: preview by Corey MacMillan

A review by Corey MacMillan <>

I'm not a huge fan of soccer, but I used to play, I watch it on TV occasionally, and I was a huge fan of FIFA for the Sega. Since I know what the problems were on FIFA, maybe I can help you out by letting you know which ones are still present and which ones have been fixed. I will address each of the problems from the original Sega cart and CD and what has been done for the 3DO, then I will let you know my other concerns about the game.

First problem: The pitch vs. the players. On Sega FIFA the pitch was too small for the players proportions. This HAS been corrected on the 3DO version. The pitch is huge. In the TV view mode you get a good look at the field, and it rotates to show the most critical areas for the situation.

Second problem: Passing. Anyone who played the Sega cart knows that the most effective means of passing was to shoot the ball up the field. However, this flaw was partially corrected with the Sega CD version. The 3DO version is similar to the Sega CD version in terms of passing, but the larger pitch enables you to pass to different areas of the field with greater accuracy. Passing is far from perfect though. Sometimes passes will be sent to a different player than you desire, and cross passes in front of the net are very dificult to connect, but not impossible. You can also vary the height of lob passes with the shift buttons. One thing that is not improved is passing back towards your defensive end. I seem to have these passes intercepted about 70 percent of the time, so the game is very attack oriented.

Third problem: Shooting. In the original Sega cart it was possible to score with relative ease from outside the penalty box. This was corrected in the Sega CD version, but it was still possible. I have not been able to use this shot effectively in the 3DO version. I have however found a shot that with a strong shooting strike never fails to hit the back of the net. The thing is in order to get this shot you must have a one on one break with the goalie and get him to come off his line, which brings me to....

Fourth problem: The Goalies. In both the original Sega Cart and the Sega CD goalies stayed on their line until the shot was released. Goalies also did other incredibly stupid things like diving on every shot. On the 3DO version goalies always challenge when you break the last defender. They don't make as many bonehead plays, but they still occasionally dive to stop a stray pass, but it is much less noticeable than in the Sega version.

Fifth Problem: Offsides. It was called all the time in the Sega version. Thankfully this MAJOR problem has been corrected. I get one or two offsides calls in a ten-minute game.

Sixth Problem: Bookings. No suspensions in the original Sega and Sega CD versions, but from what I have heard about FIFA '95 your Yellows are never wiped clean until you receive a second and hence a two game suspension and are ejected from the game even if it was your first card in that game. Red Cards draw a two game suspension which is correct. On the 3DO bookings only affect the current game. I would rather have this than the poor interpretation of the rules in Segas new cart, as bookings are not very common when I play... HOWEVER, succesfully tackling from behind will always result in a booking.

Seventh Problem: Players. All versions of FIFA proudly display made up names and the names of the programmers as players for each team. At least I am beginning to recognize my favorite players from the original versions on the newer versions. Another problem with Sega FIFA was that all players looked exactly the same. This has been adressed in the 3DO version. Players vary in skin color and hair color. You can pick out noticeable players on teams by these distinctions: The guy who would be Lalas has red hair, the guy who would be Valderama has dark skin and blondeish brow hair, although neither of these players has their real-life counterparts hair styles. However I do feel I can recognize my favorite players likenesses based on this information and what position they are playing.

Eighth problem: Bicycle kicks, headers, volleys, etc.: Bicycle kicks were WAY too common in the original Sega version, and headers and volleys were not common enough and not effective either. The Sega CD improved on volleys and headers and the 3DO expands on those improvements. Bicycle kicks are still overused, but not anywhere as bad as the original Sega. I see 3 or 4 in a 10 minute game. This should be closer to <1. But compare this to other sports games, such as a basketball game. In a real NBA game there are 4 or 5 good dunks on a GOOD night. In every computer basketball game there are 4 or 5 good jump shots and 45 dunks per game. People like to see this kind of flash in their games. Bicycle kicks are overused, but nowhere near as bad as slam dunks in basketball games. Also chest traps and knee traps have their own graphics in the 3DO game, which certainly improves the realness.

OK, those were the main concerns I can think of for now, I can probably answer other questions if you specifically ask them. I do have a couple of other gripes about the game, but they are really minor, so here goes: No club teams. Sega got club teams for '95 and they have limited storage capacity. However with fake names I don't really care. 40+ teams is about 30 teams more than I will ever use, and I probably will never play against half of them either. Second gripe, no commentary. COME ON! According to reports, the Sega '95 allows you to make the computer shout GOAAAAAL or other celebrations and we don't even get this? I was really hoping for speach, but it is obviously very minor because the gameplay more than makes up for it.

In my opinion the Sega CD version was the greatest sports game I had ever played. Last night I popped it in and couldn't last halfway through a 6 minute half. The 3DO version wipes the floor with it. It is that good and does improve some of the flaws. Yes many of the views are nothing but eye candy, but at least one view is very good. And for replays you will want to check every view.