Need for Speed and FIFA Soccer: preview by Joe Cataudella

Text by Joe Cataudella <>

Just a quick post about some of EA's new 3DO games. I spent most of Sunday at my EA rep's office. We decided to compile a bunch of demo video tapes onto a single tape for convenience. As we were busy scyncronizing each segment, I'd jolt up each time a 3DO game was showing and said "wait, stop rewind. The tape was filled with a lot of 16-bit and PC games which are coming this fall/winter, but it was the 3DO titles that made me sit through the lenthy deal (some good titles on PC/Genesis/Snes as well). Anyways, the first to pop on was Slayer, which of course looks like a modified Dungeon Hack married to Ultima Underworld (but a much larger viewing area). The demo only showed a few dungeon denizens such as a Medusa-like character, who slowly started approaching your fighter while (first person character) pretty smoothly. A fireball-type thing was suddenly launched at Ms.snake-head. who sort of glowed for a minute, then dissapeard (nice shot mate). Yes, Slayer's monsters become pretty pixelated as they get closer (as do the walls, doors, etc..), but the game looks like a good, quick-paced action/RPG quest. The sound effects seem limited, but the music is pretty haunting. The ability to look in different directions (I believe independantly from your walking position) looked pretty interesting, but I'm curious about the control (future mouse control?). EA will be distributing this SSI title, and it should actually be the next release...any day (unless Star Control II jumps in first).

The title I was patiently waiting to see was NEED for SPEED. Of course, when it finally popped on, it lasted no more than 20 seconds. Well, let's didn't look like the Road Rash engine, but reminded me more of a next generation Crash 'N Burn. The 3D was ultra smooth, fast, as two scenes were shown: One was an external helicopter view of a fancy sports car booking down a road that looked a *bit* like something out of Ridge Racer. The car caught up to another driver as they collided; the other car spun out of control, and the car you would be driving did a double flip - landing on it's roof (you can even see the detailed underside of the car), as it spitted out large, transparent smoke puffs..very nice! The second scene was a first-person, "in-the-car" view, with a realistic, detailed dashboard. This time the car was flying (figuretively speaking ) through a wide, lit tunnel, as you exited into a pine-tree countryside scene. The background is super detailed, but looks like a flat painting which scrolls from side to side as you make your hairpin turns. Seems like more of the work went into the car and roadside scenery (as opposed to something like that 3D cloud effect in RR which looks very convincing in the background). All in all, the details are jaw-dropping, and the 3D world looks very impressive (first reaction might be "Whoah, this looks better than Road Rash"). I just wish I had further details like - is this a racing game, or do you take sports cars out for a "Test Drive" on different courses? If this game plays as good as it looks, we'll be locked in our houses for the winter!

The only game that I actually got to play was a close-to-final version of FIFA Soccer. In a word...AMAZING! This is a sports engine to end all others (for the near future at least). The camera work is revolutionary! The guy from EA couldn't get my attention for a few moments....I was immediatly obsessed! As of now, both FIFA and Need for Speed are scheduled for release sometime in November. This is going to be one technically hopping holiday season....

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