FIFA Soccer: preview by Justin Beech

A review by Justin Beech <>.


Virtual Stadium (EA Sports, $80) is out in Japan. I originally went to the shop because I heard from this newsgroup that SFII2T was out in Japan, but the shop says 18th November, so scratch that one for 2 weeks.

The only other new releases were a bunch of cheap porno Photo-CDs of Japanese girls.... reviews of them just as soon as I invest enough time with the Zoom feature to really explore them in detail... :-)

Actually, its strange that EA Sports spent the time and money to do this title FIRST, before the US version. First Nova Storm, now this, could it be that 3DO is worried about the Xmas competition in Japan and is pushing developers to release Japan first ?

Anyway, to stop rambling, A one word review of VS : excellent.

A many word review:

This title must be the EA FIFA engine with a Japanese framework around it to adapt it to the local soccer league here. 12 teams are available, most of the text is in Japanese, all the teams colors are Japanese.

Stadium and Camera:

The stadium looks great, the crowd angles up and the roof ramps in, the majority of the crowd is a static bitmap, but the front few rows are animated, cheering and jumping etc.. Actually, as the camera moves around, the normal flickering with detailed bitmaps viewed from afar is a plus, as the whole crowd looks animated.

There is a giant scoreboard, that shows score plus little animations for happenings in the game.

Crowd noises:

Great! unlike the madden "tape loop", this crowd really seems alive, there is a background cheering that seems to match the action, and overlayed on that are a number of different themes that come in and out randomly: banging the seats, horn blowing etc... the crowd just sounds real. A shame is that they didn't do any "chants". The Japanese crowd only really knows one (We Are the Champions), and I guess they couldn't have "Ere we Go, Ere we Go, Ere we Go..." or some of the other more colorful European soccer chants. Pity.


Looks good. the players look a little small, its hard to tell sometimes whats going on when there are two or more near the ball. The pitch is a drab olive color, but each game gave me a different lawn-mowing pattern of a slightly different (but still darkish) green, plus a different sky I think.. ie good variety. Didnt see sleet or rain, so its not Virtual English football!


Good, a fair amount of animation frames. This is helped by the fact that they are indistinguishable, all brown haird, no numbers or anything, just the team colors, so loads of memory saved. players are viewed from 8 angles, walking, running, kicking high, sliding tackle, tripping, header etc are all done with enough frames to look good, but not perfect. Actually, in one low-to-the-ground view I watched as a player jogged up to the camera, and it looked just like an Imp from Doom ... [yes, Doom II is occupying my time]..


Great, the ball noises are done well, kicking, bouncing and so on are heavy deep thumps, much louder than a real game, but it helps the feeling of being on the field rather than just watching.


The current player is highlighed with a dim circle in the color of your controller, which goes bright when you've got the ball. You can switch to an alternative "near" player, tackle and head the ball if you are in the right spot. My only criticism would be that it seems too easy to have the ball taken off you, maybe its because I'm just starting out, but when I watched the computer play against itself, the ball just didnt stay in control of one side for more than 3 passes.

6 controllers are supported. Your choice which side, ie, you can have six on one side, or 3 on each, or whatever. All the football stuff is done, fouls, off-sides, corners, goalie kicks, throw-ins, free kicks etc. You can setup also your current team overall behavior, ie, attacking, normal, defensive, strong attacking, long kicking etc, plus pick formations, plus change the zones of defense forward and attack etc.


Awesome! 8 or so different views available of the current action, plus replays may be viewed by a number of other camera angles. The camera movement is silky smooth, it rotates and pans in all directions, moves up and down, zooms in and out to follow the action. The free-mode, for replays, is really fun. More so if you have something to rub your opponents nose in :-). You have all the normal video-cam controls, plus your camera can be positioned basically anywhere on the field, or in the air (with a height max of 100 feet or so). Actually this mode shows about the most convincing 3D of any 3DO game !


Half time and end-game offer video clips. Half-time has some famous goal moment from Japanese football, and end-game has either dejection (losing) or elation...

If you score a goal, the team leaps around convincingly, although they don't all jump on top of each other, but run towards each other, and then rather oddly stop about six feet apart and jump up and down in private celebration. I guess doing the graphics for hugging, ear kissing, and group cuddling is tricky...


You can play a single game, go for challenge mode, or season. You can substitute players, save your progress, watch a match, play against the computer, play against or with your friends, change camera angles, config sound effects, view player Bios, all the usual stuff.


If FIFA on 3DO is this title with European leagues, then buy it ! It should be awesome if you happen to own more than 2 controllers, but 2 controllers is fun also.

To be honest, it pisses all over Madden, technically its more advanced, plus I think Soccer with >= two controllers is more fun (and intense) than American Football, but thats my opinion.

-- Justin Beech