Thursday, October 18, 2007

FIFA game history (1995-1997 versions)

After the FIFA'94 success, EA developed the FIFA'95 exclusively for Sega's 16-bit console (Mega Drive, to be accurate). New version had the same engine with only minor retouches and the most essential change was the first time adding about 200 club teams to the series. Players could then play England, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, United States, Spain and Brazil leagues, tournaments and playoffs. Also new, a battery backup allowed to save up to four competitions in the cartridge, replacing passwords. And, of course, a football lottery was brought to the FIFA. The Penalty Shootout training mode was added.

FIFA'96 came with the tag- line "Next Generation Soccer" and that was the truth. The version of 1996 is the first FIFA game to feature real-time 3D graphics on the 3DO, Sega Saturn, PlayStation and PC, using technology called "Virtual Stadium". The game's commentary was also revolutionary at the time. Famous British commentator John Motson commented all the incidents and happenings on the pitch in real-time and his phrases varied enough not to make gamers bored. Another one great feature appeared then. It was the first time in the FIFA series when players had real names and positions. There were ranking, transfer and team customization tools. Thats is more, FIFA' 96 boasted eleven leagues, 59 International teams and even International tournaments such as the World Cup.

Sega Mega Drive and Super Nintendo Entertainment System versions, however, had the simply engine of FIFA'95 with updated teams and graphics (the 32X version features 3D enhanced graphics).

The main changes in FIFA'97 was the inclusion of 6-a-side indoor soccer mode and practicing possibilities. Gamers could choose between action or simulation styles, with fouls, injuries and offsides available to toggle on or off. All player moves was copied from David Ginola using the MotionBlending technology. Full interactive replays were included. It was the historical version of the FIFA series, cause commentator Andy Gray debuted in it. The same guy who comments matches in FIFA'06 and '07.

Hmm, but maybe the most vivid image would the scene from the game itself. Here we go: 6 on 6 and normal match in FIFA'97:

FIFA game history (1993)

A few days have left till the FIFA 2008 will be released. Therefore I will try to fill these days of impatience with history of this unique video game.

The first version of the game appeared on the late 1993. It was named FIFA International Soccer, but also known as FIFA'94. FIFA series somehow is the most successful job of the EA sports video games, cause it had the strongest competitors. While there was no major competition when EA released both the first titles in their Madden NFL and NHL series, football video games such as Sensible Soccer, Kick Off or Matchday Soccer were being developed since the late eighties and were already competitive games in the Football video games market when EA announced FIFA. To my mind, FIFA has the strongest opponents nowadays too. For example, nobody compares NBA Live with some other basketball game, but everybody discusses which is better: FIFA or PES?

However, let's return to FIFA' 94. It has changed traditional 16-bit era games attitude to football by presenting an isometric view rather than the usual top-down view (Kick Off), side view (European Club Soccer), or bird's-eye view (Sensible Soccer). The Sega Mega CD version includes some features from the next title, and is a highly polished version of the original. A notorious bug allows the player to score directly from an apposing goal kick by standing in front of the goal keeper so that the ball rebounds off him into the net.

Released for: Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, Mega-CD, Game Gear, SNES, DOS, Amiga, 3DO, Game Boy