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FIFA Road to the World Cup '98

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Reviewed by Scott McCall Am I dreaming? You mean to tell me that this game was developed in less than a year by the same people who put out that crap called FIFA Soccer 64? Yes, as hard as it may be to believe, FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 is a great soccer game that can actually go head-to-head with Konami's International Superstar Soccer 64. FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 is light years beyond FIFA Soccer 64 in terms of aesthetics. In fact, the game looks even better than ISS64. For starters, FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 is the first N64 game to use the medium resolution mode (512 x 240), which puts it somewhere in between your everyday N64 game and NFL Quarterback Club '98. Second, the animation is drastically improved. There is a ton of realistic and smooth animation for the various situations. Third, there are some great weather effects, shadows, and light sourcing in the game. FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 is slightly improved in the sound category as well. The first FIFA had good sound, and this game is even better thanks to commentary that sounds clearer and is more focused. However, I still prefer ISS64's enthusiastic announcer. There's a nice selection of crowd chants, too. But perhaps the most incredible thing about FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 is when you first turn on the game. After hearing a CD-quality sample of the standard EA Sports startup, which is noticeably better if you are familiar with the monaural one used in Madden 64, you are treated to a 15 second, high-quality sample of -- in stereo, no less -- "Song 2" from Blur! You know, it's that "Woo-hoo!" song. Amazing! You mean to tell me this is a cartridge? But as any sports fan knows, it all comes down to realism, control, and gameplay. Although FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 has been tremendously improved in these areas, I still think it's just a hair below ISS64. My reasoning is that the control still isn't as precise and the game does feel a tad too slow. You will probably also find that the intelligence is slightly inferior. On the other hand, you do got the FIFA license with FIFA: Road to World Cup 98, so that's very important now that the games are almost equal. It should also be mentioned that FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 has an extremely cool indoor soccer mode. Which is the better soccer game? It's your call. My personal feeling is that soccer fans who want real teams and real players will definitely want to get FIFA: Road to World Cup 98, since it's nearly as good as Konami's effort. But International Superstar Soccer 64 would probably be a better bet for casual soccer fans or the die-hard soccer fans who rather have more realistic gameplay and more intelligent opponents. Either way, you can't go wrong.

Graphics: 4.7 out of 5 Sound: 4.4 out of 5 Control: 4.3 out of 5 Gameplay: 4.5 out of 5 Lastability: 4.7 out of 5 Overall: 4.5 out of 5

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