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International Superstar Soccer 64

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Reviewed by Phil Kehoe A few months back, FIFA 64 was released. I remember running to the store the day it came out to see what EA could do with the N64. When I first played the game I thought is was very cool. Since that time I have traded in FIFA 64 and purchased International Superstar Soccer 64. Let me just say that THIS is the game to show all of us just how much potential the N64 has to become a great sports machine. Since I owned FIFA 64 prior to owning ISS64 I will make the obvious comparisons.

GRAPHICS (4.7/5.0)

WOW! What a refreshing relief to see that the N64 can handle a high speed sports game. After seeing FIFA's poor scrolling I was a little worried. But ISS64 delivers near perfect graphics. The motion capture is very impressive. I don't recall seeing a sports game where your player can do so much. Everything from stretching to warm up, to all the in game motions and the post-goal celebrations. It's all there. The night games are equally impressive. If you watch the shadows on the players you will notice that they change according to where they are on the field. Very impressive. After hearing that Madden 64 will have 3-D weather effects, I kind of wish Konami had though that up and it was in this game. A minor quibble however.

SOUND (4.0/5.0)

The only reason why this received this low of a score is because of two complaints that I have. First the announcer while very cool does fall behind more than I would like to see. Second the crowd chants. I do like how the crowd get more excited and louder as you approach the goal but they cannot touch the crowd chants that where in FIFA 64. IMO that was the coolest thing about FIFA. Other than those two grips the sound is very good. All the in game sounds are their and are accurate. The announcer is very realistic and what he says is much more varied than FIFA. I love when you score a goal and he starts screaming GOAL!..GOAL!!...GOOOOOAAAALLL!!! FIFA's announcers never get that excited.

GAMEPLAY (5.0/5.0)

This is the best playing soccer game that I have ever played. I wish more sports games had AI like this one. The computer doesn't try to keep scoring one way like most games but actually reads the situation at does what it thinks is best. This might include passing it back and setting up. Their are five different levels for the AI. I have not played levels four or five but I can give my opinion of 1-3. Level one is very easy and is more their to help you learn some strategy. Level 2 is a little harder. For the first two days I was winning most of the games but I lost once in a while to a very good team like Brazil (I was USA). Well I just moved up to Level 3 and let me say that it is kicking my ass. But the beautiful this about this game is that if you learn strategies and use more of the techniques you can eventually overcome the AI. It's not like some games where the AI cheats. You watch some of the moves the computer pulls off and your like WOW why can't I do that, but eventually you will. What makes this possible is the very easy to learn control. This game is like a good puzzle game. It takes five minutes to learn the control but months to master the game.

EXTRAS (+.5)

This sections shows the reason why ISS64 is the best soccer game. No matter what kind of game it is there are always the little things that push a game from being good or great to becoming a classic. For example, the game is highly configurable especially in the exhibition mode. You can select the weather, time of day, referee, how good of shape your opponent is in, Goalie AI, number of players on the field, etc. Then their is the team strategies options. I love how you can select different strategies with the press of the Z and C button. You can call everybody up for and All Out offense one second and then quick switch to an All Out Defense without and interruption in gameplay. The usual player substitutions and formation selections are there but they are at a level higher than any FIFA game. The scenario section is another added bonus. They are very exciting and I love how they range in difficulty. Nice touch. Also how nice is it to see an ending in a sports game. Really cool celebration after winning the International Cup. Take note EA.

Overall (4.9/5.0)

This is the best soccer game I have ever played. I have been playing FIFA '96 (PC), and FIFA 64 before this and I probably will never go back to EA for a soccer game (As long as Konami keeps releasing new versions). FIFA '98 has a lot to live up to. Their needs to be a major overhaul in every department if it even wants to touch this masterpiece. If you love sports game or even multiplayer games this just might be the most exciting sports game out there.

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