Fifa ’99 Review – GOOOOAL! Oh wait…

It’s week two of Crap Month and we’re halfway through my list of terrible games to play.
Wahoo! I felt like a complete change of style this time and so swapped my awful dating-sim for an equally awful sports game. This week will coincide with the new release of FIFA 12 by becoming a review about its much older brother: FIFA 99, by our good friend EA. Now, I’ve never been a fan of football and believe me, this game made a futile attempt to turn me into one, which isn’t bad, considering I’m both a girl and a nerdy gamer. So instead of avoiding it completely, I decided to give it a go, despite the concept being about as unfamiliar as love would be to a zombie.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but I know next to nothing about football, making choosing my team extremely difficult. It was the European League and all sorts of crazy
foreign team names were confusing my poor brain. Instead, I opted for the obvious choice of Barcelona; good stats, famous place, why the hell would I not? The game then proceeded to ask me a series of questions about the day of the match which I answered by singing the children’s rhyme “Eeny Meeny Miney Mo”. Five minutes later, my game was set out; Barcelona vs. Bayern Münich playing at Glasgow stadium (don’t worry, I have no idea who was playing as the home team either!) in the snow. It sounded interesting to say the least.

And we were off! I make a swift pass to my teammate who was brutally tackled by the other side… and then they scored. In a matter of seconds. If you’re good at football games, these play like that majority of other FIFA games; little men run around, kicking the blob they call a football into the opposite team’s goal. Football, right? If you’re me however, you watch as the other team whups your ass while you get red card after red card. The referee completely ignored the blatant fouls from their team too. Arsehole. After being defeated 6-0, I decided to check the other styles of games out. Because they’re all the same thing again and again, I’m just going to list some that I should have checked out beforehand, such as Training and a Friendly Match. Go figure.

I bet you’re wondering exactly how well the matches are played out aren’t you? Well the game cost me 49p, how well do you think they flipping play? There was no such thing as an analogue stick at this time, so each player only has a choice of eight directions to run in and they run in perfectly straight lines. When you’re trying to run around a defender, this isn’t the best strategy and may explain why I was thrashed. The AI is not only terrible but catastrophic. The whole team hangs around, defending your goal, even when you have the ball. This means that once you get past the halfway point, all Midfielders and Attackers (see, I’m not that bad with football!) seem to have gone for a cup of tea and you’re left to sprint up the field before slamming your fist down on the shoot button, because that’s the only way it works. Even after doing that, you miss.
The game has such a deep hatred for you that it’s near impossible to score. Another thing that almost ended in the disc being snapped in two was the fact that the button to do a ‘legal’ tackle, was also the one to shoot. Now this would be fine if you didn’t have to hit it about five times in order to tackle, almost always resulting in your Defender attempting to score a goal from the opposite end of the pitch. Even I’m cleverer than that.

It’s the late 90s, the era where console games just started to become 3D and everyone wet their pants because they could play near-realistic football. Newsflash 90s kids: the graphics are so bad, it makes me want to cry. Sure, maybe not at the time, but we’re not in that time, we’re in late 2011. They’re blocky, the football is literally a couple of white pixels floating around the screen and the footballer’s arms glitch when they move, which is always handy while you’re running. Oh, and the snow is stuck to one place in front of the camera, I can’t tell whether it’s actually snowing on the pitch or not… Compared to other games of its time, such as Tomb Raider, these came straight from the garbage pile.

The only real song I heard on this game was The Rockafeller Skank by Fatboy Slim that, although popular, isn’t a good song. But you know what? This game has next to no decent parts for me so it seems the perfect choice. I understand that the game includes a handful of bad songs such as this from different countries, so at least the diversity is perhaps quite nice. Other than that, the crowd predictably cheers and jeers at you (mainly the latter) and plays with their air horns, which does seem by far the most exciting part of football. The commentators are alright, but not great. One guy is really into each match, saying how good/bad all players are, how well the goalie saved that goal or just how close to the post that ball just flew. The other guy listens in to this enthusiastic talking and, after a few seconds pause, replies with something along the lines of “Yeah, I agree.”. Boy, are you interesting…

I sincerely hope that the newer instalments have improved on near enough everything that was included in this game or at least taken a whole new path. If not, the whole series gets a red card and a three match ban.

Sorry game, you get a measly 2/10 for me.


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Sian Bradley

Sian is a co-founder of Cubed Gamers, having been around since 2011. When she isn't helping to manage the site, she's exploring every nook and cranny in games to create guides you didn't know you needed.