Released in 1994 by Electronic Arts it is funny to think that at one point, this was the first FIFA game. It seems funny at this point, but upon release FIFA International Soccer was quite revolutionary.
Upon beginning the game EA gives us a rousing multimedia presentation that showcases how crisp Cinepak really looks on the 3DO. The music is fairly engaging and then players are left with a fairly…cheesy looking front end. Even in 1994 this would have looked cheesy, but at the time it was a fairly good showcase for the 3DO’s capacity to display colour. FIFA is a football game though so let’s talk about the football.
For being such an early 3D effort, FIFA is a very competent football game. Control is fairly tight, though unfortunately passing can be a little random. That isn’t to say the ball will fly into the air and hit a space station but the somewhat hectic pace of the matches can turn them into an orgy of bitmaps falling over each other.
Another small issue I have with the gameplay is that the game is pretty good at anticipating when and to whom you will pass the ball. This can be viewed as decent artificial intelligence but it can actually be a little frustrating when this is almost not conceivable that it could happen in a real match.
It’s not all bad though. The game is very fun and the slick frame rate and solid control makes for a really addictive game of football. The multiple camera angles really makes for a dynamic game and although we take that for granted now, it would have been so refreshing and even now shows you how much of a different a dynamic camera makes for a more immersive, fast paced game.
I have already discussed the extent to which the camera is such an important element of what makes FIFA on 3DO so unique. The graphics, on the other hand, are a mixed bag. As a positive the geometry of the pitch and the texturing is solid and crisp. The textures are of a particular note as being very competent and while they’re obviously not photo-realistic, they still remain better than some of the later 3D football imitators that would follow which is to EA’s credit.That said, this is not a fully 3D game. This is one of the early 3D football games
that employs bitmap sprites which is a little irritating because they were so close to getting a fully 3D game. However, the technology leap they did make makes any niggles about sprites such a minor thing that there is no point in complaining.
FIFA International Soccer is an awesome game that suffers from some slight design issues. Nontheless it is so much fun generally that it is easy to overlook slight issues with balance and AI and appreciate the slick graphics, smooth frame rate, tight control and great presentation. For all 3DO owners, this is a must have.