By Ryan Howden
FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 – Playstation (1997)
So straight off I thought this game was awesome, it opens with a very 90’s cut montage that your eyes can’t quite focus on and Blurs Song 2 blaring to get you pumped.
Now that’s a song to open a game to
I again decided to try and take England to World Cup glory and started my qualifying campaign against Italy. The game has these really cool FMV openings before the game that show the city each game is being played in.
So my first qualifying game followed the campaign I had in Italia 90 with Gianfranco Zola lobbing David Seaman after tearing the English defence apart, my strike force struggles to breakthrough the Maldini-Nesta defence and the game finished 1-0 Italy.
New was Poland and Ian Wright knicked a goal after the Polish keeper fumbled. The only other major action of the game was a Polish free-kick after Seaman handled outside his box, but the Poles failed to capitalize.
The still plays really well even 17 years after release, while not graphically impressive compared to even games a few years further down the line, the controls are intuitive and the action feels fluid and responsive, a main improvement over the past versions is the switch player button generally goes to who you expect and want it to, though it sometimes has some missteps. It also has the commentary team of Andy Gray and John Motson with Des Lynham presenting putting most of today’s TV teams to shame.
I also looked into the team management options and saw I had the option to start the great Steve McManaman of Galacticos fame, so of course I did.
Wouldn’t you start a man with flowing locks like that
Next came Poland again and Shearer scored a stunning hat-trick finishing with an overhead kick. Poland got one back before half-time and a quiet second half meant the game finished 3-1 with my decision to drop Wright for Shearer justified.
Next a 2-1 win over Moldova and a 1-0 victory over Georgia with midfield workhorse Paul Ince getting his reward with a goal. Gazza scored a stunning brace in the revenge over Italy and Tony Adams scored a 30 yard screamer in the 2-0 win away at Moldova.
By the time of the last game against Georgia we had qualified top of the group and I thought I’d experiment and bring on some England greats like Le Tissier, Anderton, Flowers, Batty and Le Saux. It finished 3-0 with goals from Sherringham, Batty and a 18 yard volley form Le Tiss.
So we did it Mum! We qualified for the finals in style! Now the game does give you the option of a custom cup but since I have World Cup 98 lets just play that.
Rating: Psycho Screaming/10
World Cup 98 – Playstation (1998)
Opens with Chumbaawamba, Yes 10/10 were done best football game found.
Now I had the test all England Managers come under scrutiny for in their first World Cup game the starting line up.
I decided to go with a classic 4-4-2
Neville, Adams, Campbell, Hinchcliffe
Beckham, Ince, Gazza, McManaman
Tunisia first game and again a techno music FMV of the host city. I first I thought it was just my memory not remembering how long Playstation load times were, but it turned out my game had crashed and continued to up until the fifth restart when I gave up. This is a shame as any update on Road to World Cup 98 would have been great and people I know who have played this game say it is highly recommended.
So lets assume I did well enough with England to keep my job for 2002 and I’ll see you in Korea or Japan, you choose.
Rating: An Emile Heskey stepover/10 (It was all going so well)