Company: EA Sports
Controller: Console’s own
The game which started a highly-succesful series of videogames released until now, a franchise which broke a lot of molds referring to football association (soccer in some parts of the world) videogames (and to some, sports in general) which can be refered as a milestone. With a solid playability, and an adequate difficulty level for beginners (and even to non-beginners) Electronic Arts took by storm a highly competitive market with a ground-breaking game.
Differentiating it from those football videogames with horizontal view, vertical, or Bird’s Eye (paradigms more familiar in those years) by using an isometric view which became the household trademark not only in football association games, but other sports like basketball and rugby; if you add highly-fluid animations supported by very simple controls with the maxim of easy to learn, but hard (really hard) to master.
The game was available during december of 1993, with the goal of using the publicity for the incoming FIFA World Cup the next year in USA, to test if the game could be sold in North America, becoming an awesome goal.
The player has the option of choosing different modes of gameplay. These go from an exhibition match (ideal for a quick match between two human players); a tournament with rules like the ones in FIFA World Cup tournament with 24 teams; a league with 8 teams playing matches in round-robin fashion becoming champion the team with more points ant the end of the tournament; or even, a playoff system.
There are 48 teams to choose from, catching my eye teams which have not appeared (by then) in FIFA World Cup (Japann 🇯🇵); others with a lot of time between appearances (Israel🇮🇱); and even that until now have not played in the tournament (Hong Kong 🇭🇰, Qatar 🇶🇦).
The control scheme is quite straight-forward: with the controller cross, the player moves the highlighted player (with a star), meanwhile with any of the other 3 buttons you can shoot the ball where the ball travels according to the force pressing the button. In case the ball is in the air, according to the time you press the button, and the height of the ball, you can see the virtual footballer executing a normal shoot, a bycicle kick of a head move.
When you don’t have the ball, with one button you change to the closest virtual footballer to the ball, meanwhile using other it’s possible to sweep or tackle the rival trying to get the ball. The fluid animations make a cute show of the different results of each type of play.
There are lots of customizable options, like there can be fouls or offside (or not). Of course, disabling the fouls gives too much liberty to see a flagrant fould to the rival just front or the referee and he completely ignores the receiver of the “gift”.
Highly recommendable if you are a beginner player, letting the option that the game controls the goalkeeper. Also catches my attention the close-up techinques and movement to execute corner kicks and throw-ins, allowing high precision of sending the ball to where you want looking for the virtual teammates to shoot to the goal.
A notable “bug” in this version of the game, is that if you position your forward just front of the rival goalkeeper, and press any shoot button at the right time after the goalkeeper kicks the ball, the forward execute a bicycle kick or head move and is an almost-sure goal. In later versions of the game, the “bug” was fixed.