FIFA 97 (also known as FIFA Soccer 97 in North America) is a video game developed by EA Canada and published by Electronic Arts based around the game of association football. It was released for the PC on June 24, 1996 and versions for PlayStation, SNES, Mega Drive and Saturn followed.
FIFA 97 was the fourth game in the FIFA series and the second to use the Virtual Stadium engine. Unlike the first game to use the engine, FIFA 97 features polygonal players as opposed to the 2D sprites used in FIFA Soccer 96. The engine however received complaints for being sluggish in the PC and PlayStation versions.
David Ginola (then a Newcastle United player) graced the cover of the game in the European market. He also was used for motion capture for the polygonal models in the game. Bebeto (the Brazilian striker) was featured on the cover for the Americas and Asia-Pacific markets.
- Campeonato Brasileiro Série A
- A-League
- FA Premier League
- La Liga
- Serie A Italia
- Ligue 1
- Fußball-Bundesliga
- Scottish Premier League
- Eredivisie
- Allsvenskan
- Malaysian Super League
- K-League
- J-League
- Uruguay Premier League
- Indian I-League
The main new feature of the game other than the motion capture was the indoor football mode. There were six ways to play the game, including outdoor and indoor, as well as action and simulation modes. 32-bit AI was used, as well as motion blending technology which led to some of the sharpest graphics in any football game of the time. Here, it was possible to play six-a-side football in an indoor arena with the ball bouncing off the walls meaning there is no throw-ins and therefore a much higher paced game. Leagues available in the game included the English, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Scottish leagues and the Malaysian M-league and other sides, as well as the American A-League clubs with fictional teams, composed of the game's creators such as Bruce McMillan and Penny Lee. Commentary is provided by John Motson and Andy Gray whilst the presenter is Des Lynam. Multiplayer games are also possible with up to 20-players via. LAN and 8-players using modem. The game trailer's tagline was "FIFA 97, it will blow you away."
Most European domestic leagues were featured in the game, including the English Premier League, but only teams from each nation's highest division were playable. The English clubs featured in the game were those who played in the 1995-96 Premier League. It was also possible to field custom teams made up of players from various real teams. However,these teams could only be played with in friendly matches.
The game's commentary included the names of the majority of players on the game, and the names of the teams were also said by John Motson. Several errors plagued the game's commentary, such as John Millar of Heart of Midlothian being referred to as Joe Miller, who in fact plays for Aberdeen on the game. Also, at times when a goal kick was awarded, the commentator would say that the kick had been given to the opposing team. Another similar error was that a kick-off would be referred to as a cross, as well as a goal in the first minute being described as a goal "that would win it surely". Another, however very rare error is that when a team has scored a goal that equals the scores of both teams, the commentary would state the correct score, however it also states that the team, which has previously had the lead, now leads, for example: "The score's now 1 - 1 for England".
FIFA 97 features 10 songs which were made by EA Sports.
Both Play Magazine in Issue 15 and Official UK PlayStation Magazine in Issue 15 rated the PlayStation version of the game similarly with a score of 70% and 7/10 respectively. Play when comparing it with FIFA 96 commented that it was "Graphically better, but plays worse". GameSpot scored the PC version 8.2/10.
- FIFA 64, the first FIFA game to appear on the Nintendo 64 was based on FIFA 97.
- The game also had several Football teams in the USA league with players who were members of the production team; for example, commentator John Motson was featured as a defender and animator David DeMorest was a midfielder. Statistically, however, the best player on the game was Nick Wloydka, who was an employee of EA Canada and was Assistant Producer for FIFA 97 at the time. He went on to produce WWE SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth and 2002 FIFA World Cup.
- Putting the PlayStation version of the game into a CD player not only allows you to listen to music tracks from the menus within the game, it also allows you to hear a dance-like track that was not featured in the game. The song, which lasts just over 2 minutes, features quotes from commentators John Motson, Des Lynam and Andy Gray from the game itself, and also features quotes which don't feature in the game at all, and that were presumably made specifically for the song itself.
- Fifa 97 main production team at gamefaqs - http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/genesis/data/563324.html
- Nick Wloydka filmography: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1552671/