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FIFA Soccer 97

fifa soccer 97

While FIFA 1997 game does not hold a candle to the football games we play today, its high levels of playability and addictiveness keep fans of the series glued to their screens. Of course, some of the features do not even nearly compare to what we use currently, but there is a certain innocence about this game, something different that you will not find on any game released now. This is why FIFA 1997 still sells a decent amount of copies today, and takes pride of place on retro gamers' shelves.

About Soccer 97

FIFA 1997 was the fourth game released in the series. Strangely enough, even though football (or soccer) is not a major sport in Canada, this is where all variations of the FIFA game have been developed. The game was released first on the PC, but soon after it hit the consoles; the Playstation, SNES, Saturn and Mega Drive.

One little known fact about FIFA 1997 game is that FIFA 64 (the first football game on the Nintendo 64) was, in fact, a replica of FIFA 97 even though it was released over a year later, and FIFA 'road to the world cup' 98 had already been on the PC gaming shelves for a couple of months.


FIFA 97 was the first game in the series to use polygonal players instead of 2D characters, which were used in the previous three FIFA games. The 1997 version also had motion capture, which had been performed by the legend that is David Ginola.

FIFA 97 game gave players the option to play with their friends. They could either play with 20 players on a local network or eight players online, which, as you can imagine, at the time was groundbreaking (if a bit slow).


If a developer released a game with these graphics in 2011, the game would be considered a joke; however, at the time the graphics (on the Playstation) made other games look inadequate. A combination of motion blending technology as well as 32-bit AI graphics allowed the game to surpass any other football title that had been released. In fact, FIFA 97 (at the time) was considered to be a graphical master class.


For the first time, the 1997 version allowed players to experience indoor football. This may not sound like a huge development, but, at the time, players enjoyed it because they could play total football without the need for the long pause every time the ball went out of play.

Of course, as well as indoor football, the game also had all of its regular leagues and a few irregular ones as well:

  • English Premier League
  • Brazilian league (Serie A)
  • A league (America, even though all players were fictional)
  • La Liga
  • Serie A
  • Ligue 1
  • Bundesliga
  • Scottish Premier League
  • Dutch Eredivisie
  • Swedish league (Allsvenskan)
  • And last and probably least the Malaysian Super league!


FIFA 97 had the 'dream team' of commentators on their panel. The trio of John Motson, Andy Gray and Des Lynam really made the game stand out from the rest, and the following FIFA games have always had an exceptional commentary team.

One thing that FIFA 1997 came under scrutiny about at the time was the errors in programming the commentary and the problems with spoken commentary. Programming errors included, for example, if you scored a goal in the very first minute the commentary would sometimes say; "that would win it surely". On the other hand, programming errors included players being pronounced incorrectly. While, at the time, these errors were seen as an annoyance, today, people that still play the game find them rather amusing.


Another point that makes FIFA stand out is their soundtracks. FIFA 97 had 10 wonderful tracks, including an 11th 'hidden track' which many of us will remember as a sped up techno mix featuring John Motson, Andy Gray and Des Lynam.


Many believe that the FIFA series really 'took shape' with FIFA 1997, and that if this game had not been released then things would be different today. FIFA 1997 is essentially a retro football gamer's paradise and this is why it still sells.

Game Analysis


As mentioned, when the game hit the shelves the graphics were groundbreaking. On the other hand, now they would barely pass for a poorly developed application, even though, if you are a fan of retro gaming then you can probably put a few points on that total.

Controls and Play

Regardless of the year, FIFA games always have a high playability level. The great thing about FIFA 97 is the game is simple as well as playable, and as we all know, some of the simplest of games have the best playability, which is why Tetris and Angry Birds are two of the highest selling games of all time.

Unique Concept

At the time, while quite original in the way it approached the game, FIFA had already released three games, and other major brands like ISS (International Superstar Soccer) had a few games behind them as well. The only real difference the game brought was the introduction of indoor football, which did not really take off.

Game Detail

When the game was released, there was no doubt the features made every other game look a bit Sunday league; however, now, with various modes and online play, all the games released more than five years ago look insignificant.


In terms of addictiveness, if you remember picking up a controller to play FIFA 97 game, then you will also remember the Playstation controller imprint in your hand. The reason this game was so addictive was twofold. Firstly, the graphical interface, which had been upgraded sufficiently kept every player amazed. Secondly, the game play (especially the addition of indoor football) kept FIFA addicts glued to the screen.


If you can get your old Playstation together then get the lads over and have a retro FIFA evening. Even if you have none of the equipment, you could get an original Playstation, two controllers and the game for about 20 (second hand). Considering new games cost double this amount, value for money is not an issue.

Rating - At the time (9/10) - Now (7/10)

If you have ever thought about playing an old game of FIFA then 1997 has to be the winner. On the other hand, this game may not interest those that enjoy today's graphics and attention to detail. Ask yourself, what do you prefer in terms of playability the original or the third version of the Playstation, if your answer is option A then FIFA 1997 game will be the choice for your party.

Find out about more classic games here.