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World Cup 98 (video game)

From Kick Off World of Soccer - wikickoff

World Cup '98 was the first official FIFA World Cup game developed by EA Games after obtaining the rights from FIFA in 1997 ahead of previous holders U.S. Gold. Unlike the previous World Cup games, which were in 2D and showed a birds-eye view, World Cup 98 became the first in the franchise to use a 3D engine, utilising Direct X for the PC version.

Accurate national team kits (except for the goalkeepers who were issued a generic kit) were introduced complete with kit manufacturer logos and official merchandise. The game engine is basically a remake of the FIFA 98 engine although it features some minor gameplay improvements such as ingame strategy change and more tactically accurate player positioning. The playable teams in the friendly mode also included several nations that did not qualify for the finals, but were considered too important to exclude. It was released for Windows, PS1, Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color.


Music & Commentary

As with EA's FIFA Series, France '98 features several songs in the menus; "Tubthumping", by Chumbawamba is the games title song. "Terminal Intensity" by The Wizard of Oh, "Soul Beat Runna" by Boymerang, and "Absurd" by Fluke are also used in the menus. The game features commentary from John Motson and Chris Waddle, matches are introduced by the voice of Des Lynam and voice-overs in the team schedules come from Gary Lineker.

Friendly & World Cup Mode

In-game screenshot of a match between Argentina and Brazil

The main feature of the game was the ability to play the World Cup tournament, either using the groups used in reality for the finals or randomly selected groups. Each game takes place in a recreation of the venue it was played in the actual tournament. As in the real tournament, group games do not go to Extra Time or a Penalty Shootout but knockout matches do.

The game was released prior to the actual competition therefore games between CPU teams are decided randomly rather than following the results of the actual tournament. At the end of each match in the game, a caption shows the Man of the Match award and if applicable a Clean Sheet caption. At the end of the World Cup, captions show the winner of the Golden Boot for most goals scored during the tournament and winner of the FIFA Fair Play award, two awards which are given in the real World Cup.

It is also possible to play friendly matches between the countries featured in the World Cup and also other international teams which are included in the game. At the end of a drawn game the player can choose to finish the match as a draw, play Extra Time with the Golden Goal rule or take part in a Penalty Shootout.

It is also possible to play a Penalty Shootout without taking part in a normal match. All teams available from the friendly mode are able to take part in this mode. When having penalties taken against you, you are in control of the goalkeeper, and must make the save. In normal play, the goalkeeper will save automatically.

As was in FIFA 98, national rosters can also be customised to reflect the actual tournament's players by including players from a reserves pool in the 'customise' option.

World Cup Classics

This mode allowed the player to play 8 classic World Cup Final matches from 1982,1974,1970,1966,1954,1950,1938 or 1930. The 1982 game was unlocked by winning the World Cup mode and completing each game unlocked the next in the order they are shown above.

The mode featured accurate team kits, hairstyles and names and commentary for this mode was provided by Kenneth Wolstenholme, the BBC's commentator during the 1966 and 1970 World Cups. For the 1966,1954 and 1950 World Cup Final matches in this mode, the graphics are in black and white, as they were shown on television at the time. The 1938 and 1930 matches are shown using sepia graphics. In matches that took place prior to the introduction of substitutions, it is not possible to change a player in the game.

Three inaccuracies, a red card being shown before it was invented, and a colour card and caption in a sepia match

There are however a number of inaccuracies in this mode, which include

  • The adidas Tricolore design football, used in reality only during the 1998 World Cup, was used in all classic matches from 1970 onwards (that is, all classic mode matches shown in colour).
  • The Golden Goal rule, used for the first time in the 1998 World Cup in reality is used for all World Cup Classics matches in the game.
  • The Yellow and Red cards, used in reality for the first time in the 1970 World Cup, are used for all games in this mode. Additionally, the cards are shown in colour during black and white/sepia matches.
  • It is possible to have a penalty shootout to decide any of the World Cup Classics matches in the game, despite the concept of the penalty shootout not being introduced until 1974 and only first used in the 1982 France - West Germany semifinal.
  • Captions are shown in faded colour during black and white/sepia matches.


The game received mostly positive reviews. PC Guide's July 1998 issue names World Cup 98 as the winner of a group test involving other PC football games around at the same time, ahead of competitors such as Actua Soccer 2, Three Lions and Sensible Soccer 98. MobyGames scores the game 3.9/5 whilst Gamespot awards the game 8.8/10.

See also

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