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NFL GameDay 99
Publisher: 989 Studios
Developer: Red Zone Interactive, Inc.
Style(s): Football (American)
Synopsis: As the sequel to 1997's #1 selling football game for the Sony PlayStation, NFL GameDay 99 offers several new features designed to improve the gameplay as well as the presentation. First off, the 3D graphics have returned but with double the amount of polygons--bringing the total close to 350 per player. The animations have also improved to deliver one-handed spinning catches, lunges and off-balanced throws. A new zooming camera system will bring you closer to the on-field action, with player photos and statistical updates during the game. For the first time in the GameDay series, NBC announcers Dick Enberg and Phil Simms will provide the play-by-play and color commentary, respectively. Over 500 plays have been included along with thirty NFL teams and 1,500 players with ratings based on the 1998 season. The artificial intelligence has been refined to accurately model real-life defenses, with defensive backs backpedaling and shifting based on the player's offensive formations. NFL GameDay 99 also offers the following: the ability to create, draft, sign, trade or release players and free agents; four difficulty levels; three game styles (Arcade, Simulation and Total Control); multiple weather conditions; player injuries; complete statistical tracking during the 1998-99 season; and five game modes: Season, Preseason, Pro Bowl, Super Bowl and Playoffs. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Package Contents: Instruction Manual
It explains all of the features well enough, but it's a pretty dry read. No player ratings and it's not in color. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Wow. The graphics are first-rate and there is a nice attention to detail. Some of the nice touches include: the QB waving his arms down to quiet the crowd or cupping his mouth to bark the calls to the offense; players shaking their opponents' hands before the game; injuries that have players helped off the field; plus there are "poses" after key offensive or defensive plays. I love the first down signal after your receiver hauls in a catch! These nuances really add to the atmosphere and never become boring. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
NFL GameDay 99 is the best looking football game on the PlayStation to date, which isn't surprising given the strides last year's polygonal engine had made in the visual department. The amount of polygons have now doubled and players look much more lifelike with extremely detailed uniforms and smoother edges. The fields have also improved significantly and the camera is more intuitive to show you the best view of the action. For most, the one big knock on last year's game was that it was a little flat in its atmosphere and presentation. This was obviously a major focus of the design team, because the end result makes you feel like you're watching an NFL broadcast. You'll now see large, colorful photos along with updated stats appearing after every play. Dick Enberg and Phil Simms have been brought on to do the commentary and they do a great job overall. The only problem is that the speech is situational rather than toward a particular individual, so you'll hear some cutting and pasting of players' names to certain key phrases. Phil Simms has a nasty habit of taking a long pause after announcing a player's name, and it won't take long before you're finishing his sentences. Despite progress being made in the presentation, not a lot of strides were made in changing the computer AI. You can still tackle the receivers as soon as the ball is in the air, resulting in tipped passes and cheap interceptions. Penalties are still not nearly as solid as in the Madden games, but at least you can decline them. The defense is rather suspect as well. While the defenders do seem to backpedal and shift at times, they don't really do a good job in shutting down your plays unless you set it on the highest difficulty. Since most passing plays with a receiver in the backfield are good for a steady 7-8 yards, most players should set the game on Hall of Fame for a decent challenge. Just realize that the computer (once again) uses some tricks to gain advantage, such as increasing its ability to close in on receivers and make tackles just like in GameDay 98. Another gripe is that it is too easy to shut down the run, no matter what level you're on. While you can crank up the computer tendencies in this area, it throws off the balance since you know what's coming. Despite these nagging flaws, and they can be annoying, I can't argue the fact that it's a very fun game to play. The graphics, sound and sense of control are that good. On the other hand, I'm disappointed that more improvements weren't made in delivering a computer opponent that doesn't rely on cheating to get things done. For those who demand the best in AI then Madden NFL 99 is the hands-down choice for 1998. Yet if you loved last year's GameDay, then you should be in heaven with this title. It is the perfect choice for the casual fan, those looking for their first football game, or for those who enjoy fast-paced action. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
The game is entertaining once you understand exactly what you are getting. With more than one player, the game's replay value is nearly infinite, as in most sports games. There are also a lot of customization features to help tailor the game to your preferences. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
While Dick Enberg sounds fine, Phil Simms should be Hooked on Phonics. Simms' frequent pauses after announcing a player's name become annoying after awhile, but at least you have the option to turn him off. Enberg sometimes makes a few mistakes during each game, such as calling players by the wrong names or referring to the wrong teams. Yet the game shows you how immersive commentary can be when it's done right. I smiled when Enberg said (enthusiastically): "Hearst now has TEN catches in the game! Ohhh my!" ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
The game is really fun with more than one player--it's just so easy to pick up and play. On the other hand, the computer still has a lot of tricks up its sleeve which takes away from some of the fun you'll have while playing the game by yourself. It never misses a field goal attempt and all of its kick-offs magically find their way to the endzone. I've also lost track at how many times the computer knocked out some of my receivers right at the line of scrimmage. It's supposed to be "Bump and Run" not "Flatten and Run!" Yet the scariest thing is that your receivers don't always finish their routes correctly--sometimes a receiver will actually move away from the ball to help block. What's wrong with that? The ball is still in the air and he is the primary receiver! On the flip side, you can switch control to the receiver and help steer him in the right direction. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
the game requires Joystick/Gamepad.