FIFA Football 2003 - GameCube

Also known as: FIFA Soccer 2003

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FIFA Football 2003 (GameCube)
Also for: PC, PS2, Xbox, PlayStation
Viewed: 3D Combination Genre:
Sport: Football - Soccer
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Electronic Arts Soft. Co.: Electronic Arts
Publishers: Electronic Arts (GB/GB)
Released: 1 Nov 2002 (GB)
10 Oct 2003 (GB)
Ratings: 3+
Accessories: Memory Card


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Another year, another edition of FIFA Football, but this time on a spanking new platform, the Nintendo GameCube, and, we're assured by Electronic Arts, a new 'built from the ground up' playing experience. Verily, FIFA Football 2003 breaks the odd number hoodoo suffered in the 1999 and 2001 versions and is set to take on all-comers for premier status in footy fans' hearts.

Think of the FIFA series, and there are two consistently outstanding features, no matter how indifferent the gameplay may have been in previous years: the player animation, especially when zooming in for a close-up replay, has mostly been top-notch. The good news is that the 2003 version is by far the best example of this so far. Add this to the sheer number of choices of clubs and competitions available, not to mention page after page of game options, and FIFA Football 2003 screams "comprehensive". Do you really want to take part in a friendly match between Denmark's FC Midtjylland and Young Boys of Bern, Switzerland? Only FIFA Football 2003 allows you to do this from the outset. There are no edit functions in the game as far as teams and players are concerned, but with some of the more obscure clubs from around the world represented, as well as the entire English and Scottish Premierships, tampering with data in the game is not necessary.

Electronic Arts have upped the ante as far as AI is concerned, as players act and react more realistically than before. Real football is littered with unfortunate deflections, ricochets and plain old rotten mistakes: FIFA Football 2003 follows the trend. Play for a while when the game speed is at maximum, and for a few fleeting seconds the action is almost pinball-like. The GameCube version's control system is slightly different from the PS2 and Xbox, given the Cube controller's different button layout. That said, the controller is such an ergonomic pleasure to play with, the odd hefty lob upfield while attempting a short pass is excusable. Get used to the button layout and you'll be flying down the flanks in no time, whipping in those dangerous crosses…for the super-intelligent opposition to head clear!

So, another year, another edition of FIFA Football, but don't turn and run from this one. The 2003 version is a contender for top spot and well worth a close look. Six months on from the release of the GameCube in Europe, and it finally has the football game it deserves.