FIFA Football 2003 for the Game Boy Advance is packed with enough game modes and play options to satisfy the most ardent fan of the beautiful game. With 14 leagues and almost 300 teams to play as or against, it'll be a while before you run out of new challenges. You can take on the cream of the crop in the world's premier football competition, the Club Championship, play an entire domestic season or lead your team through the European tournament of your choice. For a quick, one-off game, try Friendly mode, or challenge a friend to a head-to-head match courtesy of a GBA link cable.
Almost all of the intuitive controls from FIFA 2003's bigger brothers (GameCube, PS2 and Xbox) have been miraculously adapted for the handheld experience. The lunging tackles, sprints, one touch passing and manual player switching are all intact, and the after-touch, which allows you to add curve to a ball's flight after taking a shot, is a blast. Of course, the visuals don't match the home console grandeur of FIFA 2003, but the GBA version is no slouch in the performance stakes. The on-screen action is fluid, end-to-end stuff, with no evidence of slowdown, no matter how frantic the action gets. The replays after heroic goal-scoring feats are a joy to behold too. In fact, the replays after any kind of goal-scoring are pretty good. So what if the only perspective you can play the game from is from high above the touchline? That's the main view we get when watching games on telly, and it's the default setting on dozens of other footy games. We're used to it, it works very well, and let's face it, the GBA isn't built to handle a plethora of fancy camera angles.
After we played the home console versions of FIFA 2003 to death at release, we approached the GBA incarnation with care. Not convinced that the controlled gameplay would have survived the transfer, we're delighted to report that it does, and then some. For those of us addicted to the beautiful game, FIFA 2003 on the GBA is the ideal distraction until you get to where you're going. In our case, that's home to play FIFA 2003!