Fairly decent in parts, bit rubbish in others
Being a licensed game (one by Tiertex
, to add to injury), hopes can't be anything but very low, but the game manages to present a solid gaming experience. I usually mention that, personally, the most important part in a football videogame is shooting on goal. If a game forces to be all careful while shooting, then it's not fun (which is why I don't rate PES as highly as most other people do), and in World Cup 94 you can shoot from pretty much anywhere, scoring some magnificent benders or scorchers, as well as some deflections on the way, all with some impressive saves in the mix (still, not as often as one could desire). The remaining of gameplay is interesting, privileging fast passing, although the auto-aim of the passes and the overly effective block tackle make the game too easy. Tactics allow a fairly large of tweaks and changes, and the ability to store them to battery save is a definite plus, and the mix of Password saving (while troublesome, as noted) and Battery save should have been used more often during the cartridge era.
Graphically, the game is good, as far as Sensible style
pin-like players look, all very fluid, nicely animated and with good responsiveness. However, other games are a lot better in this aspect, as sensible-style games were never known for their awesome visual displays.
Sound is acceptable; nothing much to highlight, for the good or for the bad.
A good starting point is the interface. While it looks OK for the most part, the complete lack of text make navigating through the menus the first few times a matter of trial and error, as they aren't as intuitive as, say, the icons in Ultimate Soccer
. On a slightly similar note, I really don't get the password input. If you change something in the team lineup, those changes add a couple more variables to the password string, and instead of seven 4 character blocks, you can get 21, or even more. I keep playing a number of games for the only reason of getting more and more passwords (the best example being European Club Soccer
), but in this case, after being presented with such a large password, I've stopped doing that. Why save all tiny changes in the team? I could make return to my personalized lineup a lot faster than typing the whole password.
The game is too easy, most noticeably the goalkeepers. Once you learn the best spots to send a scorcher right to the back of the net results in excess of 7 goals are perfectly feasible. Free-kicks, as opposing defenders like to give them like candy (more on that next), are too easy to score if you manage to get the right swerve, leaving the goalkeeper stranded, even from positions close to the touchline.
And as if goalkeepers aren't that much of a challenge, you can get a couple opposing players sent off easily every game, as they don't mind throwing reckless tackles around. Strange, given how the "block" tackle is a lot more effective and very rarely ends up in a free-kick. On the downside, crossing (and the lob button altogether) seems a waste of time and plays.
Graphically there's only one downside: All players looks depend on their position: if you swap a player's position between matches, in the first he might the black, in the second white, and all teams follow the same structure, so Nigeria and Sweden look pretty much the same, bar equipments.
The Bottom Line
While far from the class of World Cup 98
, but as far away from World Cup Carnival
at the same time, this is an interesting effort that starts falling short because of the very low difficulty level. Playing with a friend should really improve the game, but if you don't have anyone handy, this game is a short (but still enjoyable) ride through the rocky road of licensed (and Tiertex) games.