FIFA v Pro Evo: The tale of two gaming rivals

As we prepare for FIFA 12 and Pro Evo 2012 to do battle once again, we look back at how the rivalry first began. It's more than a game...

Forget Mourinho versus Guardiola, England versus Germany, and the goal-line technology debate, there's only one bitter footballing feud that has become a permanent fixture for footy fans across the globe, FIFA  versus Pro Evolution.

As FIFA 12 hits stores today while a Pro Evolution 2012 release date is not until October 14th, the illustrious battle between two football game giants in the quest to be top of the table at Christmas is rekindled once again.

While you decide whether to stick with FIFA 11 or trade in for the new Pro Evo, open the cult football gaming doors and take that long walk down the tunnel that is the legacy left by FIFA and Pro Evolution.

 

Konami Hyper Soccer (1992)

Konami got into the action ahead of its EA rivals as Hyper Soccer was released for the NES. Two-player action with a selection of national teams, and some basic formation options was hardly glitz and glamour for this 8-bit outing, but then like the inaugural first Premier League season the same year, it's not all about the fireworks....

EA Sports 0-1 Konami

 

FIFA International Soccer (1993)

FIFA announced itself in impressive fashion. Replacing the Sensible Soccer vertical view with a wider isometric one, opened up the game's appeal. It was the first time we would see the television-style presentations in between games that have since come accustomed within EA Sports games. The AI was particularly intuitive which meant playing Brazil, was well, just like playing Brazil.

EA Sports 1-1 Konami (EA level the scores)

 

FIFA '95 versus International Superstar Soccer

Using the same game engine, EA made some minor tweaks to the game, but crucially included club sides for the first time. The action on the pitch was appeared faster and smoother than the previous installment, giving FIFA this round for stabilizing the popular brand.

ISS finally makes its appearance from the changing rooms, and it looked like it was worth the wait. Firstly, players actually looked like players in comparison to FIFA's small sprites. The players moved quickly, and fluently while the keepers were world class just to add insult, as you knocked around a ball sounding like a big pile of newspaper.

EA Sports 2-1 Konami

 

FIFA '96 versus International Superstar Soccer

EA upped the ante as player graphics were sharpened up, and for the first time we got licensed player names. Entering the Playstation platform for the first time, gamers got to enjoy real-time 3D graphics. Motson joined the commentary team as he let out shouts of 'It's a goal' as you scored from that routine 30-yard screamer cutting in slightly from the wing.

ISS arrived on the SNES and seemed to be key to the early success for Konami. The graphics appeared a little more life-like than on previous platforms and importantly, maintained the quick gameplay. Although it still sounded like you were spraying a long field pass with something that sounded anything other than a leather football.

EA Sports 3-1 Konami (EA take a healthy lead)

 

FIFA '97 versus ISS Pro International Soccer Deluxe

Regarded as one of the worst of the FIFA series, EA added an indoor feature which meant those lazy football types could launch the ball against the wall with bouncy results. On the field the polygonal players struggled to keep control of the ball, with a dodgy control system that usually saw you running out of touch. The keepers were erratic even for your typical goalkeeping standards.

Deluxe became one SNES cartridge you needed in your collection. Well away from the FIFA style gameplay, Deluxe was smoother and more fluid, and with those big sprites looked so much more realistic. Graphically you could spot Gabriel Batistuta from a mile, and with the added option to match up with a mate against the computer, Konami took a big step in challenging for FIFA's mantle.

EA Sports 3-2 Konami (ISS claw one back)

 

FIFA '98 RTWC versus International Superstar Soccer Pro

The last FIFA released on the 16-bit formats, this signalled a major change in the approach with fully licensed soundtracks, and refined graphics becoming an uncontrollable habit. FIFA registered teams allowed you to play through the World Cup 1998 tournament with reserve player rosters which meant even Eddie Newton could lift the Jules Rimet trophy. If you got knocked out at the quarter-finals stage, there was Becks on the game cover to vent your anger at.

With such a strong outing from EA, this Konami offering had a lot to live up to. The graphics were not as attractive this time round, although the gameplay was generally free flowing. Poor commentary and irritatingly bad sound effects were setting a precedent for the future however.

EA Sports 3-2 Konami (It's evenly poised)

 

FIFA '99 versus International Superstar Soccer '98

Fluidity, quickness and responsiveness was crucial to FIFA '99. EA upped the tempo as you zipped the ball round faster than Arsene Wenger's class of '03. Minor changes in the gameplay saw the ability to chest the ball in bustling Alan Shearer style. Graphically, facial expressions were added so you could see Bergkamp arguing away for a penalty. The addition of a European Super League also added a little gameplay gloss.

Having dreamed of playing out those Europe versus Rest of The World games usually shown on Eurosport, it was now a reality. Far from the best element of this ISS incarnate, the graphics were noticeably smoother, aided by the use of motion capture. Realism was a major factor as defenders backed off from your attacking while shooting was hindered by a power guage that saw you launch the ball over from five yards.

EA Sports 4-2 Konami (EA are running away with it)

 

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