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Review by: Pete Hines
Published: September 3, 1998
NCAA Football 99 continues one of the more popular football series around. A large part of the appeal is simply due to the fact that it does a good job of presenting the feeling and aura of college football, instead of the pro game that is available from a variety of places…depending on your tastes. Those of you who played NCAA 98 (see our review) will find that the game has undergone a few refinements, and several additions have enhanced gameplay. For those of you who haven’t delved into the college game, I’ll try to cover most of the bases for you.
There are several modes of play available in NCAA 99. There’s a practice mode that let’s you get the hang of playing offense and defense with whatever team you want. You can practice against any team you like (i.e., play against a team with great passing or running offense/defense), or if you’re really new then you can even practice with no opposition (on offense…doesn’t do you much good on defense, dontcha’ know). You can also play an exhibition game between two teams if you just want to set up a quick game and jump in and play.
There’s a tournament mode that allows you to play out your own national championship competition with 4, 8, or 16 teams. You can select which teams you want included or have them randomly generated. Each team can be controlled by the computer or a player, so you can set up a real slugfest with your friends and go at it. Since the game allows for multiple players to play for one side or the other, you can set up games of two or three against one, or have all of you play against the computer.
The dynasty mode is my personal favorite. Unlike the season mode, you have a chance to bear the fruits and consequences of your coaching and playing from one season to the next. Basically, you create your own profile and start as coach of a college team with a five-year contract. At the end of the year, you can decide how you want to proceed from a recruitment standpoint. This is done by allocating your recruitment efforts to different positions, based on 100 total points. You may decide to go heavy on your defensive backs or find a couple of speedy wide receivers. You decide the type of player you want in addition to the amount of effort you want to put into recruiting that position.
So, you can choose to make your offensive line big or skilled and your quarterback a pocket passer or option QB. If you do well enough and dominate your conference, you will have greater appeal and will be able to attract blue chip high school players to help you down the road. Of course, if you go 2-9 one too many times, the boosters will have you fired before you can say “canned.” Fired coaches get offers at the end of the year from less successful programs. If you do well, you’ll get offers from more prestigious programs. At the end of each season you will also see a summary of which players from your team are headed to the pros, what the overall pro draft looked like, and what your returning prospects look like. Your returning players are graded based on their potential for next year: breakthrough, minimal, contributor, etc.
The other mode of play is the chance to play the great games. In addition to the 20 great games in last year’s version, there are 20 more including the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl match-ups from last year. This collection of classic match-ups goes back farther and now includes the Army vs. Notre Dame game in 1946 and the famous “Hail Mary” game between Miami and Boston College in 1984. Other features in the game include awards that go out during the season for the MVP and top players at various positions: QB, running back, lineman, kickers, etc. Several other camera angles are included in the game, including blimp and upper deck shots that definitely give you a different perspective. The standard variety of options are available to customize your game, including skill level, weather, injuries, length of quarters, whether players can tire as the game goes on, and so forth. You can also adjust the level of penalties to increase or decrease their frequency throughout the game.
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