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Review by: Pete Hines
Published: September 16, 1998
I’ve noticed two things so far about this year’s NFL season: there’s a lot more to watch on Sunday afternoon then there has been recently; and NFL GameDay 99 commercials are everywhere. Usually they’re pushing the PSX version, but I always thought Sony’s ads for sports stuff were pretty good and so I actually kind of looked forward to getting my copy. Having played a lot of the preview and final versions of NCAA 99 and the preview version of Madden 99 (both from EA), I’m sort of in that football mode. It didn’t take me long to get into the game and get a feel for what the action was like. After I’d played the game enough it was clear to me where GameDay 99 falls in the current hierarchy of football games.
GameDay 99 puts you in control of your favorite NFL team in an exhibition, season, or tournament. The game features fairly up-to-date rosters, and a recent patch allows you to further update the rosters as of 8/31/98. Each offers varying levels of involvement, from a single standalone game, to a recreation of post-season play, to a full season complete with drafts. If you want a simple game of football without schedules and standings, you can choose an exhibition game to practice your offensive or defensive plays and work out the kinks before you start playing for keeps (since there’s no practice mode).
Using the tournament mode, you can set up as many tournaments as you like, and each is saved under a separate name. For a tournament, you get to change one position under a wild card slot for each conference. When you change the team you want included in the playoffs, the rest of the teams will change for that conference. Unfortunately, this is the only way to do it and you can set the team you want in each slot. So, if you wanted to set up the playoffs like the 1994 NFL playoffs, you’d have to count on a bit of luck and patience to get things set up correctly. You can choose to let different players control the teams involved, play against the computer in each of them, or simulate them all except for the team you want to control.
The season mode allows for more gameplay options and customization. At one end of the spectrum is a season using the current NFL rosters. Pick a team, play your schedule, and see if you can’t make it to the Super Bowl. At the other end is the ability to start all over using this year’s rosters: throw them all into the pot and hold a draft to redistribute them. Maybe what Kordell Stewart really needs is Barry Sanders in the backfield and Cris Carter on the flanks. Here’s your chance to draft the team you think can make it all the way. You can also sign free agents or create your own if you want to create a unique player of your own, or duplicate the attributes of a player you need (i.e., two Wesley Walls).
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