Following the revolutionary brilliance of FIFA’s 95 and RTWC 98, it might be somewhat surprising that a relatively average instalment of the series makes it onto my list. However, there is a compelling reason for the inclusion of FIFA 2000. No, not Robbie Williams’ bizarre and frankly cringeworthy appearance in the intro sequence, nor the ‘classic’ game mode that allowed you to play as legendary teams in glorious sepia. A videogame experience that allows you to squint at barely-discernible images through the lens of monochrome? Now THAT’S progress!
FIFA 2000 on the PC
Anyway, in spite of these minor drawbacks, FIFA 2000 stood out because it was the first version of FIFA that I was able to download mods for, the greatest of which was the brilliantly-named Patch of the Day. PotD, as it was also known, took the ‘vanilla’ original FIFA 2000 and added a wide variety of material that gave the game a more authentic feel. Remember, at this point EA Sports did not have the actual kits or player likenesses, nor did they have a particularly polished menu system or tv-like broadcast when in-game. PotD added background images, team kits, squad updates, and so much more that the experience was infinitely improved. The game also was the first I was able to add my own music to, which was nice even with the soundtrack as excellent as it was – Reel Big Fish and Apollo 440 stood out.Incidentally, I got Apollo 440 points in my Leaving Cert.
The gameplay was decent enough, a solid step up from RTWC 98 without really being anything particularly special. There weren’t too many features added that really justified the expense otherwise, so it was great that I got this on the PC – without mods the game really did not have much to it. Modded-up to the hilt, it was spectacular – the first game featuring football teams that actually looked and felt like the real-life equivalents.
All-in-all, FIFA 2000 was a notable game not for its inherent class, but rather for as a prism through which the true capability of fan-made add-ons could be demonstrated. The released version was so bland that it acted as a perfect contrast to what could be accomplished with diligent modification. FIFA 2000 therefore makes my top 5 due to audience involvement, but in FIFA’s 99 through 2002 it must be said that EA Sports hardly covered themselves in glory. In fact, it would take the welcome challenge of Konami to force them to be a bit more innovative with their football games…
Solidarity, brothers & sisters…☼