I will do this review in the traditional manner, rating graphics and sound, authenticy, gameplay, and fun factor.
Graphics and Sound
This is what every Nintendo 64 game should look like. The 3-D players look life like and move very fluid at any angle. The aspect that puts ISS64 apart from every other sports game is the attention to detail. Everything is in here. All 5 different stadiums have a different texture of grass. You see shadows during a night game, four if the stadium has four floodlights, two shadows if there are only two sources of light. Every player can be identified just by looking at their different features (hair color, hair style,skin tone) even from the farthest camera angle. The sound complements the game well. The opening music may seem a bit happy, but it grows on you. The announcer talks incessantly, and for the most part, keeps up with the play. The cheers and boos after goals and fouls add to the game as well. They aren't as good as FIFA's, but are still a nice addition.
Never have I seen a game that was this in depth. As a huge soccer fan, I love to use a variety of strategies and tactics. Unfortunately, most other games only suplied 6-7 formations and about the same number of strategies. ISS64 offers almost every formation you would want to play with, and the positioning option allows you to pinpoint where you want your players. The strategy button allows you to make on the fly transitions, such as all-offense, counter attack, zone press defense, and so on. You can assign your men to mark an opposing player, who joins in the attack, who takes the free kicks, corners, and PK's, everything a coach would ever need.
It doesn't end on the field, either. All the players move in a life like manner. Passes will sometimes go astray: for example, a less skilled player will lead his man too far on the through ball. Players will appeal cards, but of course, like in real life, to no avail. In addition, each player can pull off a plethora of moves with ease. The only drawback is that the players don't have real names. If you look closer, though, you will notice that they are actual players; only the names have been falsified. You'll be able to recognize the usual suspects like Ronaldo, Shearer, Batistuta, Valderrama, Ince, Kluivert,and Klinsmann. Something I would like to do on this page is try to identify everyone in the game. If you know anyone, please e-mail me.
Say anything you like: the gameplay is what distances ISS 64 from every other sports game. The only other game I can remember that was almost this easy to play was NHL '94 for the Sega Genesis. With only three buttons, though, the moves were limited. In ISS 64, I can beat my opponent in so many different ways, it's not even funny.
A huge positive to the gameplay is that anyone can pick it up. Even non soccer players can soon master all controls. ISS 64 is accesible to everyone from beginners to experts. Initially, you can just use the regular pass(A) and shoot(B) to beat opponents. As you move along, you pick up the lofted ball(C left) and the through ball(C up). After experimenting awhile, the one two(C right), chip shot (hold back and B), step over (tap C down) and heel lift(C left while stationary) enter your arsenal of moves. Finally, the directed lead ball (R + A) becomes helpful in front of the goal when trying to beat Brazil with someone like Greece. Never would I dream that in a soccer game I could pull off so many useful moves.
Without a doubt, ISS 64 is the most enjoyable gaming experience on any home system. Every goal scored makes you excitied, every goal you concede makes you dejected. The emphesis on arcade style action paid off tenfold for Konami. You can't take your eyes off the screen. There is always the "constant battle for possesion". Purists, though, have the advantage: in the long run(especially on level 5), all that strategy can be the marginal difference between a win and loss. What's great about ISS 64 is that the fun factor goes up even higher when you have four players going at it. This game just beats out GoldenEye for top multi-player game. For the best match, play two versus two. Four players on one team does sometimes get frustrating, especially when you are the fourth player and last on the default priority scale.