Gary Lineker's Superstar Soccer
Copyright/Publisher: Sport Time/Mindscape/Designstar Consultants/Gremlin Graphics,
Programmed By: Simon Ffinch & Mike Goodwin, Graphics By: Ed Ringler, Music By:
John A. Fitzpatrick, Release Year: 1987, Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

In direct competition with Ocean's Match Day II comes Gremlin's latest bug-name licence, Superstar Soccer. Similar to Mr Ritman's game, this gives the player the dual aspects of management and real playing action, but approaches them quite differently.

When the player starts, he sets up the league as he wishes, choosing his team name and whether there are seven or fifteen league games per season. He then examines his team, deciding whether to trade old players or recruit new ones, and arranges them in a six man formation.

The game is structured into four divisions of sixteen teams, with the player's team starting in the fourth, playing both league and cup games. Any of the four division tables can be examined, as well as any team's statistics, set-up and list of players.

When the player starts a match, he can change the control of the coach, centre forward and goalie to human or computer. If all three are set to computer control, the player can elect not to watch the match, but just let the computer work out the result. The player may also pick team colours, set the speed of the timer (from normal to 15 times faster, for shorter games), and either practice or play league games.

The player only has one footballer to control for the whole match - the computer follows the action on the ball, which means that the player's centre can be a long way off screen.

When the player has the ball, he can either pass, by holding the joystick towards a player and tapping the button, or shoot by holding down the button. Shots can also be made if the ball is in the air, resulting in either a 'bicycle' kick or a header, depending on the height of the ball.

Whenever there is a break in play, such as a free kick or a goal, the coach can change team tactics for both defence and offence, making them either aggressive or passive. Substitutions can also be made, using the two allowed, to replace tired or injuried players.

Julian Rignall
When I saw that this was from the makers of Superstar Ice Hockey, I thought that it might be really good. The play is fast and furious, and the ball movement very convincing - but unfortunately there are many flaws which ruin a potentially brilliant game.

The tape version is a real disappointment and is limited to just one match - you pick your teams and play. That's it - if you want to change teams, you switch off and reload. The disk version is better and has many options, including league tables and cup competitions.

The big drawback is that the game is far too easy - it takes little practice to beat the toughest teams. Consequently lasting appeal is limited, and winning everything on the disk version soon becomes dull. There are two choices of football games this month - personally I think Match Day II is the better one.

D.G.
At last, a couple of software houses are starting to produce soccer game that are approaching International Soccer's five year old standard. Gary's is the more playable of the two, being immensely quicker and having far more goals to keep the action exciting.

Unfortunately, it also suffers from a lack of realism, partly derived from the unlikely score lines (27-22), partly from the 'unusual' rules (if the goalie holds the ball too long, the other side wins a corner), and partly from the sometimes frustrating control method.

Aside from this, the game has a good 'feel' to it, and is great fun to play, much of the game design obviously coming from Mindscape's earlier success, Ice Hockey (they were responsible for this game before it gained the big licence). Overall, just as enjoyable as Matchday II, but in a very different way.


INTRO SCREEN

DISK VERSION
PRESENTATION 80%
Very detailed, with an easy-to-use management system. Lengthy loading periods and unrealistic scores detract from its authenticity.
GRAPHICS 76%
Realistic ball movement and very fast play give the graphics a convincing look.
SOUND 51%
No tunes, but some nice effects.
HOOKABILITY 86%
Very easy and enjoyable to play, with depth, action and goals to keep you going.
LASTABILITY 60%
An extensive league and cup system should keep you busy, but eventually play becones repetitive.
OVERALL 74%
A pleasant and well-produced football game that is very playable, even if it isn't that true-to-life.
TAPE VERSION
PRESENTATION 59%
The instructions fail to mention the one-match-only game structure, but otherwise the presentation is acceptable.
GRAPHICS 76%
Realistic ball movement and very fast play give the graphics a convincing look.
SOUND 51%
No tunes, but some nice effects.
HOOKABILITY 86%
Very easy and enjoyable to play, with depth, action and goals to keep you going.
LASTABILITY 47%
Only one match can be played at a time, and even though the action is enjoyable, the novelty of winning soon wears off.
OVERALL 58%
A very limited version of the disk game, lacking an on-going campaign.


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