Gazza II
Copyright/Publisher: Empire Software, Programmed By: Paul Clansey,
Graphics By: Active Minds, Music By: David Whittaker,
Release Year: 1990, Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

After storming the pop charts with his 'unique' brand of music, Gazza returns to the pitch for some more tear-jerking footy action.

Instead of the changing perspective of its appalling predecessor, Gazza II sticks to a scrolling overhead-view, left-to-right pitch like that in C64 Kick Off. Strangely although the C64 version has intelligent dribbling, on the Amiga the ball is simply stuck to your foot.

Kick power is controlled by holding down fire; the position of the joystick when the fire is released determines the type of kick (drive, 90 degrees cross, swerve, chip). When the ball's in the air, pressing fire results in an attempted header.

Press fire when the opposition have the ball and your player attempts a slide tackle. However, if mistimed this can cause a foul - possibly resulting in injury, a free kick/penalty and a booking/sending off.

C64 Gazza II incorporates some management. Before a match you can pick your team from a squad of real players. Also, at any set-piece during the match you can call up the tactics screen. This allows you to substitute players, change formation (64 only) and view detailed match statistics with figures for each individual player.

The Amiga game also allows up to 16 managers to compete in a four-division European Superleague, and has extra management options including a transfer market, league, and Player Manager-style tactics editor.

Match options for both versions include one or two players, choice of teams, computer skill level, match length, playing surface and wind speed.

PHIL
After seeing the very dodgy Spectrum version, C64 Gazza II comes as a pleasent surprise. The action is a bit sluggish with the tiny players limping around the large pitch, but with Kick Off-style dribbling, a shotpower meter and the ability to swerve and chip shots, Gazza involves much skilful play.

One niggle is that it's very difficult to slide-tackle opponents without fouling them. However, realism is heightened by deflections, injuries, yellow/red cards and real players' names. There's also a limited management aspect in picking the team, making substitutions and changing formation - though it's strange that you can do this for the computer team!

The real pity is that there's no league - a situation remedied in the Amiga game which also boasts sophisticated management options. To complement these I was hoping for a good, speeded-up version of the C64's match action.

I was severly disappointed. The players run surprisingly slowly and can actually move faster by continually slide-tackling! Skilful play is lessened by ball-stuck- to-foot dribbling, an extremely sensitive shotpower meter and easy tackling from any angle, hardly ever resulting in a foul. It's enough to make you swear at the ref!

STU
C64 Gazza II is a lot better than its awful predecessor with some reasonably intelligent computer players, an effective kicking power meter and a good choice of tactics, complete with squad selection and substitutions.

The radar scanner is useless, but the main problems are the lack of a league for long-term challenge and, most seriously of all, sluggish speed which can make games a bit dull. It's better than C64 Kick Off II though and worth a look if you really are a footie fanatic.

Given the speed of the Amiga, one expected the 16-bit version would be extremely playable. It isn't though; it's only marginally faster while computer players are much too stupid (the defence frequently wanders off when you're in the penalty box), kicks routinely cover half the length of the pitch, graphics are dreadful and on top of all that there's Kick Off II to compete with. Abysmal.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 79%
Free badge and poster. Single load, 48 real teams with accurate line-ups, good match options, but no league.
GRAPHICS 48%
Sluggish sprites on slow scrolling pitch.
SOUND 50%
Jolly title tune and sparse FX.
HOOKABILITY 65%
Slow but skilful action.
LASTABILITY 55%
Good vareity of teams but sadly no league.
OVERALL 60%
Howay the ladz.


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