Copyright/Publisher: US Gold, Release Year: 1990,
Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 or 2
Although Virgin have the official World Cup licence, US Gold can claim a share of
the action due to obscure rights hanging over from their dire 1986 effort,
World Cup Carnival.
Software veterans will remember that as being an ancient
Artic game resurrected for the purpose and hidden inside lots of fancy packaging.
Thankfully US Gold have got a new game this time, although there's still plenty
of bumf. An attractive 64-page booklet covers all the teams, provides biographies
of legendary players, past and potential, plus a short trivia quiz.
But what of the game itself? Well you can choose either to participate in the
tournament, choosing a team out of the accurate list of qualifiers, or play a one
or two-player friendly. In tournament mode you can choose your team from a full
squad, and select formations.
The actual game is presented from an overhead view (slightly slanted on the
Amiga) with multi-directional scrolling. Once a player has the ball it stays pretty
much stuck to him, unless it is kicked by him or from him by another player.
Holding down fire affects the strength of a kick, together with that player's
strength. (Players names are displayed on screen with the Amiga.)
Tackles are made either by getting as close as possible to another player and
relying on your player's skill, or using a sliding tackle which can be
misinterpreted as a foul!
For Amiga owners there's animated screens showing a side-on view of corners and
goal kicks, which thankfully requires no disk accessing. And once the kick is
made the game switches to the normal view to show the kick again! There's also a
behind-the-shooter view of penalties.
Both games are fairly good, the animted scenes in the Amiga game are quite nice
to look at and don't slow the game down.
On the debit side dribbling is completely unrealistic with the ball being stuck
to your foot. Given a fairly fast player you can evade practically all opposition,
which is extremely irritating for the opposing player. Practice can counter this
problem, but while this game is fun for a while it can't compare with Kick Off.
The C64 game benefits from being slower as tackles are therefore much easier,
giving the game a more realistic feel. Again dribbling is unrealistic, but while it's
nowhere near as much as MicroProse Soccer, it's not too far behind for playability
and the World Cup fixtures are accurate. Pity about the price though.
This ain't no Kick Off but it does have some simple playability all the same. And
most importantly it incorporates all the official World Cup teams and fixtures
(unlike the official Virgin licence!).
You even get to pick your players from a full squad to suit your style of play
and the opposition. What lets the game down a bit is the match action. Without a
Kick Off-style radar, accurate passing is difficult.
And with the ball stuck to your foot you can do Maradona-type dribbling without
needing much real skill. This makes tackling very difficult, so matches often have
unrealistically high scorelines. I also found it a bit too easy to win the Cup.
Having said that, this is still an infinitely better World Cup game than the