Kick Off 2
Copyright/Publisher: Anco Software Ltd, Created by: Enigma Variations,
Programmed By: Finlay Munro, Music by: System 6581, Graphics by: David Bland,
Release Year: 1990, Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 to 8

The best football game ever, and the arcade game of 1989, suffered a mediocre C64 conversion using a changed left/right scrolling pitch. Thankfully for Kick Off 2 a completely new, multidirectionally scrolling overhead view has been adopted to replicate the award-winning Amiga game.

16-bit style dribbling has also been included, with the ball bouncing along realistically rather than being glued to the player's foot. Scissor kicks, which are a supposedly in the Amiga game, have been dropped from the C64 version, but aftertouch is included - this is where moving the joystick after the ball has been kicked lets you swerve the ball a bit.

Also, all the throw-ins, goal kicks and free kicks can be controlled - with the players even lining up in a wall when a free kick is near the penalty area.

The computer automatically switches control to your player nearest the ball, and tackles are achieved by running at a player or doing a sliding tackle. The latter can lead to a foul, which occasionally results in a free kick and a yellow card. A second foul by the same player can see him being sent off!

Besides a simple friendly match, you can choose to play in the league, cup and World Cup. The latter includes all 24 teams in the '90 championship, organized in the correct six groups.

Obviously, you can save your performances. Any or all of the countries featured in the three championships can be selected to be human controlled. In the disk version you can select which people play out of your full squad, and make substitutions. It also features action replays which can be saved to disk.

Once you've chosen whether you want to play in one of the championship, the main game is loaded in. Then there are options to vary the time in a half (3-20 mins), choose from four pitch types and vary your team's formation (before the match and at half-time). You can also select team mode, where both players are on the same side with one unfortunate controlling the goalie!

S.L.
Full marks to Anco for effort on this one, after the disappointing original they've crammed an amazing amout of the 16-bit game into this. The sophisticated ball control system and large pitch are likely to go down well with anyone wanting something a bit more realistic than MicroProse Soccer.

Unfortunately there are two serious flaws. Firstly, the speed isn't quite fast enough to fully recreate the excitement at the heart of the Amiga game. Secondly, the scanner is almost completely useless, which severely restricts the ability to make useful long passes.

There's also a minor problem over free kicks being taken by the wrong side, and overlong injury time. Nevertheless, it's still quite playable and packed with championship options for lastability.

Phil
Sadly, C64 Kick Off 2 does have its fair share of flaws. For a start the radar scanner is far too small to be any use. As off-screen players aren't intelligent enough to get to the ball quickly (mostly they run away from it!) you often have no players on-screen for long periods.

The scrolling pitch also sometimes fails to keep up with the ball which moves in an unpredictable manner - as if it were on elastic. On the good side, the pace of the game is impressive - almost as fast as the Amiga version - while the same instinctive player controls have been utilised for maximum playability.

In addition, most of the major Amiga options have been retained, albeit via multiload. So how does it compare with other C64 footy sims? Well despite its flaws I'd go as far as saying it's the best since the classic MicroProse Soccer. Not quite brilliant but an undoubted improvement on C64 Kick Off!


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 90%
League, cup and World Cup championships pit various countries against each other using a sensible multiload. Useful options such as save/load, time per half and teamplay. Disk version features savable action replays and team selection.
GRAPHICS 70%
Unremarkable sprites and poor radar scanner, but multidirectional scrolling is rapid. Ball moves unpredictable at times.
SOUND 29%
Limited kicking and whistling FX.
HOOKABILITY 77%
Very easy to get into with instinctive player controls...
LASTABILITY 78%
...while championship options mean there's plenty of challenge.
OVERALL 77%
An impressive and worthwhile conversion.


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