It's over a year since the first Man Utd game was released to lukewarm critical
response (67%, Issue 65) but great commercial success nevertheless with Krisalis
claiming 100.000 sales. Somewhat surprisingly all 4.000 reply cards insisted on
an European edition and here it is!
As with the original, Europe combines a comprehensive management game and an
actual arcade football game, each a separate load. You start with the management
side which gives you a choice of which competition to enter: European Cup,
Cup Winner's Cup, UEFA Cup, European Super Cup or World Cup Championship.
Alternatively you can choose to enter a simple friendly with any of 150-plus teams.
Whoever you play you have a choice of six formations and the option to switch
player's positions around as you wish. Each member of the team has comprehensive
stats including five skill ratings plus yellow and red cards and games played
in the tournament.
Amazingly these stats are also available for the opposing team and you can
change names as you wish - Phil king for Captain! You can also choose the length
of matches, change the name of the manager and, of course, choose a two-player option.
The actual arcade game has an overhead view with a multidirectionally scrolling
pitch and goals on the left and right. You automatically get control of the
player nearest the ball, control being shown by the man's shirt being brighter than
Dribbling is by the sadly familiar ball-glued-to-your-foot fashion with power
set by holding down fire. If you lose the ball you can make a sliding tackle, but
the ref can give yellow and red cards for fouls. In Free Kicks, Throw-Ins and
Corners you get a flashing cursor to place where you want the ball to go.
There's also penalties and the option to make substitutions whenever you want.
Although there's no scanner, which restricts passing, the horizontal thrust
to the action shows more of the pitch than a vertically orientated game. Scrolling
is relatively smooth but the sprites are as blocky as is typical of this type of game
and animation is minimal. Similarly sound is limited to weak spot FX (intro music
is equally unimpressive).
Where Europe does score (groan), is in some nice realistic detail such as the
names of the authentic team players appearing as the ball is passed to them.
There's also two legs per match and a huge range of teams to take on. On the
other hand the managemnt options are perhaps inevitably limited with no transfers
or suchlike - it's just picking teams and formations basically. Nevertheless
with five championships to win Europe provides a substantial challenge which provides
great value for money. The actual footie game isn't too special itself, although
the ability to control the goalie is welcome, and all in all this a welcome
addition to the footie ranks.