European Football Champ
Copyright/Publisher: Domark Software Ltd/Taito, Programmed By: A. Rahim &
Teque, Release Year: 1991, Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 or 2 or 2

Poor ol' PHIL 'FOOTY' KING's just shelled out for a satellite dish, only to find he'll still have to pay a hefty subscription to watch the English Premier League. Oh well, there's always Tutti Frutti!

Eng-er-land! Eng-er... well maybe not! Weren't they pathetic in the European Championships? Clee Hill United could've done better. And as for Graham 'it's not my fault' Taylor, he now plants to revert to the long-ball tactics he used at Watford - what did they ever win?

At least British footy wasn't totally disgraced: Scotland were brilliant and very unlucky not to make the semi-finals, I reckon. Oh well, I thought, at least I can enjoy taking England to glory in Domark's latest footy game.

Sadly, European Football Champ is jsut like the real England: badly organised, predictable and very slow to respond. The player under your control takes about half a second to follow your joystick movements - it's like playing via satellite! Not only is this disconcerting, it makes clever moves very difficult as you have to anticipate players' movements well in advance.

With practice you can do some good passing, but nearly always in the same predictable pattern down the jerkily scrolling pitch - there's no room for inventiveness. The tiny radar scanner is Graham Taylor... whoops, I meant totally useless!

Going for goal
Scoring, on the other hand, is easy-peasy (unless you're England). The goalies always come out too far when you approach the corner of the penalty area - just fire diagonal shot and you beat them every time. Consequently, two-player games are incredibly high-scoring, if not particularly exciting.

The one-player mode is where the game really falls flat on its face. There's no proper tournament, you just play team after nameless team - yes, you don't even know who you're playing!

Not that it matters much, as the computer teams have all adopted the Taylor style of play and are totally predictable. Holland, Germany, Denmark, they're all crap (Graham would love this) and can easily be thrasged by using the easy goal-scoring method explained above.

The only thing of real international standard is the ref - he hasn't got a clue! You can get away with appalling fouls most of the time; even when he catches you, all the opposition get is a crappy free kick - no special set-piece moves here.

Ultimately nay new footy game has to compete with the likes of MicroProse and Emlun Hughes - both now rereleased on budget - and though European Football Champ is just about playable as a two-player game, it's not even in the same league as those two classics. It doesn't even offer any gimmicks to make up for the lack of playability and challenge.

No doubt Mr Taylor would think it 'satisfactory', but there's no folling anyone with an iota of footy knowledge.

Phil! 47%

I've always had a soft spot for football games, but for this one I've reserved the softest spot of all - it doesn't smell too good and it'll probably confuse the incontinent Rottweiler who dropped it, but it's where it belongs. I've had more fun picking fluff out of my bellybutton!

European Football Champ plays like a dream - you'd do just as well playing it in your sleep, and after a couple of games you probably will be! The computer-controlled players race round like decapitated chickents, ignoring a goal-bound attacker until he's got past them, then follow him like demented sheep! They're so thick they play more like Birmingham City than a top European international team.

Control response is sluggish to say the least - I once executed a tackle in the penalty area, and by the time my player responded my opponent had dribbled around me, scored a goal, snogged the rest of his team and scoffed his half-time orange! The scrolling is a pain in the eyes, and to cap it all the players run through each other as if they weren't there, making the whole thing hellishly confusing!

In league terms, European Football Champ is distinctly Third Division. It wouldn't be much of a game at the best of times, but with so many Premier League contenders getting transfered to Budget Label United it's a disaster! Check out MicroProse Soccer instead.



Match length, choice of Euro teams, no tournament.
Players are okay, but jerky scrolling is appaling.
Pathetic white-noise crowd effect and whistle.
Slow player response is very off putting.
Computer teams are really far too easy to beat.