Copyright/Publisher: Artworx Anirog Advantage,
Release Year: 1985, Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 or 2
The first question to ask about this is, can it be an improvement on Commodore's International
Soccer, the apex in 64 football simulations? Read on dear reader to find out.
The game's presentation is very similiar to Soccer's with a one or two player option and
a scrolling panoramic view of the pitch. The usual two player option is present and there's
also four levels of the computer to challenge you.
There are crowds at both ends and on the far touchline which move about and make a noise
when you score. They also shout 'here we go' sic times every time there's a kick-off.
Controlling a player is quite easy. From kick off you are allocated a man and he is put
under your control. You can run him about the pitch and chase your opponent. If the
opponent kicks the ball and it lands near a player on your team then the computer will
automatically switch the control to the man nearest the ball.
Using this method you can actually pass the ball around the pitch and set up moves. If
your player moves off screen then again control will be automatically switched to another
player. Winning the ball in a tackle is quite tricky - you have to run over the ball when it
is in the opponent's possession. Do it correctly and the ball will switch from his control
to yours and you can then pass it or charge up the field towards the goal.
Passing is easy, just press the fire button when the ball is under your control,
the longer you keep the fire button pressed the longer the pass will be.
A novel feature in this game is fouling - just run up behind an opponent and press the
fire button, if you are successful then you'll trip him up. Do this too many times and
you will have a penalty awarded against you for 'roughing'.
When you compare this and International Soccer there's quite a difference. The graphics
on this game aren't quite as good as Soccer and the gameplay seems to be lacking. This
is because the members of your team, other than the one under your control, seem to run
Passing is extremely difficult and the control switching from man to man doesn't always
work effectively. The animation of the players is pretty poor and they look like
demented hunchbacks when they run about the place. Speech is a nice touch but it really
gets on your nerves after you've had to listen to 'here we go' for the Nth time.
The game seems very similar in style to the ice hockey game Slap Shot, even with the
fouling and it makes me wonder whether they've used the same coding for certain parts of
the game. The impression I got when playing the game is that although Soccer is about
three times the price and nearly two years old, it's still the better of the two.
The actual game characters aren't as big as the ones on the Commodore but this seems to
make the playing area a lot bigger than it is (scrolling three screen-length pitch).
A nice feature is a penalty option - this is a game in itself and allows you to take
penalties against the computer or a friend.
When you choose this option the screen goes to a view seen from the front of the goal. The
penalty taker can move the joystick left or right to kick the ball in that direction. The
goalkeeper has similar control and although it is possible to wait until the ball is
kicked and see which way it is going it is usually better to guess.
If the game ends in a draw then the decider is a penalty kick off. This is a nice
feature and a good change from the usual extra time system at the end of a drawn match.
Sports simulations are always popular and this one from Anirog will no doubt go down well
with many players because it is simple set up, and despite some fiddly bits when it comes
to handling the players in certain situations, I found it fun.
Okay, so it isn't actually a
great version (some odd characters and animation at times) of the noble (or is it IGnoble?) game,
but it's a sensible price, has some excellent little touches and features in play and is well
worth a look at.
A football game from the same authors as Slap Shot should have been of a good standard
but unfortunelately this isn't. The feel of the game isn't as good as that of Commodore's
International Soccer and control of the player isn't as good.
The idea of holding down
the button for long passes is a good one as is that of fouling - something that was
unfortunelately lacking from Soccer. The use of speech is a commendable one but again
this is something that hasn't quite worked as it did become very irrating after a few games
and I wasn't of that high a quality.
Anirog have released some extremely playable games in the past but just recently their
quality of software hus unfortunelately gone down-hill. Hopefully they will get their act
back together and prove that they aren't just another software house.