Gary Lineker's Hot Shot
Copyright/Publisher: Gremlin Graphics, Programmed By: Ray Tredoux, Graphics By: Rory & Jon,
Music By: Ben Daglish, Release Year: 1988, Genre: Football/SoccerNumber Of Players: 1 or 2

Poor old England haven't been having the best of times, lately, have they? One of the culprits responsible for the demise of our once great soccer establishment is a certain Mr Lineker, so it seems like a spot of bad timing on Gremlin's part to put out a game advertising young Gazza as 'England's top striker'. Oh well...let's get on with the review.

Gary Lineker's Hotshot! is yer average, honest-to-goodness footer game. Played from a birdsye view, in much the same way as Microprose Soccer, you must kick, dribble and hack your team through the Football League, your goal (geddit?) being to reach the top of the First Division.

All the usual footballing features are here: overhead kicks, throw-ins, headers and that most despised species - the referee. Yep, he's here as well - ready to give you a good ticking off when you foul someone.

On loading, you are greeted with a comprehensive options menu, allowing you to alter the make-up of your game: picking players' shirt colours, choosing colour and style of the pitch (either grass or astroturf) plus deciding on the length of the match and division you wish to begin in.

So, pull the boots on, get out there and - who knows? - you may be in line for the next England manager's job. (Well, someone has to be, don't they!)

KICKING - including flick and overhead kick. Select power of shot on power bar.

TACKLE - fire and you'll go straight into a sliding tackle.

DEFLECTION - may rebound off or be controlled by the player. Applies to post and crossbars as well.

HEADER - in the direction the player is facing.

THROW-INS, CORNERS, GOALKICKS - select direction and kick.

FOULS, FREE KICKS, PUNISHMENTS - if a player fouls repeatedly he may be booked and/or sent off.

Aaaargh! Footy games are fast catching up on the shoot'em up in terms of quantity. While Gremlin's effort isn't what I'd call a classic, it's certainly not the worst. Graphics are a little on the jerky side, and the pitch is a bit bland, but the players are fairly well defined, and run about quite realistically.

There are a lot of options, and all the moves you'd expect in a footy sim are here - I personally like the way you can kick the other players in the shins, and get away with a silly vard.

Great fun! What we have here, then, is a basic footballing game, and that's that. While not in the same league (ho, ho) as Microprose Soccer or Emlyn Hughes, Hotshot is a competent enough kickabout - and it's a lot warner than the real thing.

OK, OK, I admit it - I was the kill-joy who didn't think as highly of Microprose Soccer as the rest of the known universe seemed to. I just found it a bit silly, that's all. Saying that, though, it was an outstanding piece of programming, and there were bound to be pretenders to its throne.

Which is where Gary Lineker's Hotshot! comes in. Up until now, I've not thought much of Gremlin's Lineker tie-ins, so it came as a surprise to find myself enjoying this one. It's not the best I've seen, and it's very much in the Microsoccer mould, but it's pretty passable as a football game, though maybe a tiny bit slow.

There's a detailed front end, which is pretty important in a footy game, though some of the options are a bit strange. Who wants a blue pitch anyway? Not, the greatest football sim ever, but still a lot of fun.


Loadsoptions and pleasantly laid-out in-game display.
Slightly jerky scrolling and basic pitch, but clearly defined and well-animated players.
Basic tune and effects.
Great if you like football.
Interest could wane as it's a bit too easy to win.
A poor man's Microprose Soccer, but not too bad at that.