Gary Lineker's Superstar Soccer
Copyright/Publisher: Sport Time/Mindscape/Designstar Consultants/Gremlin Graphics,
Programmed By: Simon Ffinch & Mike Goodwin, Graphics By: Ed Ringler,
John A. Fitzpatrick, Release Year: 1987, Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 or 2
In direct competition with Ocean's Match Day II comes Gremlin's latest bug-name
licence, Superstar Soccer. Similar to Mr Ritman's game, this gives the player
the dual aspects of management and real playing action, but approaches them
When the player starts, he sets up the league as he wishes, choosing his team
name and whether there are seven or fifteen league games per season. He then
examines his team, deciding whether to trade old players or recruit new ones, and
arranges them in a six man formation.
The game is structured into four divisions of sixteen teams, with the player's
team starting in the fourth, playing both league and cup games. Any of the four division
tables can be examined, as well as any team's statistics, set-up and list of players.
When the player starts a match, he can change the control of the coach, centre forward
and goalie to human or computer. If all three are set to computer control, the
player can elect not to watch the match, but just let the computer work out the result.
The player may also pick team colours, set the speed of the timer (from normal to
15 times faster, for shorter games), and either practice or play league games.
The player only has one footballer to control for the whole match - the computer
follows the action on the ball, which means that the player's centre can be a long
way off screen.
When the player has the ball, he can either pass, by holding the
joystick towards a player and tapping the button, or shoot by holding down the
button. Shots can also be made if the ball is in the air, resulting in either a
'bicycle' kick or a header, depending on the height of the ball.
Whenever there is a break in play, such as a free kick or a goal, the coach
can change team tactics for both defence and offence, making them either aggressive
or passive. Substitutions can also be made, using the two allowed, to replace tired
or injuried players.
When I saw that this was from the makers of Superstar Ice Hockey, I thought that
it might be really good. The play is fast and furious, and the ball movement very
convincing - but unfortunately there are many flaws which ruin a potentially
The tape version is a real disappointment and is limited to just one match -
you pick your teams and play. That's it - if you want to change teams, you switch
off and reload. The disk version is better and has many options, including league
tables and cup competitions.
The big drawback is that the game is far too easy - it takes little practice to
beat the toughest teams. Consequently lasting appeal is limited, and winning everything
on the disk version soon becomes dull. There are two choices of football games this
month - personally I think Match Day II is the better one.
At last, a couple of software houses are starting to produce soccer game that are
approaching International Soccer's five year old standard. Gary's is the more
playable of the two, being immensely quicker and having far more goals to keep
the action exciting.
Unfortunately, it also suffers from a lack of realism, partly derived from the
unlikely score lines (27-22), partly from the 'unusual' rules (if the goalie holds
the ball too long, the other side wins a corner), and partly from the sometimes
frustrating control method.
Aside from this, the game has a good 'feel' to it, and is great fun to play, much
of the game design obviously coming from Mindscape's earlier success, Ice Hockey
(they were responsible for this game before it gained the big licence). Overall,
just as enjoyable as Matchday II, but in a very different way.