Matchday II (Rerelease)
Copyright/Publisher: Hit Squad/Ocean, Written by: Bernie Drummond & Jon Ritman,
Coded by: John Darnell, Music: Bernie Drummond, Release Year: 1987,
Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

With all the new footy games coming out for the World Cup it's interesting to see how this oldie measures up. The game boasts a vast array of options including one- or two-player modes plus a twin-player option with both players playing for the same side against the computer. There's also an eight-team league and a knockout cup

The action is viewed from an elevated side position with the pitch scrolling left/right. You always control the nearest player to the ball, indicated by a tiny kickometer above his head - the level of this constantly pulsing bar determines the power of shots.

The ball can be chipped (if you're in motion while kicking) or played along the ground. If the ball is in the air you can also jump up to head it. One of the game's most sophisticated features is the 'diamond deflection system' which makes for very realistic rebounds.

Matchday II is certainly well presented with plenty of options allowing team colours, match time and skill level to be changed. What really lets it down, though, is the appalling slowness of the action. The stumpy players resemble geriatrics as they hobble around the pitch.

With the lack of speed, it's hard to take the attacking initiative as there's so much time for defenders to react to any move. This makes matches dull and very low scoring affairs. A pity, as the basic control method, kickometer and accurate deflection system all work well.

In retrospect, I think Matchday II was well overrated (90%) by the old ZZAP! crew. It's difficult to understand how the game's snail pace and graphical glitches (including the ball disappearing) could have been so easily dismissed. However, Paul Sumner did say, 'I can only seeing this appealing to ardent football fans.' He was right.