Psycho's Soccer
Copyright/Publisher: Ubi Soft, Release Year: 1992,
Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 to 4

Nope, despite the title, this has nothing to do with that Vinny Jones video where he selects his favourite nasty tackles. It's a compilation of football games.

The 'Psycho' refers to Stuart Pearce, captain of England's football team. Not that it really matters. It could just as well refer to Norman Bates; the chances of Pearce ever having played any other games on this compilation would be a surprise, and as for them being his choice...hello, was that a hog with wings I just saw flying by?

But that's not the point, is it? It's just the nature of licences. The vital point is the quality of the games and in this case, they're a mixed bunch, to be sure, disproving that old adage that a football game is a football game is a football game. (I've never heard that one - Ed.)

Um, that's because I just made it up, but I'm sure it's the way loads of people do think. Anyway, there are four of them and they range from the probably the best football sim yet seen on the 64 to a game so dire that the meaning of the word dire has been rewritten in the latest dictionaries to accommodate its existence.

Kick Off 2
Kick Off 2 is a great game, not without its faults, and not without some flagrant flouting of footie's rules, but still great fun to play. It's the fastest of the four, has the most options, the clearest graphics and the most positive control response.

Like the other games it uses a system where ther highlighted players is the one over which you have control, (a system which is okay, bot does have it's faults when the control switches from one player to another just when you were least expecting it) but it's the only one to offer a radar screen which shows you where the other players are.

Okay, so it's pretty small and the players are practically invisible blobs but it's certainly better than a whack across the knuckles with petrified palm tree.

You have a selection of teams and as number of tactics from which to choose. Each player has mixture of attributes and skills, such as Pace, Stamina and Resilience, and believe me, they do make a difference.

Watching one of your slower players run for the ball can be extremely frustrating, and you can bet that whatever team you choose, there's going to be at least one lamer.

Manchester United
Manchester United is a management sim, and they're not everybody's cup of tea, it has to be said. So I'll say it - they're not everybody's cup of tea. You play the Reds' manager, and have to buy and sell players, train them, selected teams, etc.

You do this for a season and try to get to the top of the division. You get to watch each game from the standard top-down view at which point you have a choice of either taking limited control of your players or sitting back and watching, hoping you've made the right managerial decisions.

The match sequences are hilarious, with a tiny pitch, a diamond-shaped ball and halves that last about a minute. The management bits, meanwhile, are pretty dull, with possibly the most uninspired graphics ever seen on the Commodore.

World Championship Soccer
World Championship Soccer is similar to Kick Off 2, but not as good. The graphics are inferior (the players look like headache tablets), it's not as fast and there aren't as many options or player skill settings.

The goalies are especially odd - not only do they look like Guy the Gorilla, but the ball seems to go straight through them (I assume it's supposed to have gone over their heads, it's not very clear).

It remains a fairish attempt at a footie sim and, as it's easier to play then Kick Off, it works as a good training ground for players new to the footie sim genre.

Fighting Soccer
Finally we have Fighting Soccer. It's a bit like Plan 9 From Outer Space - so awful it transcends its naffness and has an entertainment value all of its own. The graphics are dire, the controls are limited and when the players head the ball they tend to leap about 20 feet in the air. Even odder, there's very little evidence of any fighting.

Kick Off 2's the only reason to buy this compilation, but as it's also available on other, better compilations. Seek out one of those instead.

UPPERS
Kick Off 2 is still one of the best footie sims you're likely to find.

World Championship Soccer is OK for players new to the genre.

DOWNERS
Fighting Soccer is absolutely awful.

The instruction manual isn't very helpful.

None of the graphics are particularly good.


INTRO SCREEN

POWER RATING 43

Kick Off2, thro one with the next to useless radar (but it's still the best by miles).

World Championshipo Soccer with those easy to swallow players.

tAn untypical shot from Man United. Most of the time you deal with boring tables but they wre too dull to put on the page.

Figghting Soccer plays like Cambridge with an injury crisis.