World Championship Soccer
Copyright/Publisher: Elite/Sega, Programming & Music by: Mike Lympany, Graphics By:
P.Robinson & S.Beal, Technical Assistant by: D.Wainwright, Managed by: S.Hosseini,
Release Year: 1991, Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Just when you thought you'd finally seen the back of the footie season, Elite offer us this flashback to the World Cup via a conversion of a Sega coin-op. It's not an official product, hence World Championship not cup, but all 24 of the Italia teams are here.

At the start of the game you get to choose which of them you want to control via a world map, click on a country and you get all thw team details: speed, skill, defence, keeper and the overall ratings.

Unfortunately there's no team selection and team formations are always 4-4-2, which limits the tactical side to glowering at your team (sort of a Brian Clough approach). A bit of a shame but the important thing is the actual play on the rather nicely shaded pitch.

Matches are shown from overhead, with slick multidirectional scrolling. You always control the team member nearest the ball and dribbling is automatic, the ball glued to your foot.

The only way to steal the ball of an opponent is to slide-tackle him: this you can do fearlessly from any direction as there are no fouls! If your defence is beaten you get to move your keeper along the goal line to make last ditch saves.

When in possession, pressing fire passes/shoots the ball in the direction faced. The height of the pass depends on whether the joystick is pushed forward (low), centred (medium) or back (high). Unfortunately there's no radar scanner so getting a passing game going is difficult.

Another problem is the controls don't reverse depending on your direction of movement, so pushing up always keeps the ball low whether you're going up or down - distinctly odd. A more minor oddity is that the massive sprites are always in either blue or yellow strips, there's no attempt to represent national sides.

If the ball goes out of play there's the usual throw-ins - but with no fouls, obviously no penalties. Each match lasts six minutes, with disappointingly no overtime or penalty shoot-outs. In the World Championship draws are settled by rematches. However, the Championship format is identical to the World Cup with 24 teams in six groups, the best 16 going onto the knockout stages.

Matches aren't that long, maybe, but the absence of a save function is irratating. And in the end World Championship Soccer is rather crippled bu sych minor glitches. When the competition is the glitzy, polished-to-perfection MicroProse Soccer you can't afford to mess up the details. Moreover, however slick WCP's scrolling, goal mouth scrambles lead to some confusing scrums in which the logic of goals and misses is rather unclear.

This didn't look at all bad at first: large sprites, smooth scrolling, fast action. And the first couple of two-player games were quite fun. However, serious glitches soon became apparent, of which one of the most confusing is the non-reversal of the shot height control when playing downwards, making it all too easy to inadvertently whack shots over the bar.

Even worse are the naff goalies which usually appear well out of position (even by the corner falg!) and con't collect a ball off an attacker's foot - so he has unlimited time to place his shot. One-player mode us reduced to a farce by incredibly thick computer goalies - if you approach the goal from a wide position you can easily dribble straight past them and into the net!


Practice matches with competitive two-player mode plaus comprehensive championship option. No save though.
Fast, smooth scrolling with decent sprites, although the goalies look odd.
Rubbishy kicking FX.
Frantic two-player fun, but glitches are annoying.
Uhm, Phil won on his first go with England beating Sweden 12-2 in the final. Not much challenge really!