World Championship Soccer
Copyright/Publisher: Elite/Sega, Programming & Music by: Mike Lympany,
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
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!