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

After five minutes playing the real thing on the park after the FA Cup final, I was knackered. Retiring to the sidelines, I gave my trainers to a girl who promptly showed me the way they ought to be used by performing relentless sliding tackles in them. I was exhausted just watching. Prrof positive that smoking is terminally stupid.

Still, my tar filled lungs were strong enough to drag me in the direction of a 64 just as the latest armchair alternative for footballers with two left feet arrived from Elite. World Championship Soccer promises all the rewards of a career in soccer with none of the pulled harmstrings.

What the game offers is a choice of one-off football matches for one or two players or a one-player knockout tournament: the World Championship. Following your choice of game or games, a team selection screen presents itself in the form of a world map.

Move the pointer over any country and up pops the option to play that team. Your opponent then chooses his team (unless you're playing the tournament, in which case your challengers are predetermined by the course of competition itself). Play begins once both sides have selected teams.

If you've ever played a soccer game before, nothing about the way the rest of WCS works will surprise you. Viewing the pitch from directly overhead, the screen scrolls in all directions to keep the ball in view at all times. You always play the blue team and your opponent always plays the yellow one (regardless of the countries you've chosen to represent). The player nearest to the ball is always the one under your control.

All other players are managed by the computer until one of them becomes the player nearest the ball, in which case control of that player is immediately transferred to the (human) player. A player is glued to the ball until he passes, shoots or ends up on the receiving end of a sliding tackle.

Pressing the fire button makes the player with the ball kick it in the direction he's facing. Depending on whether the fire button is pressed while the joystick is being steered or not, the ball is kicked along the ground or high through the air. If the other side has possession, you can attempt a tackle by pressing the fire button as one of your players approaches the opponent with the ball.

If you're successful, you'll be in possession straight away (though your opponent will try to tackle you again). Try the tackle from a distance and watch as players go sliding across the pitch. Match contests in WCS are never the boring 'safe' kinds of game you often see from the terraces.

Time is accelerated and players change ends at half time. The usal goal kick, throw in and corner taking rules of football apply but there's nothing in the way of an off-side rules and nobody ever seems to foul, no matter how wild their tackles are. This game should get a fair play award.

However, this review isn't over until the final whistle. WCS may be among the first division of footy games but it won't bring the Cup home. Throw ins, corners and goal kicks are all slow to operate and more inaccurate than they really needed to be. On top of that, matches are very difficult thanks to what seems to be pre-programmed bias towards computer controlled players.

Nor, it has to be said, does the game have the depth of play of Kick Off 2. The optional sound effects are nothing to scream from the terraces about either. But if you're as ham-fisted as me, the game will keep beating you 8-2 unless you play against the USA. England's recent successes aside, that seems realistic to me.

One player per tournament only.
Very difficult at tournament level.
Slow response at set up, makes selection errors more likely.
Primitive looking sprites.
Forgettable sound effect.
Few game options.
Limited control over throw-ins etc.
Smooth scrolling screen.
Choice of one- or two-player friendly games.
Pick your team from anywhere in the world.
Team stats available from selection screen.
Logical joystick control.
Opponents play fast and furious football.
Works wonders in two-player mode..



A world of choice of soccer teams.
Tournament time: don't expect to last too long until you've mastered friendly games.
Having beaten the goalie, it only remains for this forward to walk the ball into the net.
Mid field action and a sliding tackle that could teach Gazza a thing or two.