World Cup Soccer: Italy '90
Copyright/Publisher: Virgin Mastertronic, Release Year: 1990,
Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

At long last for football fans, the World Cup Finals are underway with 24 nations competing for sport's most prized trophy. And, of course, to coincide with this international event are the usual throng of computer footy games.

World Cup Soccer is the official licence of the tournament, so it's rather surprising that it doesn't include the real fixtures. Instead you play for either England, Italy, Belgium or Spain against a succession of progressively more talented teams. Alternatively two players can compete in a 'friendly'.

The action is shown by a bird's eye view with the sides kicking up/down the scrolling pitch. The player under your control is shown by an arrow over his head: switching between players is manual.

Dribbling is automatic, the ball being 'stuck' to the player's boot. When in possession, pressing fire kicks the ball in the direction the player is facing. Pressing fire when defending causes the player under control to attempt a sliding tackle.

Care must be taken, however, as fouls always result in a free-kick or penalty and occasionally (on the Amiga only) a sending off. When the ball gets near the either goal, the scene switches to a close-up 3-D view of the penalty area.

The player in possession must shoot before a defender comes on screen. The goalkeeper come under the defending player's control and can dive, stoop etc to try and save the shot. Extra game options include sound volume, match time, and five difficulty levels.

Footblal may be a 'funny old game' but it's nowhere near as daft as this. For a start, the 3-D goalmouth view doesn't really work and it's unfair anyway: the goalie at the bottom end is shown from behind, making it extremely difficult to save shots.

Ofcourse, you'd expect the sides to swap halves at half-time which would compensate - but they don't! The action is dull with very basic ball control, ie dribble with it superglued to your foot or boot it downfield.

What's more, there's only six players! And no option to change formations. It's a pity really, since the graphics aren't bad - the Amiga ones are a bit garish, but the C64 ones are really quite nice.

Can someone tell me what this has to do with the World Cup? It may be the official licence but it lacks the official fixtures and teams! It wouldn't be so bad if the game was anywhere near playable but unfortunately it's the worst game of football I've seen since Ludlow Layabouts got beaten 12-0.

The change of perspective in the penalty area is a good idea but it's incredibly hard to save shots as pinpoint accuracy and timing is required. Worse still is the player control.

The ball is glued to your foot and you can only kick it at a set power, making intricate passing impossible. Of the two versions the Amiga game is marginally the better for its speed and the fact that players can get sent off: on the C64 you can foul to your heart's content!


Small 'history of the World Cup' booklet, wall chart, aestheticoptions, but where are the Cup fixtures?
Fairly good sprites but the 3-D goalmouth scene is terrible.
Okay title tune, minimal in-game FX.
Over-simple control method. The ability to foul persistentlyresults in very scrappy play.
A tough but enjoyable challenge.