Presented by Nreive & Duffman
With the quarter finals and semi finals of Retroaction’s World Cup of soccer games already by us, it’s now time for the final. The eventual winner may have been a foregone conclusion for many, but it must be said that the runner-up gave a good game. Again, we picked out our outstanding player award for each game – basically, what we think is the best version of that game. For the final time, and in a particular order this time, here are the runner-up and winner of our World Cup of Soccer Games 2010…
Emlyn Hughes International Soccer
It seemed like an odd decision to use Emlyn Hughes to endorse Audiogenic’s football game, considering that the former England and Liverpool player had been retired for some time. Anyway, football player endorsement or not, Emlyn Hughes International Soccer is without doubt the best 8-bit football in existence.
The game was developed for the C64 by Graeme Blighe, who also went on to program all the following ports one by one (ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amiga and Atari ST – phew). What Blighe did was take an early C64 game called International Soccer, but update and expand on it so that it featured both action and management aspects of the sport.
This was the first time that a management aspect had been included in an arcade-style football game and everything is configurable: players’ stats, names, formations, squad selection, etc. In fact, nearly everything in the game is configurable: team kits, pitch colour, match length, as well as many gameplay options which can be turned off/on. However, the main options that most players will be interested in include cup or league tournaments, and also a full season with league (home and away fixtures) and cup competitions.
Admittedly, the graphics and sound are nothing startling – although the players move very fluidly – but what really makes the game shine above all the others is the incredible gameplay, coupled with some very realistic ball movement. There is an array of movements available to the player, including 5-direction passing, sidestepping, barging, heading, back heels, lobs, diving headers and sliding tackles. Granted, the game may prove to be slower than others that have been released, but this allows the player to create skilful strategic moves on the pitch. A thinking man’s football game.
Outstanding player award: C64 (Audiogenic, 1988)
Final position: Runner-up
Sensible World of Soccer
Following on from their first Sensible Soccer release in 1992, developers Sensible Software produced what many thought was impossible: improve on perfection itself. Released in 1994, Sensible World of Soccer upped the original football experience further with player management aspects, including a career mode.
Here, the player can get involved with team selection, tactics, transfers, and then play in the various competitions. The career mode takes this one step further and the game can take place over many seasons in which the player will take part in a career of a player manager, taking their team through the league, cup and even European competitions.
The actual game features a large zoomed-out viewpoint of the pitch, which lets you see all around your player’s immediate area, and proves vital for performing a good passing game. The control method is realistic, if you turn sharply you will lose the ball from your feet and if you aim a shot at the corner flag then the ball will go towards the corner flag. There is no computer assisted shooting to spoil the realism here.
While the graphical and sonic presentation of the game may be limited – although “Goal Scoring Superstar Hero”, the main title’s theme song, was very catchy and annoying in equal measures – this leaves the programmers to concentrate on what is most important: gameplay. The little player sprites move around the pitch performing passes, sliding tackles, diving headers and swerving shots with great satisfaction that only a well developed game can produce. Sixteen years on and even with the might of the current generation consoles or high spec PCs, nothing has come close to matching SWOS.
Outstanding player award: Amiga (Renegade, 1994)
Final position: Winner