Presented by Nreive & Duffman
We’ve already presented our results of the Retroaction World Cup of Soccer Games quarter finals, so it’s now time for the semi finals. Again, we also picked out our outstanding player award for each game – basically, what we think is the best version of that game. So in no particular order, here are the games that reached our semi finals…
Tecmo World Cup ‘90
Although Tecmo World Cup ’90 was released later on the Mega Drive/Genesis with a ’92 suffix, it was far more successful in the arcades. One of the main reasons for that would be its accessibility and enjoyable gameplay.
Developed by Tecmo to coincide with the 1990 World Cup which took place in Italy, the game is the perfect arcade game: easy to get into, great to look at and gameplay to match. One credit lets the player play in a knockout competition and if they win they progress to the next round. Lose a game and it is game over. Eight teams are available to play as and you take on the teams one by one with the difficulty getting progressively more challenging.
Once you start the game, you will notice how quickly the game plays – certainly compared to similar games at the time – and will be in awe of the features available. There’s the usual pass and shoot buttons, which can be used to perform some outrageous moves. Volleys, sliding tackles, diving headers and overhead kicks are all common place in this past paced game. Although many of these features had been done before hand, never had they been executed with such class and aplomb – seeing the goal net bulge due to one a belting overhead kick is very satisfying. One thing that does puzzle and amuse us in equal measures is that if a player gets whacked in the back by the football they fall to the ground.
So overall an excellent game which, as usual with many football games, is even better with two simultaneous players. Two friends going head to head in a crowded arcade amusement generates an atmosphere that home computer games just can’t recreate.
Outstanding player award: Arcade (Tecmo, 1989)
Kick Off 2
Along with Sensible Soccer, Kick Off 2 is hailed as one of the best football games of all time. Taking the best elements from Microprose Soccer, developer Dino Dini produced Kick Off, a realistic football game which features an overhead view, swerve shots and action replays. A massive success on the Amiga and Atari ST and a sequel was inevitable and, just like the first game, Kick Off 2 was ported to many other home computers and consoles in various guises.
The most noticeable difference to KO2 compared to other comparable games is that the ball does not stick to the players’ feet. Instead the ball is always knocked ahead of the player as he dribbles it. Skill is definitely required here as each pass and shot is down to the player – there are no computer assisted passes or shots here. While all this may make for a more realistic game, it does put off many gamers, as a lot of practice is required to get anything out of the game. The game itself moves at a fare old pace and, along with the ball not sticking feature, it does tend to feel like a pinball game as play ping back and forth. However, once the controls are mastered, the game can be very enjoyable.
There are options aplenty: league and cup tournaments to take part in, team kits to design, realistic tactics to carry out, a proportional sized pitch (with enough view to produce tactical passing movements) to play on, the ability to save goals to disk, slow motion ability and realistically erratic referee behaviours. Kick Off 2 is a realistic football game that is worthy of the time and effort needed.
Outstanding player award: Amiga (Anco, 1990 – just pips Atari ST to the award)
Coming soon… Retroaction World Cup of soccer games: the final.