In 1992, I was just beginning to become interested in football. I was playing in my school team, and at weekends would play for local Saturday morning teams. My love of football meant that I also sought out football computer games. FIFA International Soccer and Pro Evolution Soccer were a few years away yet, so I purchased European Club Soccer.
Known as World Trophy Soccer in North America, and J-League Champion Soccer in Japan, this football game was developed by Krisalis Software (Game Arts in Japan) and published by Virgin Games for the Sega Mega Drive in 1992. I chose to review the Sega Mega Drive version.
Playable in one and two-player mode, you can choose from over 150 teams throughout Europe to compete in tournaments. Naturally they do not have the real player names, but many of the teams are recognisable. For example, Manchester United, Liverpool, Juventus etc., are available, as well as some more obscure additions such as Rotherham United.
I remember that I always wanted this game as a kid because I thought it looked excellent, and the cover art really sold it to me. The in-game graphics are good for 1992, far superior that Konami Hyper Soccer and Goal! Two on the NES, but sadly the gameplay was a let-down. Oddly, there is no “shoot” button per se, only low pass and high pass. Frustratingly, the players lose the ball if they change direction too fast whilst dribbling and scoring from a cross or corner is pretty much impossible too. In order to score, I found that I had to have one of my players stand in front of my opponent’s goalkeeper to intercept a shot from another of my players. The keeper would dive out the way, allowing the intercepting player to score into an open net.
Due to a lack of storage, any changes made to team strips could not be saved, and the only way to continue progress through a tournament was to use a password.
Did I complete the game?
I successfuly won all leagues and cups without the Three Shredded Wheat cheat.
What the critics said:
Mean Machines: “A superbly presented game which is sadly let down by some awkward gameplay points. Overall 69%”.
Mean Machines Index: Megadrive soccer games have a history to beingsad and this effort does little to addressthe situation. Although the graphics and sound are very good, the gameplay is let down by low player intelligence, wonky collision detention and awkward controls. As the (very) old saying goes “try before you buy!”. Overall 69%”
Sega Power: “Nice introduction and options, but the whole thing is a let down by poor gameplay. It’s simply too easy to beat in one-player mode. Overall 3/5”
My verdict: “Not the worst football game I’ve played, but there are better ones out there to enjoy. I‘d recommend seeking out arcade football games for games released in 1992.”
What are your memories of European Club Soccer? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame.
 ‘Review: Mega Drive – European Club Soccer’. Mean Machines. (June 1992). Issue 21:106-8.
 ‘Review Index: Mega Drive – Euro Club Soccer’. Mean Machines. (October 1992). Issue 1:138.
 ‘The Hard Line – Review: Mega Drive – European Club Soccer’. Sega Power. (September 1993). Issue 46:97.