Super Kick Off

You stand in the tunnel and hear the chants from the stands echo all around you. Your supporters expect glory. Can you immortalise yourself and your team by winning silverware and reigning supreme? Tie up the laces of your football boots and adjust your shin pads. Its not just Kick Off, its Super Kick Off!

(Screenshot taken by the author)

Super Kick Off is the sequel to Kick Off 2. It was developed by Anco Software, Tiertex Design Studios and Enigma Variations, and published by US Gold, Imagineer, and Misawa Entertainment in 1991. It was released on the Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, and SNES.

The game is played with a top down view, similar to that of World Cup Italia ’90, but the overall graphics are more detailed, especially where the sprites are concerned. The game has also added footballers of different skin tones, making the game more realistic. The pitches are also prettier and the crowd is brightly coloured.

In-game action (Screenshot taken by the author)

The in-game menu icons are not labelled but are fairly self-explanatory. One league and three cup competitions, plus a two-player mode, adds to the replay value. It is also possible to increase the overall speed of the game and adjust the difficulty setting of the oppoenent, to add more of a challenge.

In-game menu (Screenshot taken by the author)

The teams are a random array of Europe’s better teams from the early 90s. The names of the players are not real but are close enough to distinguish who they really are (Griggs = Giggs etc.). Oddly, some players begin out of position. For example, when playing with Man Utd, Spruce (Steve Bruce), starts upfront instead of in defence, so a little tinkering is needed to amend such insanity.

The music is forgettable and not as catchy as World Cup Italia ’90 which had a very Latino feel to it. There are a few SFX but the gasps from the crowd everytime the ball is either saved by the goalkeeper or goes out of play is very annoying.

Half-time (Screenshot taken by the author)

Controlling the ball takes a bit of getting used to. You have to either manoeuvre the player around the moving ball or press the ‘trap’ button before changing direction. The ‘trap’ button also acts as the pass button and so many times the ball gets kicked wildly out of play. Tackling is pretty much non-existant other than running into the opposition to steal the ball, and the offside rule tends to happen at odd times during the match. Once you can beat the computer regularly on the hardest setting (14-0 if you must know), you know it’s time to stop playing the game.

Although an improvement on most previous football games, I am still at a loss as to how computer designers were consistantly unable to produce a realistic football game in the 80s and early 90s. You only need three buttons: For attacking – 1) short pass, 2) long pass, and 3) shoot. For defense – 1) standing tackle, 2) sliding tackle, and 3) control nearest player to the ball etc. It’s that simple!

Did I complete the game?

Yes, I won all leagues and trophies in this game.

What the critics said:

Mean Machines Sega: “The best football game going, and one which every Mega Drive owner, regardless of their interest in sport, should leap out and purchase. Overall 95%”.[1]

Sega Power: “You wanted a decent football game and you’ve got one! You’ll need patience to get used to controlling the players, but it’s more than worth the effort. Overall 5/5.[2]

My verdict: “An improvement on most previous football games, and certainly worth playing. However, they are still a long way to go where football games are concerned.”

Rating:

What are your memories of Super Kick Off? 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 Facebook.


[1] ‘Review: Mega Drive – Super Kick Off’. Mean Machines Sega. (February 1993). 5:18-21. (https://archive.org/details/mean-machines-sega-magazine-05/page/n17/mode/2up Accessed on 6th February 2020).

[2] ‘The Hard Line: Mega Drive – Super Kick Off’. Sega Power. (September 1993). 46:98. (https://archive.org/details/SegaPower46Sep1993/page/n97/mode/2up 25th February).

World Cup Italia ’90

I was seven during World Cup Italia ’90, and sadly I don’t remember much about it, other than my father jumping off the sofa in celebreation as England scored. I don’t recall the match but I have a feeling it may have been England v Belgium, and the goal in question was David Platt’s volley.

Screenshot from balls.ie

Released for the Sega Mega Drive in 1990, and the Sega Master System in 1991, this football game was developed and published by Sega, and can be played in one and two-player modes. I reviewed the Sega Mega Drive version

You can choose from 24 teams in the World Cup, all with varying degrees of stats, to guide to World Cup glory and immortality. Brazil, Argentina, West Germany, Holland and England are the best rated teams for the era, but again there are no names of real players. You view the game from a top down perspective, changing only during corners, penalties and goal kicks. When you score a goal, a picture of a player celebrating appears upon the screen for a few seconds before kick-off resumes. The gameplay is superior to European Club Soccer. For instance, there is a clear distinction between shoot, pass and cross funtions. You can tackle and head the ball, and the overall ball control is better. You also need tactics to score goals. For example, in the first half, you need to diagonally cross ball into the penalty box to head the ball over the goalkeeper. In the second half the goalkeeper tends to stay on his goal line, and so long shots diagonally across the penalty box into the corners of the goal are best.

Screenshot from Emuparadise.me
(Screenshot taken by the author)

There are a few things wrong with this game however. Firstly, there are no fouls, so you can just hack away to your heart’s content. What really lets this game down though, is the length of each match. There is no way to shorten the match time, and each game seems to last over 10 minutes. This wouldn’t be so bad, but the simplicity of the gameplay soon becomes tiresome over such a long period of time. I achieved such a high level of skill at the game that I was scoring 20 goals per match because they are so long.

(Screenshot taken by the author)

This game received poor reviews, but I seem to have a soft spot for it. I must confess that I love the music. It has a very South American feel to it, and once its in your head, it never leaves. You’ll certainly find yourself dancing in your seat to the Latin beat.

Did I complete the game?

Yes, I have led the teams of Brazil and England to World Cup glory numerous times.

What the critics said:

Sega Power: “…this soccer game is a disappointment. Tired old gameplay and average graphics make this one for soccer fans only. Overall 2/5”.[1]

Sega Power: “This soccer game is, to put it mildly, very poor. Tired old gameplay and average graphics make this a soccer fan game only. Overall 2/5.[2]

Raze: “Smooth scrolling pitch, good animation, lots of great set-piece screens and two-player mode is great fun. Poor title tune and corny during game, feeble whistles and strange groans, doesn’t always pick the nearest player. Overall 82%.[3]

My verdict:Although you may get bored with the formulaic ways of scoring, the music will help ease the lengthy game time. I still prefer this to European Club Soccer.”

Rating:

What are your memories of World Cup Italia ’90? 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 Facebook.


[1] Jarrett, S., ‘The Hard Line – World Cup Italia ‘90’. Sega Power. (April 1991). Issue 23:55. (https://retrocdn.net/images/8/89/SegaPower_UK_23.pdf Accessed on 29th July 2020.

[2] ‘The Hard Line – Review: Mega Drive – World Cup Italia ‘90’. Sega Power. (September 1993). Issue 46:99. (https://retrocdn.net/images/b/b9/SegaPower_UK_46.pdf Accessed 17th February 2020).

[3] ‘Reviews: Mega Drive – World Cup Italia ‘90’. Raze. (March 1991). Issue 5:44-45. https://archive.org/details/raze-magazine-05/page/n43/mode/2up Accessed 15th March 2020).

European Club Soccer

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 saught out football computer games. FIFA and Pro Evolution were a few years away yet, so I purchased European Club Soccer.

Screenshot from Video-Games-Museum.com

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 reviewed the Sega Mega Drive version.

Playable in one and two-player mode, you can choose over 150 teams from 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 odd 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), 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. 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 their 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.

Screenshot from Video-Games-Museum.com

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%.[1]

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%”[2]

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[3]

My verdict:Not the worst football game I’ve played, but there are better ones out there to enjoy.”

Rating:

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 Facebook.


[1] ‘Review: Mega Drive – European Club Soccer’. Mean Machines. (June 1992). Issue 21:106-8. (https://ia600306.us.archive.org/2/items/mean-machines-magazine-21/MeanMachines_21_Jun_1992.pdf Accessed 10th December 2019).

[2] ‘Review Index: Mega Drive – Euro Club Soccer’. Mean Machines. (October 1992). Issue 1:138. (https://archive.org/details/mean-machines-sega-magazine-01/page/n137/mode/2up Accessed 16th February 2020).

[3] ‘The Hard Line – Review: Mega Drive – European Club Soccer’. Sega Power. (September 1993). Issue 46:97. (https://retrocdn.net/images/b/b9/SegaPower_UK_46.pdf Accessed 17th February 2020).