Bring me to the main page   Bring me to the reviews index

Kick off 1 logo  Format Gold

Anco £19.95 joystick

M Kick off 1 ention the name Anco, and the chances are mental images of scantily-clad poker-playing women will pop into the average games-player’s head. This stereotype is not entirely fair – because Anco have released some great titles in the past, including Karting Grand Prix - but perhaps Kick Off will go some way towards changing Anco’s image in the public eye. It is the first in what promises to be a strong range of products coming up over the next few months.

As you might guess, Kick Off is a football game. One or two players can compete, each controlling a full eleven-a-side team during games of between ten and a full ninety minutes of real time. All the action is viewed from above and you control the player in the best position to get at the ball: the character under control is highlighted by a black line. The game has been designed so that players automatically dribble the ball whenever they come into contact with it. Shots or passes to another player simply require a tap on the fire button, and the longer the button is held down, the higher the ball will go.

Because of the dribbling it is tough to get used to turning with the ball, so for the first match or two you will end up kicking the ball half-way up the pitch in completely the wrong direction! You can hold the fire button down before making contact to trap the ball and turn in any direction you wish, then release the button to kick the ball. This makes things easier, but by taking advantage of the ‘practice’ option you will be in much better shape to play against someone who is trying to beat you.

Once confident with the controls, you can choose to play a single game or to compete in the league (the players and the computer can have their skill level adjusted, from International class right down to Sunday League).

There are eight teams in the league (so up to eight people can compete, if each selects a different team) and each team has a different playing style and skill level. For example, West Germany tend to tackle heavily (not always to their own advantage) while Russia are extremely fast and very skilful. A coin is tossed at the start of the match to determine whether you play up the pitch (screen) or down. Then you select a line-up, 4-2-4 for attacking play, 5-3-2 for sweepers and so on, and dive straight into the match.

Anco have really delivered the goods here. Kick Off is the best football game on the Amiga to date and should be in any gamesplayer’s library, whether he or she is a fan of real football or not.
Andy Smith

Amiga Format, Issue 1, August 1989, p.35

Terrific scrolling and animation compliment the gameplay, and the sound effects (whistles, crowd reactions and ball being kicked or bouncing off the goalpost) add lots of atmosphere. Triffic, Brian!


Kick off 1 logo

Price: £19.95

S Kick off 1 ince the appearance of the Amiga some two years ago we have had a squad of basketball sims, American footie sims and golf games, many of good quality. The history of football sims however is limited to a couple of poor offerings. Kick Off pulls one back for the home side.

At first look Anco’s game does not hold much hope. The screen consists of huge expanses of green stripes and a mass of little red and blue characters. Playing seems to confirm fears as the ball flies all over the park and your men show less control than a Sunday League side suffering from a collective hangover. I should know.
But initial impressions are misleading. As a matter of fact, Kick Off proves to be a surprisingly playable and immensely entertaining game.

The control method does take some getting used to. A small line is shown in front of the players and by using it in some sort of you can dribble with the ball. Trapping and distribution is effected by holding the fire down before you reach the ball. This is what really takes getting used to, because to begin with you will find yourself punting the ball all over the place. Control is not foolproof, in fact it is flawed, but it does represent a genuine attempt to simulate the game.

Whilst the graphics are small, they are quite neat and reasonably well animated, so you can see what is going on amid all the goalmouth action. There are plenty of neat touches too with fouls, yellow cards, sending offs and penalties. And when a man scores he runs back to the centre circle and performs a neat flip for the crowd.

Sound is variable with some muffled samples and a crowd roar which lends the game some atmosphere even if they sound none too authentic.
Other elements include a league system and various levels of play. You can play the computer, but the game really comes into its own in two player mode.

This might not look the greatest thing since Trevor Brooking, and it is nowhere near as perfect, but it sets the standard for other games in the league to follow.
Mike Pattenden

CU Amiga, July 1989, p.36


Kick off 1 logo  Gold Medal Award

Anco, Amiga £19.95

Kick off 1 What do mucky shorts, oranges and ninety minutes all have in common? And no, they’re not the implements and duration of one of Maff’s more auspicious traits – it’s that time-honoured English tradition, a good, hard game of football.
Just the right time of the year for it as well. Nice and hot(ish), everybody feeling fit and mean, wanting to show off in front of the crowd. And what better way than to jump into a footy strip and get on down to the park for a bit of a knockabout.

Of course, that’s all well and good if you haven’t got one foot in the grave, but if you’re a bit dodgy in the health department, or simply can’t be chewed to bet out of that comfy armchair on a weekend there is an answer! Computer footer!!
And as if enough companies haven’t jumped on the soccer bandwagon (or team-bus) of late, Anco feel obliged to check their footy boots into the running with the release of Kick Off

Presented in the now familiar birds-eye view format, eleven-a-side soccer action comes alive on your Amiga. Dribble that ball, head that ball, kick that ball, kick that man – you can do the lot. Teams can be selected from a selection of categories, ranging from schoolboy to International, the level of speed and control becoming higher the tougher the team. Play time varies from five to forty-five minutes per half, depending on the player’s tastes.

One or two players can participate, a flick of a coin deciding who gets the kick off. To help keep a track of where your players are situated at any time during the game, a plan view of the pitch is shown in the top left hand corner of the screen, the size of which can be changed at the press of a key.

So why go outside and kicked all over when you can put some shorts on, flick some water on your face and nestle down to a game of Kick Off?

Zzap, Issue 50, June 1989, p.80

Randy Last time I went out for a game of football I had to sit down behind the goal and have a tab, and I was the goalkeeper! Needless to say, I’m not the fittest of individuals, but I do like a good footy game on the computer. And Kick Off is a good footy game, believe me. The programmers haven’t gone ape over the presentation, but they more than make up for that as far as the gameplay is concerned. The pitch is nothing special (then again, what pitch is?) but it scrolls smoothly, and the players are a tad on the small side but run, kick and foul realistically. Sound is restricted to crowd noises and the referee’s whistle, but as I said the game is good enough to get past all this. The action is fast and furious and glues you to the seat, with a really high level of addiction. Kick Off is probably the best soccer game on the Amiga at the moment, and it should clean up while everyone is waiting for Microprose Soccer to emerge.

Gordo Until Kick Off, we hadn’t seen a really ace soccer sim on the Amiga, but Anco have delivered the goods admirably. It lacks aural and visual frills, with titchy characters and average sound effects, but snazz is unimportant when the game is as good as this. Honestly, we sat all afternoon playing this solidly, and never got bored once. I think the best part of the game is the unusual control method which Anco have adopted. Instead of sticking to your foot whichever way you turn (as in previous soccer games), you must make sure that you’re behind the ball – an idea which has proved successful in lifting Kick Off from the Sunday League to the top of the First Division (Corny Footy Phrases Inc.).

Generally well above average, with adequate options screens and an unusual but very effective control method. Loads of skill levels.
Uninspiring pitch scrolls well enough, and the small but perfectly formed players rush around with much gusto.
The sampled effects are limited, but create a suitable atmosphere.
The control system takes some getting used to, and there’s a distinct lack of pazazz.
So realistic, so, fun and soooo addictive.
Boots all other Amiga football sims over the crossbar. Microprose Soccer watch out!!!

Kick off 1...  ...Extra time logo

Anco £9.95 joystick

Kick off 1: Extra time This must be one of the most keenly-awaited expansion disks of all time. Why? Well, if you have not experienced the joys of Kick Off, your Amiga has not been used.

Basically, Brian, the disk allows modifications to be made to the original game (and you will need the original KO disk) including deciding what sort of state the pitch should be in (soggy, hard and so on). There are also some extra playing formations including all-out attack (‘Blitz’) and all-out defence (‘Lockout’). But by far the biggest difference is the inclusion of a strength meter where the player can decide the strength of the kick by hitting the firebutton when the small highlight bar at his feet changes colour (black to white: the blacker the line, the stronger the kick).

What a great idea all these variations are. What a shame they are a total waste of time. The strength meter just does not work as an idea, the different pitches have little effect and the new tactics make little difference. It is almost like you can take all the good bits out of Kick Off and play a very average football game. Don’t bother wit it.
Andy Smith

Amiga Format, Issue 7, February 1990, p.54


Kick off 1...  ...Extra time logo

(Anco, Amiga £9.95)
Review by ‘Footy’ Phil King
Kick off 1: Extra time We Kick Off fans have waited a long time for this data disk for Dino Dini’s brilliant footy game. So it came as something of an anticlimax when it arrived at ZZAP! Towers.

True, there are some new features, but other promised additions are conspicuous by their absence. A new set of harder referees was promised, but all that seems to have changed are their names. Apparently the players have three more attributes (tackling, passing and shooting skills) to give them extra individuality, but in practice it is hard to appreciate this feature – perhaps it was meant for the unfortunately omitted team selection option which was originally planed.

On the positive side, you do get a choice of four new playing surfaces (hard, artificial, wet, and soggy) as well as wind conditions which range from none to crazy (gale force!). Before each match you also get an extra four formations to choose from: Blitz (all-out attack), Lockout (very defensive), Falcon (fast wing attacks), and Criss Cross (possession play). And for mediocre players the choice of three skill levels for the league (previously only international) is most welcome.

Probably the most noticeable features in play, however, are the two ball control options. Shot Power allows you to determine the power of a pass/shot by watching the small line beneath the controlled player which rapidly turns white. However, even experienced players such as myself found it very hard to time shots correctly and often ended up just tapping the ball a few inches down the pitch – very annoying!

More useful is the After Touch feature which allows you to bend shots by moving the joystick after kicking the ball. This really adds an extra dimension to gameplay and some spectacular goals can be scored using it.
The only other in-game changes are player control of goal kicks (thankfully removing the irritation of a computer-controlled goalie throwing the ball straight to the opposing centre forward!) and the way injured players slow down (unfortunately the lack of tough refs leaves scope for extensive nobbling!).

Overall, Extra Time does not offer as many options as we had hoped for but the ball control options do change the nature of the game to a more skilful one, putting an extra lease of life into a footy classic.

Zzap, Issue 58, February 1990, p.6