Come on have a go if you think you're hard enough...
Yes indeedy, fight night is on. The champion in the blue corner weighing in at 225 pounds, is Kick 0ff 2. The challenger in the red corner weighing in at 230 pounds, is Sensible "Sock it to 'em" Soccer. Seconds away, round one!
Kick 0ff is so popular that it's played in our office by older members of staff every lunch- time without fail. What can you say about Kick 0ff 2 that won't take up five pages of space? A game that revolutionised football games forever. Converted to almost every format in some shape or form. Everyone I know owns a copy. And now from out of the darkness, a challenger.
Sensible Soccer has received rave reviews throughout the computer world and to be honest it was all down to one thing - bad old fashioned hype.
The current darling of the computer press is, not surprisingly, speeding up the charts faster than Linford Christie. But let's calm down here and go back a few months. Let me now introduce Wayne Campbell, diddle liddle dee diddle liddle dee, thanks Wayne.
I first had a go of a demo of Sensible Soccer a few months back. Thanks to the hype I was like a man possessed, ripping open the envelope and slapping the disk in the drive with such ferocity that I could've broken the computer.
Sitting there expectantly waiting for Sensible Soccer, spit now foaming at the mouth, sweating nervously, waiting, just waiting... Oh no I'm so excited I've forgotten to turn the damn computer on. Right so I turn the computer on and again I sit there waiting.
Aha, it's loaded, at last. I played the demo. My expectations were crushed. Disappointment flooded every bone in my body. Could I control my little men? No, I could not. I now know the reason why - it was all those years playing Kick 0ff that did the damage. So far Sensible Soccer had not lived up to the hype. Soon all that was about to change.
Sensible Soccer had arrived in the Post and because of that earlier disappointment I was a little bit nervous. Rather reluctantly, I carefully placed it in the drive and... diddle liddle dee diddle liddle dee. It was all a dream... or was it? Nay, it was no dream… There shining brightly in front of my eyes was Sensible Soccer. Wow look at all these options. What shall I do first. Hmm, European Championships - now there's a novelty.
I decided to be England and see if I could do better than Bore'em Taylor. First match was versus Denmark and I thrashed them 5-0. easy. Well, no it isn't - I lied. The result was actually the other way round.
Due to that damn Kick 0ff 2 I wasn't in tune with my Joystick. I had to take quick action, I didn't want to lose any more matches, So I chose the friendly option instead.
To make it fair I chose Germany and I decided the computer could be the greatest international side ever, San Marino. Now is that fair or what? Unfortunately I still lost, but I was getting better. I only lost 7-3 this time and scored three cracking goals.
Next friendly please, I'll be Holland and the computer can be, err, Albania. The next sentence you can sing with all your might at the top of your voice just for added realism and atmosphere.
"Three - Two, Threeee - Twoooo, Threeeee - Twwooooo". Hopefully there will be a lot of people staring at you right now. Yes, I won, I won the game. Hurrah.
Let's re-live that last goal again Brian. If you're reading out loud then I recommend that you adopt a John Motson voice at this next point. "Ohh bad ball from Abazi and Koeman's intercepted it. Lovely ball from Koeman to Bergkamp. Mistake from the defender. The cross is good and there's Van Basten. Van Basten dummies. Gullit with the shot. Goal! Holland three, Albania two."
Six friendlies later and I've completely mastered the control system. I can now sweep out of defence into attack with an uncanny smoothness that you wouldn't quite believe. It's like watching Liverpool on a good day.
Before I go into detail about the actual match, I'll run through some of the options with you, because that's the sort of informative chap I am.
Time is first on the agenda. The match length can be from a quick three minutes to a lengthy ten. Choosing Auto Replays will... come on, you can guess, can't you?
Seasonal weather will let you choose which month you want to play in and depending on which month you choose the pitch changes accordingly.
For instance, if you pick June you will get a lovely cut pitch whereas if you pick December you will get an icy pitch.
If you turn off the seasonal weather then you can just simply pick which pitch you want, normal, dry, hard, icy. muddy, wet and soft pitches are there for you to choose, or if you want to be daring you can select the random option and the computer will choose one for you throwing up that element of surprise and intrigue.
As well all the International football teams, you can also load up all the club teams. You can then have great line-ups such as Fram Reykjavik against Hajduk Split or other not so well known teams such as Barcelona against Juventus.
If a particular team isn't there you can make up your own. Everything is fully changeable - the players and managers' names, the players skin colour and, of course, you can change the team kit.
Whether you just want to play in all black to confuse the ref or you want to play in a combination of pink and yellow and put off the opposition, the choice is yours. Well I'm running out of words, but there are literally hundreds of options, far too many to detail here.
As you can see from the screenshots, Sensible Soccer is viewed from a slightly elevated position. This is great because there's no need for a radar or scanner - you can practically see what's going on all over the pitch.
Now every football match needs a hit atmosphere and Sensible Soccer is full of it. You can hear crowd chants along with samples of sirens and drums for that international feel.
If you hit the post the crowd gasps, if you foul someone they boo and if you score they wet themselves. Baby Kid the baby that... SLAP! Sorry I went a bit funny there for a minute.
Well there's the full time whistle and here's the after match comments: "Well at the end of day the Brian, football's the winner, a great contest and no mistake. Sensible Soccer has got great playability, but so has Kick 0ff 2. Sensible Soccer is very addictive indeed but then again so is Kick 0ff 2."
"Sensible Soccer has just got the edge in graphics and sound, but does a football game really need brilliant graphics and sound? Take a look at Kick 0ff 2 as an example. I'm not going to say which game is best, but I will give you some advice.
"If you hated Kick 0ff 2 and couldn't get to grips with it then Sensible Soccer could well be the game for you. If you've already got Kick 0ff 2 and you're a footy fan then Sensible Soccer is the ideal complement to it, but whatever you do, don't leave Kick 0ff 2 altogether and don't forget there will be a rematch because Kick 0ff 3 is on its way." Gulp!
Amiga Computing Issue 52, September 1992, p.p.4-5 (Gamer)
Wäre das Game als "Kick Off 3" herausgekommen, hattet kein Mensch Verdacht geschöpft - dieses Sensibelchen ist warscheinlich die frechste Kopie seit langem! Dennoch, hier wurde nicht bloss abgekupfert, im punkto Spielbarkeit gefällt der Klon streckenweise besser als das Original.
So begnügt sich das Programm mit 512K RAM, bietet volle PAL-Overscan Auflösung, alle nur denkbaren Match-Arten (sämtliche Cups, EM, Freundschaftsspiele), über zehn verschiedene Plätze mit wechselnden Wetterbedingungen, diverse Mannschaftsaufstellungen, 64 originale europäische Fussballteams plus 34 Nationalteams, Solo- und Zwei- Spieler-Modus, speicherbares Replay, Auswechselmöglichkeit und etliches mehr.
Grafik und Steuerung sind nahezu identisch mit "Kick Off 2", wobei die Stick-Bedienung vielleicht noch um einen Tick besser ausgefallen ist und die Computergegner hier so intelligent sind, dass sie sogar auf Zeit spielen, wenn sie in Führung liegen.
Das Hüpen, Singen und Grolen der Zuschauer rechtfertigt allein schon die anschaffung eines Stereo-Monitors, lediglich die Begleitmusik zu den Optionsscreens ist etwas enttäuschend. Wo wir schon bei den Schwachpunkte sind: Sensible Soccer ist ein klein wenig langsamer als "Kick Off 2", es gibt kein Radar, keine Wind-Option, keinen Vier-Spieler-Simultanmodus, kein Abseits, keine gelben und roten Karten (Fouls sind aber möglich und werden durch Freistoss geähndet), und die Spielzeit lasst sich nur auf 2 x 3 oder 2 x 10 Minuten einstellen. Auch die Zwischengrafiken sind nicht ganz das Gelbe, das Gameplay kann hingegen voll überzeugen: Es wird sehr viel Wert auf Teamarbeit und Pass-spiel gelegt, Solo-Dribbler haben meist das Nachsehen.
Fazit: Wegen einer Ausgewogenheit und tollen Spielbarkeit ist Sensible Soccer nicht nur das beste Game im Wettbewerb, sondern auch ein ernsthafter Anwarter auf die nächste Meisterschaft!
Amiga Joker, September 1992, "Fussball Total", p.56
Steve Keen pulls on his shin pads for a kickaround with Sensible Software's footy game.
KING OF THE CROP?
Roughly two years ago a game was released which gripped the Amiga games playing public like no other before. Journalists fell over themselves to find new adjectives with which to describe its gameplay, and it flew straight in at the number one slot on every games chart across the board. That game was Kick Off 2 and, even today, if you ask most hardened games players which game they'd take onto a desert island with them, any one of the Kick Off duo would be their resounding reply.
However, this scenario is a bit misleading as Kick Off 2 wasn't without its dissenters. Many criticised its numerable 'bugs' whilst others simply couldn't find a way of controlling the players or the set free kicks and corners. Some even went as far as to say that the entire game was unplayable. This is where Sensible Soccer comes in. The programmers make no secret that they had played Anco's classic to death before embarking on their own ultra improved football game.
Manufacturing your Aryan race is quick and simple, but hardly necessary unless you really get into the game. All amendments made can be saved to a separate disk and used later. Every major tournament can be adapted, too. Anything up to twenty teams will form a league, and a choice of extra time and penalty shoot outs in the cup matches can be selected, and you can even adopt the away goal rule of one point for a home goal and two for an away one.
Each side consists of sixteen players, a physio and a coach. What's unique about Sensible Soccer, though, is that every player has the correct name and plays the appropriate position for his team. They even have the right hair colour for easy recognition. Substitutes are brought into play by waggling the joystick from side to side when the ball's been punted to the sidelines. This produces a bench, which appears at the edge of the screen and lets you select from the additional players or to send on the man with the 'magic' sponge.
This system also means that free kicks and corners can be taken with pinpoint accuracy without the need for complex joystick manipulation. Simply play the ball as you think it should be played during a normal game and you'll be amazed at the results. Curling a ball around a five man wall and into the top right hand corner will become as natural as stuffing a low, hard cross into the onion bag with a glancing header.
Sensible Soccer is an incredibly enjoyable and playable game. You won't find a more controllable footy sim anywhere at this time. It capitalises on Kick Off 2's shortcomings and exploits everything that made the Anco game a success. The pinball aspect of the genre is totally eradicated and the simple running up and down the pitch from goal to goal tactic made rare by the constant desire for you to test out new moves and set pieces. Within the CU office, we are at trouble deciding which is the best Footy game. I'm sold on this, but Steve Merrett still insists that Kick Off II and Rage's Striker are better. There's no doubting that all three are excellent, but I reckon that this is the pick of the bunch.
CU Amiga, July 1992, p.p.62-63
Amiga Format, Issue 55, January 1994, p.84
Renegade * £24.99 * Out now
Amiga Format, Issue 55, January 1994, p.84
Amiga Joker, December 1993, p.83
Renegades Kicker stürmen auf Wunsch auch über das CDTV; hier wie dort wartet dann rasante und vor allem ungemein spielbare Fußball-Action aus der Vogelperspektive. Hakentricks und Elfmeterböller sind spektakulär wie eh und je, nur die Save-Optionen wurden etwas abgespeckt. Für 79 Märker erhält man somit 81 Prozent - gutes Geschät, oder? (rl)
Amiga Joker, December 1993, p.83
Oh dear, Sensible Soccer, but without the gloriously cheesy Captain Sensible music, without the replay and highlights facilities, without the save facility (unless you have got a floppy drive hooked up), and with, inexcusably out-of-date team data (Cantona still at Leeds, for God’s sake!) and some largely inferior new crowd sounds. There is no obvious reason for the missing replays (the CD32 has got twice the memory of an ordinary Amiag, and plenty of buttons to trigger the replay with), the lack of save is more understandable but no less annoying (especially for me, as the mighty Aberdeen have been taken out of this version and now cannot be put back in without laboriously entering all their details via the joypad every time you load the game, and the sound, which feels somehow less context-sensitive now, has a slight but tangible detrimental effect on the atmosphere). Sorry about the construction of that last sentence, by the way. No use has been made of the extra buttons, and the CD32 controller is far from perfect for the speedy precision needed in this particular game in the first place.
The impression you are left with is of by far the poorest version of Sensible Soccer to date (out of the eight or so I have played). Of course, that still means it is superior to 95% of all the other computer and video games in the world, but it could have been an awful lot better on the CD32 than this half-baked effort.
Amiga Power, Issue 35, March 1994, p.p.80-81