WITH the soccer season now well under way all the controversial headlines our national sport generates has woken the Amiga to soccer fever. Commodore's skill at choosing the most expensive team to get relegated seems to be reflected in the left-
Peter Beardsley's Soccer
Publisher: Grand Slam
GRANDSLAM, wishing to capitalise on the euphoria associated with the European Soccer championships, released this game during the final week of the contest. By having the most expensive player in Britain they endorse the game they believed they were on to a winner.
They might as well put money on Chelsea. Both Peter Beardsley and the game which was endorsed by him were completely off form. England's performance in the championship was similarly abysmal, although you can't really blame Grand Slam for that.
Peter Beardsley's Soccer on the Amiga suffers from not being finished. The gameplay is weak and the multitude of bugs infuriating.
The graphics are well presented and the scrolling very smooth, but the game lacks substance. The sound effects are annoying - thankfully the dire rendition of the Match of the Day theme tune can be turned off.
I think I could have just about tolerated the weak gameplay and awful sound effects if the game had a little more variety and bore some relationship to the sport, but it hasn't. Penalty shooting and sliding tackles are just two of the myriad missed opportunities. International Soccer on the 64 is better.
Football Manager 2
FOOTBALL Manager was first released on the ZX81 seven years ago and is still in the charts. It instantly became recognised as a classic in computer entertainment. Now, after an endless list of conversions, the follow up has arrived. Football Manager, Kevin Tomm's original masterpiece, never made it to the Amiga. Never mind though, the follow up is even better.
Football Manager 2 is a strategic exercise in football management. You start the game as a division four manager. Having selected the team you wish to manage you are then presented with a sponsorship deal. This usually guarantees £500,000 in cash to be used on transfer market. The game revolves around selection and trading players.
By rotating the squad so that no one player becomes exhausted or injured you will insure that the team always performs well. This idea defies the golden rule of never changing a winning side. Despite this, Football Manager 2 is the best football simulation to be released for the Amiga. It is packed with great little touches. Try to win the domestic treble.
Publisher: Kingsoft (Germany)
SOCCER King from Kingsoft was released in Germany many months ago. Like Peter Beardsley's Soccer, it aims to capitalise on the wave of enthusiasm generated by the European championships. Soccer and the Amiga are big in Germany, so naturally the largest publisher in the Rhineland decided to put two and two together and made an eleven.
Following the unwritten rule of arcade soccer games, attention to detail is missing. Before you start, you choose to play against an opponent or the computer and specify the length of a game. There is no way to stipulate the strength of a pass or shot and no added features like penalty taking or sticking the ball inside your shirt and running with it.
Soccer King is yet another attempt to copy International Soccer on the 64. The graphics and sound effects are extremely poor, the gameplay verging on absorbing, but as a two player game it almost becomes enjoyable. The appeal of the game is short lived - you soon realize that the shoddy graphics and weak sound effects fail to hide a rather drab repetitive game, worthy of Chelsea.
Brian Clough's Football Fortunes
A COMMON trick in publishing a successful game is to have someone very famous in the field add their name to it. The going rate for this is about £5,000 - depending on how famous the celebrity is and whether this team got relegated last year.
CDS has learned this lesson. They don't come more famous than the outspoken Forest manager who has his name on its game... well, they do but you need to play football with your hands and get married to Sean Penn.
Football Fortunes was released a while ago and was well received. Calling Football Fortunes a computer game is something of a misnomer. It is really a board game with the computer acting as sophisticated dice.
You need at least two players - which rules out the Chelsea fan club - and the computer cannot be set up as an opponent.
There are no real graphics. From a list of options you can choose the players for your team and the name of the team. The computer then moderates the game, telling you who won each match and how much money you earned.
The game is very absorbing. It can be a bit messy setting up the computer on a table, but you will get so hooked you won't want to clear the table for tea. At the game's launch one journalist refused to leave for the free lunch because she wanted to do the double. It's simple, it under-uses the Amiga and it's great.
MICRODEAL's attempt at International Soccer on the Amiga is by far the best. The Amiga version has had all the bugs of the ST version ironed out.
Played either against the computer or a friend, each player has all 11 men to call on during the game. The fact that all 22 men are able to take part is a worthwhile novelty. With so many sprites on the screen its inevitable that the action will slow down when things get clustered, but to my surprise the sprite animation and the flow of the game do not suffer too drastically.
While without doubt the best of the soccer action games, at the same time it is a long way from being the definitive soccer simulation. If you are desperate for some good football action for your Amiga then give it a try.
Football fever may have caught the Amiga, but the vast difference in quality and style of the computer soccer games has also been made apparent. While none of the games featured are really up to scratch, Football Manager 2 represents the best value.
More such games are due in the next few months. Anco will be releasing an arcade football game as will Satory, the French company which advertised Hotball three months ago.
Mastertronic has the official license to the F.A. Cup and it's a distinct possibility that Sensible Software's soccer game, recently bought by Microprose, will make an Amiga appearance just before Christmas.
My bet is that with all this activity Amiga gamesters will be celebrating a fantastic soccer simulation at the end of the new season and Manchester United will be celebrating their first league championship in 20 years. Chelsea might find that the third division is not only something to do with the House of Lords.