You’d think that having gone to the trouble (and, presumably, expense) of securing the rights to name a game after the European Championship, Elite would have come up with a game which actually simulated the European Championship, wouldn’t you? Instead, what you get in European Championship 1992 is a straight conversion of Tecmo’s popular coin-op knock-out game World Cup 90, which bizarrely isn’t a simulation of the World Cup either. Great start, eh?
But that’s just being picky, really. While the straight knock-out format is a bit limiting (with eight teams in the championship – you can shoose which eight from a selection of 25 – you don’t have to win many games to win the tournament, which won’t take you too long, although the opposition does get a good bit tougher as you progress, regardless of nationality), at least you can always compete against a different grouping to extend the life a bit, and there’s certainly more to it presentation-wise than its nearest competitor, Domark’s European Football Champ.
(Especially impressive is the animated intro sequence, although curiously, you can only watch it if you’ve got an A500 with one meg of memory, or an A500+ or A600 with one and a half megs. Slightly less impressive is the digitised picture of a Celtic-Rangers game from about 1981, featuring Danny McGrain, but let’s not be churlish).
Gameplay-wise we’re very much in arcade territory, which means not a lot of midfield tackling action, automatic accurate passing and the game being mostly an excuse for lots of dramatic goalmouth incidents, with overhead kicks and diving headers aplenty. It’s pretty slow-moving (especially compared to Euro Football Champ), and deeply unsophisticated (lacking the Domark game’s interesting ‘deliberate brutal foul’ option), but then at least you do get the essential action replays after a goal, which you can save to disk and gloat over later.
The most unusual feature is that you actually control your goalkeeper (a bit of a pain in the bum, to be honest), the best feature is probably the groovy brass band which march up and down the pitch in fine style at half-time, and the worst feature is the graphics, which are pretty grim with a pitch that looks like it’s been spraypainted in DPaint IV and players completely devoid of any facial characteristics. Oh yeah, and the most irritating feature is the one which occasionally awards a goal kick when you’d clearly put the ball in the net, but that’s life – just ask Marco van Basten.
All in all then, this is quite good fun. As a game it’s around the same level as Euro Football Champ, a lot slicker but not as funny, and you’d probably be as well tossing a coin if you’re trying to decide between the two. You get lots of goals and plenty of incidents in every game, but it’s desperately shallow stuff and it doesn’t shape up at all well alongside either Sensible Soccer or Striker, but then it’s not really trying to.
If they coin-op lit your candle, this is a pretty good copy of it gameplay-wise, and if you don’t expect too much then you won’t be disappointed, or something.