Bobby Robson's revenge

Kick Off 2 logo

GOAAAALLLL! The tradition cry of foreign football commentators, and players of Kick Off. The fastest and best football game ever. After experimenting with Extra Time, and playing around with Player Manager, Dino Dinner (sorry, Dini), has perfected his art with Kick Off 2. Or has he? To be honest, no.

Now before you rush for the poison quills listen up, and hear the tale of how a brilliant program has become more complex, more difficult, more challenging, but not necessarily better.

Kick Off 2 represents the cumulation of the developments seen in those other programs I have already mentioned. Thanks to this, it plays more like Player Manager than Kick Off, but without the management bits, naturally.

An interesting gimmick is the ability of three or four players to play against each other at the same time, with the aid of a joystick adapter. While creating frantic fun, the experience does not really bear repeating as everyone plays in position, resulting in all fruitlessly chasing the ball. Casting that ability aside, the Kick Off 2 player can indulge ina simple one-off game, a one-off game between two of eight international teams, an eight man international league, and eight man international knockout cup, or a special event (more of later).

On an options menu the player can decide to set the time limit (three mins per half minimum), the pitch type (normal, wet, plastic and soggy, each with its own pitch graphics), skill level of each team, tactics for each team, extra time in the cup competition, after touch or not (yes, if you want to score against the good computer teams), league skill level, game speed, and choice of referee.

Quite a line up, and there are more options on other menus, including a nice one that allows you to change the strip design of a team, along with its colours.

On the simple one-off games, you can load your own tactics from Player Manager, as well as your own PM teams. While this means that your fave team can take on your mates using your own tactics, it unfortunately stops there.

While I can understand the limitation of not allowing you Player Manager team to take part in the league, cup or special event, it seems pretty stupid that the tactics cannot be used. In fact, although you are offered a number of tactics from the options menu, you can only use the standard four in the league, cup and special events. Disappointing is not a word for it.

Actually, on the pitch the Player Manager gameplay has been tightened up so that you are unlikely to hit the ball over from six yards.

Unfortunately, the goalkeepers are now far too good. There are just two ways of being fairly sure of scoring, but getting into position to do either is very difficult. This results in goalkeeping errors deciding many games, and 0-0 draws proliferating when playing the computer.

Now this goes against the grain of what the original program was all about. The fact that the player cannot dribble properly, made the speed of play and scoring of goals the greatest attribute of Kick Off. The speed of Kick Off 2 is less, no longer blindingly fast, merely quick, and goals are hard to come by. Sure, it is far more of a challenge and there is great variety, but I feel something has been lost.

Meanwhile, the other changes on the pitch include variable strength corners, controllable goal kicks and throw ins, the ability to change formation whenever the ball goes out of play, and Brazilian style taking of free kicks in front of goal. There is also an action replay to review any goals you do manage to score, and save them to disk to prove it later.

The special event menu allows new competitions to be loaded from expansion disk, but gives you the World Cup to be going with. All the right teams in all the right groups are on offer, and you can change them around if you wish.

Having played all of these teams it strikes me that Dino does not have much clue about the strength of international football squads. The Italians are far too weak, and the Rumanians and Austrians particularly too strong.

At least there is some balance and challenge for all skill levels in this competition. Getting Cameroon or the United Arab Emirates through the first round is an achievement, while players of Brazil should get at least to the quarterfinals.

Another bug with this section of the game is that it rarely allows you to alter formation from 4-2-4 that is incredibly annoying.

So there you are, there is a lot packed into Kick Off 2, and with the prospect of up to 25 expansion disks from Anco, you could be playing it for years. However, scoring is hard, far too hard for any but experts, and there are still some aspects of the gameplay that I would like to see changed. Kick Off 3 remains a possibility.

Until then I say go out and buy your Kick Off 2, it is a very good game for all my minor niggles. Better than the original? I say no, but then I have completely mastered that, so Kick Off 2 provides a much needed challenge and, of course, a chance for England to be world champions.

Kick Off 2 logo Amiga Format Gold

ANCO £19.95 * Joystick

One year after an original that set the games-playing world alight, the much-anticipated sequel has made its appearance. Kick Off 2 looks set to follow on from Kick Off, but with a host of new features to enhance the superb gameplay. Question is, has Dino Dini been to ambitious? Has he screwed up?

To start with, up to four players can play simultaneously (two players against two players). There is a league competition so loads of you can all compete together. There is a cup tournament, so you can knock your friends out and grab the glory, and there is also the World Cup tournament so you can persuade 23 other people to take a team each.

The gameplay enhancements include a new spotted ball, different match surfaces (including platic and soggy), the ability to change the team strip, the choice of long or short throw-ins and possibly one of the biggest differences - the introduction of defence walls during free kicks.

There is also a new control touch added to the ball, called aftertouch. The player is now able to bend the ball slightly after it has been kicked by holding the joystick in a certain position, which can be very effective but does take a lot of practice.

The other main improvements include the ability to load in teams from Player Manager (the first real follow-up to Kick Off, for one player, which contained a whole management game) so you can play your lovingly-created team in the league against an other team that someone else has spent blood, sweat, tears and lots of money building up. Now the player can also have control over the strength and direction of corner and goal kicks.

The majority of play is much the same as before. Each team contains - of course - 11 players and the player you are controlling is highlighted by a line beneath his feet. As in Player Manager you have a choice between controlling the whole team, in which case control switches constantly to the player nearest the ball, or playing in one position.

Once you have gained possession of the ball your man automatically dribbles it and passes and shots are made by pressing the fire button and holding the joystick in various positions. Controlling your team takes a while to get used to, but practice really does make perfect and after a while your handling of the player improves significantly.


Spot effects, such as the ball thuds and the crowd cheers, are excellent. The graphics are great too. The action is all viewed from above, which works very well for a game of this nature. The sprites are well defined and wonderfully animated and the pitch graphics are highly detailed including observations such as muddy areas in the goalmouth on soggy pitches and a squeaky-clean surface on plastic pitches. The graphics and sound mix together extremely well and compliment play brilliantly.


Well, Brian, this will run and run. It is perfect for 'booting up' (groan!) whenever you fancy either a quick 10 minutes or a good hour or three. In years to come this won't be sitting on your shelf collecting dust, because you will be still playing it.


If you do not own Kick Off, go for this instead. If you do already own it or own Player Manager it is still well worth considering. This is the best footy game to have appeared on any machine and the beauty of the game is the fact that it just plays so damn well. Novices will enjoy it right from the start and it is surprising just how skilful a player can become after just a few short weeks.

Last year, here at Future Publishing, Kick Off inspired us to start a league which grew into a four-division affair with 32 players taking part - even people who had never played any game before! The league grew into a Cup tournament and hardly any work was done for months - the game actually became officially banned during working hours. Now there is talk of re-starting the whole thing again with Kick Off 2. You cannot get a much harder recommendation than that.

Kick Off 2 logo CU Amiga Screen Star


The original Kick Off could lay claim beng the most playable game ever programmed for the Amiga. If the man hours lost at EMAP Towers in playing Anco's footie simulator were added up, the management would probably react in that special way Vinnie Jones reserves for Paul Gascoigne.

Wisely, Din Dini & Co have skirted around producing a direct follow up to their classic. Instead they've given us Extra Time and Player Manager, a brilliant simulation which added a campaigning aspect to the original knock around. The time for a sequel can be put back no longer and, if you weren't sick enough of football already, hard on the heels of Italia '90 comes Kick Off 2.

What you can expect is a sort of amalgam of Extra Time and Player Manager, with a few new ideas thrown in. The idea has been to keep the gameplay basically the same, which seems wise enough. From the Option screen you can choose a bewildering array of circumstances under which to play your match, from the dreaded astro-turf of lovable Luton Town F.C., to a 'tactical', low speed option which transforms your team into a good impersonation of Sheffield Wednesday playing away from home.

The choice to play as either an individual player or the whole team is ported over from PM, but added to that is the ability for two players to co-operate on the same side. Personally, I've always found playing an individual player a bit of a pain as it's easy to lose track of where you are on the pitch and inadvertently making a blinding run straight into the main stand.

You can also pick your team from a squad, but this is rather undetermined by the fact that you can't actually find out what their vital stats are, although we are assured that their PM ratings of Stamina and Agility are still functioning somewhere underneath the surface.

Possibly the greatest innovation is the ability to load one of your favourite PM teams into the game and really find out if they're as good as you think they are by playing either another PM team or a computer generated opponent. This for me was the earlier game's only real weakness and is quite rightly corrected here.

The rest of the variations available are fairly cosmetic, you can design your own strip and some fairly vomit-inspiring colour clashes are possible. If you yearn to play Kick Off in lime green and puce diagonal stripes this is for you. There's a fairly basic league and cup championship, and the Wold Cup is thrown in for good measure - although for some reason all the players' names are English and Cameroon are crap. Don't go holding your breath for glorious technicolour winning screens either - there aren't any.

Most important, however, are the innovations on the pitch, apart from some nice minor details like the spots on the ball and muddy patches around the goal mouth on soggy pitches. Set pieces have been given a thorough going over. This may, or may not, appeal to you because you certainly cannot float a corner into the box any more and get it to land on your centre forward's bonce every time.

Hold the button down too long and the ball disappears into the crowd (or where the crowd would be if Anco had programmed them). Free kicks are even more nightmarishly complicated; a variation of joystick woggles can result in anything from a Stuart Pearce special or a very damp little toe punt, with the latter being much more common. This is very satisfying the one in a hundred times you hit a scorcher, but it'll take an awful lot of practise to ensure a better success rate.

The controls are a bit counter-intuitive and I think it's this aspect of Kick Off 2 which is the least successful. Still, when you do knock in a corking goal, you can use the new slow motion replay facility to play it again and if you're feeling particularly proud, record for posterity on a data disk.

When it comes to the crunch with a game like this it's the playability rather than the peripherals which decide whether it's a real classic or just another addition to the software mountain. Kick Off 2 scores highly on this front. The controls are, if anything, more responsive than they've ever been. More skilful play is certainly possible with the new additions, but what has been lost a little is the original games immediacy. It may be more authentic to watch your team wind down like they were playing a mid-table fixture on a wet Wednesday evening, but is it really more fun?

The more a simulator strives to imitate the sport it's based on the more this is likely to happen - the truth is no computer game is really like the sport it depicts. Fortunately, Kick Off 2 keeps true, for the most part, to the spirit of its predecessor. It may not be perfect, but no other footie game can touch it.

Kick Off 2 logo Zero Hero

Football. A game of two halves and many clichés. Duncan MacDonald was literally sick as a parrot when we told him to review kick Off Two (from Anco), but the lad did good in the end.

Amiga reviewDunc: In the tradition of football being a game of two halves, I'm going to do this review in two halves as well. The reason for this is that it's just possible that some readers won't have seen the original Kick Off. Yes, I know it sounds unbelievable, but you never know. (Skip this bit if you don't want to be bored by details you already know).

Right. You don't know what Kick Off is? Blimey! Where have you been? Stuck in a cave or something? Fair enough. Well kick Off, quite simply is the football game. It's unbelievably brilliant. Whenever any company brings out a new footie game, a reviewer's first question is always "Yes, but is it as good as Kick Off?" So if you want to buy a football game then your first choice has got to be Kick Off. Except now it doesn't. There's Kick Off Two, you see. Right, that's dealt with you. Let's go and join the others.

Okay. We all know what Kick Off is then. So how about the sequel? Well, for a start you can have four players. So Kick Off Two scores against Kick Off One in the first minute of the match. This multiple player option is the biz, it really is. You and a chum can play in the same team, either against the computer or against two other people.

It 's just as much fun playing in the same team with another person as it is head to head against them. There's sort of more onus on you not to cock things up. Plus there's the option to "Play in Position". It's pretty self,explanatory really. In Kick Off control switched about between the various players, but here you can opt to be, for instance, the scrum half (Wrong sport you prat. Ed)

The overhead view is always centred on the ball and the other players are given 'intelligence' by the computer. You can pass to them and they can pass to you. You get the idea (on the 'radar' shot your dot is slightly bigger than the other dots, so you know where you are). Then there's the extra difficulty levels, in the form of wind and pitch parameters. Four different wind speeds and four different pitches (wet, soggy, plastic and normal grass). Then of course, there's the full blown World Cup tournament option. You can re-live the whole event again, and this time take the most deserving team in victory. You know the one. Erm, America. And if you want to get into the strategy side of the game you can do that too - there's a facility to load teams and tactics from Player Manager.

What else, what else? There's so much bunged into the game it's actually quite hard to remember what I've left out. Oh yes, action replays. Want to watch that tackle/pass/goal again? No problem - plus you can actually save these action replays to disk and create a record of "Golden Goals" (or "Cocked Up Interceptions" or whatever and you can bore people silly with these replays).

Oh, the graphics in Kick Off Two have been tweaked a little bit. They're not remarkably better than the prequel though, just a little better - different pitch surfaces and the players are slightly more detailed. Oh, and there's something quite important that I forgot to mention, and it's that the goalkeepers are cleverer. They don't faff up so much.

All in all, it comes down to the important question of "So, if I already own Kick Off One, is there any point buying this?" and the answer? "No, It's crap!" Actually that was a little 'joke'. It isn't crap at all. It's brilliant. Yes. It is worth buying even if you already own the predecessor. So there you have it. Stop

Kick Off 2 logo Zzap! Sizzler

Anco, Amiga £24.95 (including World Cup '90 - £19.95 without)

The long awaited sequel of the 'Amiga Game Of 1989' (as voted by you) boasts a huge array of new options including an optional World Cup Tournament. As in the original, matches are played on an overhead view, scrolling pitch with a 'radar'-scanner showing the positions of off-screen players. Unlike most other football sims, the ball doesn't stick to players' feet for dribbling - it must be pushed along manually. As well as shooting, passing, heading and chipping, improvements to the control system allow you to swerve the ball and perform scissor-kicks.

Tackling is achieved by running into the front of the player in possession or by performing a sliding tackle. However, if mistimed, the latter can cause a foul: sometimes punished by a yellow or red card and, in the box, by a penalty kick. A new feature is the setpiece freekick which occurs when a player is fouled just outside the opposition's box. By moving the joystick with fire, several types of freekick can be attempted including stepping over the ball, passing to a nearby player or putting left/right bias on the kick. Aftertouch allows the ball to be swerved and dipped - useful for bending the ball around the wall of defensive players which automatically lines up.

If you score a great goal you can replay it at slow or normal speed and save it on a blank disk. Saved goals can even be edited to compile a 'Golden Goals' disk.

-Before a match you get to select your team members from the squad (including two subs which can be put on at any time). Starting tactics can also be chosen although these may be changed at any time during the match. You can choose to play either for the whole team (switching between players) or in position (controlling just one player).

For Single or International Friendly matches, up to four players can take part (one or two versus two) using a Microdeal joystick adapter. Alternatively, two players can team up against a computer opponent.

The game includes a Kick Off-style league of eight teams, knockout cup, and practice mode. There are options to change pitch type (affecting the behaviour of the ball), wind speed, match duration, and tactics (four can be chose from the eight available or others loaded in from Player Manager), and skill level (including one which allows you to load a team from Player Manager). The Kit Design option allow you to design your team's kit, choosing the strip style (plain, stripes, hoops, etc.) and colours.

Finally, the Special Events option allows you to load future data discs including the optionally built-in World Cup tournament. This has all 24 teams (in their correct groups), any of which can be player-controlled.

Phil King I loved the original so when I heard about a sequel I wondered how it could possibly be improved. Well, the great news is that somehow Dino Dini has managed to put all the best features of Kick Off, Extra Time and Player Manager (along with many new ones) into one game.
The basic high-speed arcade action of Kick Off has been retained but the sequel is a far more realistic game of football. The basic control system has been tweaked with optional aftertouch. A major improvement is the addition of setpiece freekicks: they're totally realistic with before- and aftertouch allowing infinite variety, and they also discourage 'professional' fouling just outside the box! Corner kicks have also been made more difficult (and realistic) by the power function. One of the most frustrating aspects of the original was when your computer-controlled goalie or throw-in taker would sometimes give the ball straight to the opposition, so the player-controlled goalkicks and throw-ins are very welcome.
Being a Player Manager fan, I appreciated the way teams and tactics created in the game can be loaded up for two-player games to settle arguments about who's got the best team. The inclusion of many other aesthetic options (I love creating flashy kit designs) and the optional World Cup tournament is the icing on the cake for the PERFECT football game.
Robin Hogg Although I'm not the best of footballers this is the best game I've seen this month. It goes without saying that the sequel to Phil's fave is by far and away the best footie game yet seen on a microcomputer. The core of the program (the actual football match itself) initially doesn't seem all that different from a Kick Off and Extra Time but once you experience the flexibility of taking free kicks, goal kicks and corners you quickly realise just how far advanced the sequel is over the original. As expected it plays brilliantly as a two-player game but now with a four-player mode it's out of this world. The Action Replay feature can quickly make friends into enemies as goal scorers relish their victory (and then have the nerve to save the goal to disk!).
What I want to know is, what happened to the promised animated linesmen and ref? And what about a country-specific league, or the FA Cup? But I guess I'm being very, very picky, Kick Off 2 is a great sequel and not just a revamp of the original. A big jump over a Kick Off- and a massive leap over all other football games around. I'm over the moon, Greavsie!
Scorelord There's no escaping the World Cup, with even Kick Off 2 coming with it - for an extra £5. Other additions include masses of useful stuff from saving replays to designing team uniforms - Phil's are particularly ghastly, a form of visual terrorism! But what about the game itself? Initially it seems very disappointing - not seeming that much different, other than being slower. However the more you play it, the better it gets. Simply blasting the ball down the pitch and relying on lightning reactions for a goal won't do anymore. Now you've got to slowly build up your moves - accurate passing and smart tactics are vital. All this means it's less of an arcade game, and much more of a football sim. I was a bit disappointed by this, until I started getting the hang of it. Then the game really came alive, with some great midfield action. Tackling, passing and dummying the goalie (who comes out almost as much as Columbia's goalie!), are all much important. There's also the much-appreciated ability to cripple the opposition's star player. FIFA might not like it, but I certainly enjoyed spilling a bit of blood! All in all, the best football game has got even better!

Kick Off 2... ..The Final Whistle logo

Ein wenig irreführend ist der Titel schon, denn weder pfeift man bei Anco aus dem letzten Loch, noch ist dies der Schlußpfiff für "Kick Off 2". Ganz im Gegenteil: Jetzt geht's erst richtig los!

Wenn es um Fußball am Amiga geht, herrscht unter den Fans seltene Einigkeit: "Kick Off 2" ist das Spiel der Spiele! Das weiß natürlich auch der Hersteller. Was liegt also näher, als die schöne Tradition der Zusatzdisketten auch hier fortzusetzen - schließlich konnte Anco mit "Extra Time" schon zu Zeiten von "Kick Off 1" einen glatten Heimerfolg landen. The Final Whistle ist also erst der Anfang, weitere Zusatzdisks sollen folgen.

Wie damals bei "Extra Time" wurden auch hier wieder zahlreiche kleine und großere Verbesserungen eingebaut. Es gibt vier neue Spielfelder: ein eisbedecktes in zartem Hellblau, ein braunes für zünftige Schlamm-schlachten, einen richtigen Bolzplatz mit unebenem Boden und last but not least die wohl berühmteste Grundfläche der Welt - der Wembley-Rasen.

Die Plätze sehen nicht nur alle unterschiedlich aus, sie spielen sich auch tatsächlich jeweils etwas anders. So ist der Ball auf dem winterlichen Eisfeld deutlich schneller, auf der Huckelpiste des Bolzplatzes kriegt man ihn nur schwer unter Kontrolle, usw.. Für die Realismusanhänger unter den Soccerfans wurde (endlich) eine Abseitsregel ins Spiel aufgenommen, die sich aber auch abschalten läßt. Im Zwei-Spieler-Modus hat der Teamkollege jetzt die freie Wahl, ob er sich als Feldspieler oder lieber als Torwart ins Geschehen stürzen möchte. Desweiteren kann man nunmehr auch Computer gegen Computer antreten lassen, falls man als "Player Manager" schnell und einfach neue Taktiken ausprobieren möchte. Außerdem wurden etliche Kleinigkeiten überarbeitet, vor allem was Einwürfe, Eckstöße und Torschüsse angeht; es gibt nun auch "Ballheber" und Fallrückzieher, bei den Mannschafts-Kits sind zwei neue Strampelanzüge dazugekommen und so weiter und so fort.

Die einzelnen Verbesserungen machen sich in erster Linie beim Spielen selbst bemerkbar (intelligentere Taktiken, mehr Varianten bei den Eckstößen, etc.), grafisch und soundmäßig hat sich dagegen nicht so schrecklich viel getan. Natürlich ist optisch alles noch ein bißchen hübscher geworden, aber es gibt auch Ausrutscher, z.B. sind die Schatten der Spieler immer grün, egal auf welchem Untergrund sie gerade herumtollen (sieht vor allem auf Eis reichlich seltsam aus...).

Die Anleitung ist in ordentlichem, das Game selbst leider nur in sehr mäßigem Deutsch. Und: Wer in den Genuß sämtlicher Features kommen will, braucht mindestens 1MB Speicher.

Auf eine Einzelwertung haben wir in diesem Fall verzichtet, da es hier ja letztlich doch nur um eine Ergänzung zu "Kick Off 2" und nicht um ein eigenständiges Spiel handelt. Soviel sei aber verraten: es wäre unter Garantie ein Hit dabei herausgekommen! Besonders das Preis/Leistungsverhältnis ist eine Wucht, da man für ca. 34,- DM monatelangen, um nicht zu sagen jahrzehntelangen Spielspaß serviert bekommt. Für wahre Kicker-Fans ist The Final Whistle also ein klarer Fall von "muß man haben"! (mm)

Der Nachschub rollt

Kick Off 2... ..Return to Europe logo

Habt Ihr noch ein bisßchen Geld in der Vereinskasse übrig? Immer raus damit, Ancos neueste Zusatzdisk zum Soccer-Suchtgame Nr. 1 kostet lediglich schlappe 25 Märker! Für diesen geradezu lächerlichen Betrag bekommt man tatsächlich eine wunderschöne, sorgfältig verpackte, einzelne Amiga-Diskette...

Obendrein ist noch eine Anleitung mit dabei, tja, und auf der Disk ist sogar was drauf - bloß leider nicht "Kick Off 3". Das wäre schon eher was gewesen, aber Anco will die Fußball-Junkies anscheinend noch eine Weile hinhalten und füttert sie solange mit allerlei Ergänzungen und Zusätzen. Ärgerlich ist das schon irgendwie, vor allem da es das letzte Mal bei "Winning Tactics" nur eine Handvoll Taktiken für's geld gab und die Rückkehr nach Europa kaum mehr zu bieten hat.

Wozu sollen wir also diesmal unser Sparschwein zur Schlachtbank schleppen? Nun, statt in der normalen Liga oder bei der Weltmeisterschaft mitzukicken, kann man sich hier an UEFA Cup, Europa Cup oder dem Wettebewerb der Pokalsieger beteiligen. Das war's dann auch schon ziemlich, wenn man mal davon absieht, daß der berühmt-berüchtigte Optionen-Wald kräftig durchforstet wurde.

Es gibt jetzt zwar insgesamt weniger Auswahlmöglichkeiten, das Programm ist dadurch aber auch übersichtlicher geworden. Neu ist in erster Linie, daß sämtliche Mannschaften nun auch bei einem Einzelspiel zur Verfügung stehen und daß es nur mehr einen einheitlichen Easy-Modus für das ganze Spiel (oder auch bloß den Torhüter) gibt. Außerdem wurden bei der Action auf dem Rasen einige Detailverbesserungen vorgenommen bzw. von anderen Zusatzdisks übernommen, was die Angelegenheit vielleicht um einen Tick spielbarer macht als zuvor. Nichts getan hat sich dagegen in punkto Installation: Nach wie vor heißt es, erst (Disk-) wechseln, dann spielen... (mm)