Come on have a go if you think you're hard enough...

Sensible Soccer logo Amiga Computing Gamer Gold

RENEGADE * 1/2 meg * £25.99 * Joystick * Out now

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!


Sensible Soccer logo

Oh joy of joys. A football game that is a pleasure to play. Not only is the on-screen action accessible, fast and playable, the attention to detail is also Wright (sic.) on the mark. The German team (called Germany and not West Germany) has Illinger in goal, the England team has Simon in the squad (well, nearly accurate). The whole game has a truly footballing feel to it.

This even extends to the in-game sound. Now this might seem a tad on the trivial side, but to hear what sounds like a fully-packed San Siro stadium during an AC versus Inter Milan derby really adds to the game.

You have everything going for you, from compressed air horns to fans yelling what sounds suspiciously like "Your fat fatherless child!" (this is the expurgated version by the way) if your team is doing anything wrong.

The gameplay itself is, and yes I know that comparisons are invidious but I have been waiting to say this in a review for years, as good as Kick Off. In two-player mode a real buzz of excited anticipation makes the on-screen match a true competition and not merely a struggle with the control system as is the case with many footy sims.

Can you kick it?
To be honest it is very difficult trying to find any criticisms of the game. But... Like Kick Off, the top-down view adds to the feeling of control. However, players are a little too small. Whether they have been coded at this is a design criteria open to question.

The other point that might just leave Sensible Soccer out of the initial squad for the Amiga hall of fame is the fact that trapping and turning with the ball is initially so difficult. There you go, hareing down the pitch like a genetic cocktail of Tony Daley, Stuart Pearce and Ryan Giggs when, well, you continue to go hareing down the pitch, over the bye-line, and into the raging crowd. While this is accurate (the strikers get no service as usual) its entertainment value is questionable. You really do have to be quick yourself in order to achieve anything.

The same can be said for the creation of interesting shots on goal. Basically the game plays like a beginner's version of Kick Off, with running in the middle of the park and blasting the ball being the favoured tactic. This having been said, Sensible Soccer still runs rings around most other football games.


Sensible Soccer logo

Let's be completely up front about it: this is the best two player game we've ever played (yes, better than Speedball 2), and easily the best footy game of the year.

You've waited. And waited. You've suffered the hype. You've read the 'reviews' of the half-finished demo version elsewhere. But now, Sensible Soccer really is finished, really is ready, and really is here in front of me as I type. No, really. And it's totally wonderful. Surprise surprise.

But first, the facts. Sensible Soccer gives you 100 (32 international, 64 Euro club) realistic teams (i.e. Germany are better than Iceland), each with 16 currently up-to-date players. You can change the names of the teams and players at will, as well as the colours and designs of the team strips, the colours of the players themselves, and even the colour of their hair.

Your chosen (or customised) team can play (depending on whether you're in club or international mode) in any of the three major European club competitions, a European superleague, the European Championships (which should be in progress as you read this), a knock-out international Euro Cup, a League Of Nations, a league or cup competition of your own design, or a simple friendly. If you like, you can even watch two computer-human players.

During play you can have an action replay at any point (normal or slow motion, and you get them automatically after goals, although you can switch this feature off if you want), and you can choose to save the replay into the optional end-game highlights sequence which replays up to 10 incidents from the previous game in chronological order and can be saved onto disk to impress your friends with at a later date.

Any time the ball goes out of play, you can call up your bench and make substitutions or change your formation (and for once, it makes a tangible difference), or simply exhort your team to desperate attack or defence. You can start a tournament, stop half-way through, play a couple of friendlies, start a completely different tournament, then stop and rejoin the first one again at the point you left it, without having to resort to saving at any time. There's more, but how much do you need?


Don't even think about any other footy game

Okay, still awake there? I know this sounds like Sensible wrote it themselves so far, but there's a reason. All the other footy games we've looked at recently (John Barnes, Striker, Euro Football Champ) have been fun in their own ways, but they've all shared a common flaw - having no depth whatsoever.
In John Barnes you get eight controlled sides of your choice play a friendly against each other and try to pick up some tactical tips.

There are seven different types of pitch to play on, which you can select manually, take randomly, or have accurately mapped to the time of year each game is taking place (so that, for example, in a league which starts in January - you can, of course, choose when you want it to begin - there'll be more icy pitches at the start, but as the league progresses into summer dry, hard pitches become more commonplace).

You can save custom team data of half-finished tournaments to disk at any time (save slots provided on the game disk for three sets of customised teams), and in competitions you can have up to 20 teams, any or all of which can be controlled by teams and one competition - you can complete the whole thing in a day and not be overly fussed about playing it again.
Striker gives you a single, even less sophisticated tournament or straightforward friendlies, and Euro Football Champ is the thinnest of the lot, with practically no structure at all beyond the matches themselves.

Sensible Soccer, however, is a game that will in all probability last as long as your Amiga does. In solo mode the difficulty is perfectly judged for a constant challenge (you can beat Holland in your first game if you're very good or very lucky, but a drubbing from San Marino is always a possibility however much you practice), but the game's biggest strength lies when you get a few chums together for a tournament (something that Striker and Euro Football Champ sadly lack), and with up to 20 players catered for most people won't have problems giving all their pals a game. (In fact, with the whole AMIGA POWER crew and all their friends all playing at once, there was still room for the entire staff of ST Format to join in).

If you ever exhaust all the possibilities of this game, contact The Guinness Book Of Records pronto, 'cos the chances are you'll be at least 140.


Sensible Soccer will last you as long as the Amiga does

THE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT
"Yes, yes, Stuart,", you all cry, "so we know you love it, but WHY, exactly?"
Well, it's like this. Everything that people used to say about Kick Off 2 is true, but it's true about Sensible Soccer. This is true instinctive control (sliding tackles, volleys, diving headers are all within a single touch of the fire button), this is true perfect playability, this is a true football simulation as well as being a fabulous game.

The single-touch-pixel-perfect passing makes the creation of beautiful flowing moves easier than falling out of a rowing boat off Copenhagen, and the scale of the graphics actually gives you a chance to use tactics, planning and skill. The constant and ever-changing crowd noise (the crowd actually react to events on the pitch in a realistic and geographically-sensitive manner) gives the game an atmosphere so close to the real thing that you'll find yourself completely immersed in it inside 60 seconds.

The goalkeepers are spot on too. They're computer-controlled and very good, but - and here's the crucial bit - they're still fallible, in that every now and again a speculative 40-yarder or a half-hit daisy-cutter will squirm out of their grasp or under their body. There's no simple exploiting or algorithmic weaknesses here, the best tactic is to rain in shots from all angles and ranges and try all sorts of different approaches - in fact, it's just like the real thing.

And if there's one thing that makes Sensible Soccer stand out from the crowd (and especially KO2), it's that - from the first kick to the end of the penalty shoot-out, this feels like real football, not like some crazy pinball game or a dull slog up and down the middle of the park. It takes what good points there are in the Kick Off games and expands infinitely upon them, adds the best bits of Speedball 2 and every other football game ever, and then executes the whole thing to a level only previously seen in Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker and F1 Grand Prix.

Even up to about a week before it was finally finished, I had doubts over whether this game was going to fulfil its promise. I was wrong. It's damn near perfect. Don't even think about buying another football game until you've got this one.


Sensible Soccer logo CU Amiga Screen Star

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.

NEW PRETENDER
Sensible Soccer is without doubt the most refreshing and playable representation of our national sport today. Although the players look like Mega-lo-Mania sprites in Adidas kits, new routines have been incorporated to separate the game from its Kick Off competition. Playability isn't the only improvement, though. The disk contains no less than nine different tournaments and 98 individual league and national sides to choose from. If you don't like what's included, you can also create your own teams or customise the existing ones, by altering the design of their home and away kits or even the colour of their hair.

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.

PLAYING PERFECTION
Sensible's pitch opts for the almost customary overhead view, and more is displayed onscreen than in, say, Kick Off and its sequel. This means that there's no need for an obtrusive scanner in the corner, and it also allows for some rather amazing midfield play with teams passing the ball quickly and accurately before punching the ball through the defence for an attack on goal. The sprites are small, but very effective with some great animation - in particular for the sliding tackles. The abundance of shots means that nine times out of ten you'll find a man with the long curling ball and the combinations of build ups and attacks are plentiful. There's nothing more satisfying than a five pass build up beginning in your own half, before smacking a long ball down the wing and skimming a curler between the goalie and the near post. Spectacular goals are frequent thanks to the diverse controls.

When not in possession of the ball, a player can slide in one direction and, by quickly moving the joystick another way, redirect the ball as soon as he makes contact. Short stabs on the firebutton give soft, ground level passes while keeping your finger held down produces a long punt. Move the stick in alternate directions or combinations and you'll be rewarded with lobs, chips, volleys, headers, trick shots and, of course, banana shot. The nicest thing about this, though, is that it all seems so natural and instinctive.

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.

DRAWBACKS
The game is not without its faults, though. The maximum time for a match is a mere ten minutes, and there isn't a clock displayed during play, so you have to wait for the ball to go off the pitch before it reappears. This throws up another hitch as the time displayed is not real-time, but a calculated representation and percentage of the full ninety minutes played in a real game. Therefore during some matches one minute of actual play is more than nine minutes on the clock.

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.


INSTANT REPLAY The game features a novel match highlights feature. The computer automatically saves all the goals scored during a match into its memory and every replay you decide to capture by pressing R. At the end of the game, you can then play them back to your heart's content and revel in your 'Brazillian Brilliance'.
IN ALL WEATHERS Matches can be played over the period of a year and, depending what season you start in, the weather will be adjusted accordingly. You can play on muddy, normal, soft, water-logged, dry, parched or even icy surfaces and all will have a direct effect on the ball's speed and reaction to touch.
SOUNDING OUT One thing lacking in most Footy games is the atmosphere generated by a live crowd. In an attempt to recreate the sense of 'being there' the Sensible lads have devoted a whole disk to crowd sounds and noises. These vary from match to match and depend on the team you're playing. A Caribbean side's fans will have the sound of drums emanating from their speakers, whilst others will set of firecrackers and chat the old favourite such as 'ere we go, 'ere we go and 'you'll never walk alone'.

Sensible Soccer logo Zero Mutt's Nuts

Sensible Software/Renegade/Amiga,ST/£25.99

This game is the dog's. There's a wonderful feel to this game that all the classic games seem to have - like EA Hockey on the MD or Super Tennis on the SNES. The sort of game that makes you get a silly smile when you first have a go, the sort that makes you think: "The more I play this, the more I'll like it".

There are loads of national and European clubs to choose from, with full squads of players. The level of detail is very good - there's a smart automatic action replay, and you get the 10 best highlights after each match. The defence even forms walls at free-kicks in dangerous positions.

It's great fun to play, and the movement of the ball and nicely-defined players is spot on. Rather than the pitch seeming to move around the ball, like in Kick Off, the ball moves and the pitch moves to frame the action.
You can also see more of the pitch at once than in most top-down viewed games.

The sound is great - the football sounds like a football being kicked, the crowd roars and groans and, if the action gets particularly exciting, even performs Mexican waves.

Well sensible. In fact, bleedin' fab.


Sensible Soccer V1.1 92/93 Season logo

Renegade * £25.99/* £4.95
(* If you send back original Disk One plus your registration card to Renegade)

This new version of the game that wowed thousands comes with the new back-pass rule included. In gameplay this means that, unlike many a UK goalie, the keeper will not pick up the ball. In fact he can be used as an outfield player if, as John Hare of developers Sensible Software tells me, "You're a bit clever about it".

Along with the goalies' new outfield role comes the fact that this last line of defence is now a great deal better than it was in the original game. I am also told yellow and red cards are in effect, with a sending off on the cards for professional fouls. Either I've been far too gentlemanly in my behaviour, or the refs I was getting were far too kind. ('First time this season' etc etc).

You can't trap a ball, which means that play is fast and one-touch a la AC Milan or Swindon. You either get used to this or you don't, and I still haven't quite managed it.


Sensible Soccer V1.1 92/93 Season logo

Von wegen Winterpause: Ins Amiga-Stadion sind gerade zwei komplett runderneuerte Soccer-Games (Bundesliga Manager Professional Update & Sensible Soccer V1.1.) eingelaufen, die zum Besten zählen, was Fußballspielern und -managern heutzutage passieren kann!

Die neue Rückpaßregel findet man jetzt genauso vor wie gelbe und rote Karten, für die Anfänger wurden ein "Versagerturnier" und eine "Trostliga" mit eigenen Teams eingerichtet. Die "Intelligenz" der Kicker ist deutlich gestiegen, was besonders beim Abstoß zu merken ist.

Ganz im Zeichen von mehr Realismus darf man hier von einem als Verteidiger eingesetzten Stürmer keine Glanzleistungen erwarten, dasselbe gilt für andere Fehlbesetzungen. Außerdem sind nun 100 originale europäische Mannschaften vertreten, wobei alle zwischenzeitlich erfolgten politischen und fußballerischen Umstellungen berücksichtigt wurden. Zum Beispiel spielt Lothar Matthäus jetzt für den FC Bayern, Leeds United ist englischer Meister, und in der Länderliste tauchen Kroatien, Litauen etc. auf.

Auch Grafik, Sound und Spielbarkeit haben sich um einen Tick verbessert - Altmeister "Kick Off 2" muß um seinen Titel bangen, selbst wenn man hier einige Features vergeblich sucht, die es dort längst gibt (Abseits-Regel, Wind-Option, Vier-Spieler-Simultanmodus, 2 x 45 Minuten Spieldauer). Ein grobes Foul ist schließlich, daß hierzulande nur die überarbeitete Vollpreis-Version angeboten wird, während sich die englischen Soccer-Fans über einen preisgünstigen Update-Service freuen dürfen... (mm)


Sensible Soccer V1.1 92/93 Season logo

The best got better. Now we'll never get any work from Stuart.

Morning, Stuart.
IT IS THERE! WHAT A GOAL!
Oh, is that the new version of Sensible Soccer?
FANTASTIC! DID YOU SEE THAT ONE?
Could you stop shouting please?
WHAT? YOU ARE KIDDING! A YELLOW CARD FOR THAT?
Mark, could you make Stuart be quiet?
I NEVER TOUCHED HIM! OH NO, WATCH OUT FOR THE FREE KICK!
Oh look, Estonia just equalised. That is so very interesting.
SHUT UP! THERE ARE NO EASY GAMES IN WORLD FOOTBALL!
(Bring bring) Stuart, I think that is your phone.
OH, WHAT A VOLLEY! TWO-ONE! UP YOURS, ESTONIA! LET'S SEE THAT ONE MORE TIME! OH YES! YES!
(Bring bring) Hello, AMIGA POWER. No, I am afraid he is not here at the moment. Can I take a -
AND HE IS CLEAN THROUGH AGAIN AND HE IS - NO! WHAT A SAVE! CORNER!
No, no, that is just, er, the radio. Hang on a minute. I will turn it down. (Clout)
HE FLOATS ONE IN, A DIVING HEADER - GOOAALLL!
Yes, I'll get him to call you as soon as he calms dow - er, comes in. Bye.
AND THE SCOTS HAVE REALLY GOT THE PSEUDO-RUSSIAN LOSERS ON THE RACK NOW! A CROSS, A GOAL!

So, you will be giving this a pretty good review then? Lots of stuff about the new goalkeepers and how they can turn the ball round the post for corners and stuff, and how the new passback rule's been implemented, and how the computer teams' skill levels have been tweaked upwards for a tougher challenge, and how there are new custom teams, and how the game has got lots of up-to-date options like the chance to play the World Cup Qualifying groups, and how the red and yellow cards that quite a few people complained about the lack of in the original game have been implemented this time round 9complete with extra crowd samples), and how it is just generally an even more fabulous all-round recreation of the true feel of football, right down to the unpredictable way that you can thump Italy away in one match, only to get a 6-2 home drubbing from Portugal or lose to a breakway goal from Malta in the very next one, and all that kind of thing.

In fact, I should not be surprised if you were to tentatively suggest that with all these improvements this might, in fact, just possibly be the best Amiga game of all time, as our readers voted it in last month's Readers All-Time Top 100. After all, you do seem to be having a good time over there.

NO WAY! YOU CANNOT SEND HIM OFF FOR THAT! NOW THERE IS A HOLE IN THE WALL, AND - ARGH! FOUR-TWO! HOW COME THE GOALKEEPERS NEVER EVER SAVE FREE-KICKS?
Oh God, I am getting a headache now.
COME ON REF, SURELY THAT IS A PENALTY? YES! IT MUST BE FIVE! IT IS!
I think it might be an idea if the rest of us took an early lunch, Mark.
AND IT IS ALL OVER! WHAT A WIN! LOOK AT THESE HIGHLIGHTS!
I think you could be right, Tim.


Sensible Soccer V1.1 92/93 Season logo CU Amiga Super Star

Veteran football hooligan, Steve Merrett, slides his tackle towards Sensible Software's update of what is commonly-regarded as THE football game.

NEW TESTAMENT
It's a testament to Sensible Soccer's supreme playability that it was the only game capable of knocking Anco's Kick 0ff II from its position as the ultimate footy sim. However, as is always the case, the best could have been better, and whilst Sensible Soccer outflanked Anco's aging star in terms of playability, realism, and graphical finesse, its goalies were veritable Helen Kellers and it completely ignored fouls, red cards, and bookings. Time restrictions could have been blamed as Renegade were keen to get Sensible out in time for the European Championships, but even without these features, the Sensi boys did good.

So what's new? Well, all the aforementioned features have been added and the whole game tweaked and... er... oh yeah, for some reason Leeds Utd have been added (presumably the game didn't sell up there or something).

Thus, after slamming the disk in the drive I prepared for what again should have been the ultimate footy experience. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the minor modifications the Sensible lads have added have breathed new life into what was already a legend in its own lifetime. Although the presentation screens boasts new teams in the custom league (including one called 'Look, Mr Taylor!'), it isn't until a dirty tackle is attempted or a shot fumbled towards the keeper that things start happening. Whilst the Ref doesn't actually appear on-screen as he did in the Anco classic, his omnipotent powers become apparent as he dishes out tiny yellow and red cards to offenders - and if a player receives the latter, he duly leaves the field with his head bowed!

GOAL FINGER...
In addition, if the goalies of the original were akin to those in the Vauxhall Conference League, V1.1's 'keepers are a real step up - to the second division at least. My only real gripe with the first Sensi Soccer was that many a match was lost due to the goalie farting about doing nothing in particular whilst a long and slow ball drifted into the back of the net. Now, however, not only do they use a little more savvy, but they can also nudge the ball from the goal if they can't hold on to it - and they even get up in time for a second chance as your opponents rush in for another crack! Although they still make the odd mistake and often let really dumb goals in, the addition of these enhanced 'keepers is the real saving grace of this updated version and ensures that the games are real end-to-end affairs which keep the players on their toes.

I really cannot praise this update highly enough. Simply by conceding that the original wasn't perfect and actually doing something about it both Renegade and Sensible have scored well on my 'caring people' scale. However, whereas past enhanced versions of games (Arkanoid, Xenon, et al have been minor remixes of old favourites the additions made here are genuinely to the game's benefit. If you are one of the few sad individuals who didn't buy Sensible Soccer first time round then do so now - they don't come any better than this. And I have a feeling that Renegade are going to be swamped with upgraders, too.


WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE The enhancements made to Sensible leave us wondering where they could go from here. When Anco released Kick 0ff II, Refs, free kicks, and aftertouch had been added, but between the original Sensi and V1.1 these ideas have already been covered. The sequel could feature players who cry when they get sent off before launching on a short-lived pop career, but as far as on-field action goes Sensible have it covered.

Sensible Soccer V1.1 92/93 Season CD32 logo CD32 Amiga Format Gold

Renegade * £24.99 * Out now

Sensible Soccer. the best computer game ever? Of course it is. After shifting 175,000 copies on the Amiga alone, Sensi has hit the consoles in a big way and now it is available on CD32.

It is basically the 92/93 season version with red and yellow cards and the new back pass rule, ported from floppy. The first discernible difference is the change in music from the Captain Sensible funky tune to a more mellow South American rhythm. The game itself? Well, it is as gorgeous as ever.

Small sprites, overhead pitch view, hundreds of teams and piles of options including tactics, weather variations and different competitions. Oh, and absolutely fantastic, intuitive gameplay. One oversight is the disappearance of block players from the teams. They appear on the team sheets but unfortunately turn white when entering the field of play. A minor oversight perhaps, but annoying all the same (lose three per cent and do not pass go). Using the joypad takes some getting used to, but you can use joysticks if you wish. If you have got a CD32, you must have this game.


Sensible Soccer V1.1 92/93 Season CD32 logo CD32

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 Geschäft, oder? (rl)


Sensible Soccer v1.2. International Edition logo Amiga Format Gold

Renegade 071-481 9214 * Upgrade for £8 * Out now - limited edition.

Well, the rest are mere contenders, aren't they? This is the one. Fast, silky smooth and a pailful of playability - tremendous, Desmond.

Included are all the teams participating in the World Cup and updated club sides (from the start of 93/94 season). You can enter the World Championship, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the World Cup, you get referees who waggle their fingers admonishingly.

The gameplay remains reassuringly simple and although the press release claims that it's been 'tweaked', it's diffiuclt to tell quite where. Maybe the goalies are a bit better - anyway, if it's not broken, don't fix it. We are noth worthy.


Sensible Soccer v1.2. International Edition logo

Von den neu zur WM erschienenen oder extra dafür aufgebohrten Fußballspielen zählt "Sensi" zu den klaren Favoriten - doch wie in der sportlichen Wirklichkeit steht der Sieger erst ganz zum Schluß fest!

Etwas voreilig kürten englische Kollegen von uns die sensible Bolzerei bereits zum besten Soccergame aller Zeiten, und in puncto Spielbarkeit liegen sie damit gar nicht mal sooo verkehrt. Allerdings läuft sich mit Electronic Arts' "FIFA International Soccer" am PC gerade ein mächtiger Konkurrent warm, dessen anstehende Konvertierung die Rangverhältnisse möglicherweise wieder gründlich durcheinanderwirbelt...

Die Programmierer scheint diese Situation aber nicht besonders beunruhigt zu haben, denn die vorgenommenen Verbesserungen gegenüber dem Original kann man an einer Hand abzählen: Bei Fouls zückt jetzt ein richtiger Schiedsrichter den bunten Karton, und natürlich wurde ein WM-Modus eingebaut, der jedoch ohne Qualifizierungsorgien auskommt - auf Wunsch darf man sich seine Kandidaten sogar frei unter den 100 vorhandenen Teams aussuchen. Abgesehen vom überarbeiteten Intro war's das auch schon mit den positiven Überraschungen, zudem sind ein paar der alten Ärgernisse immer noch nicht ausgeräumt worden. Wer also z.B. ein "hoffnungsloses" Match beim Stand von 1:4 via Escape-Taste verläßt, wird vom Computer mit einem Endstand von 0:5 bestraft!

In der Summe rechtfertigen die Unterschiede kaum die acht Pfund (ca. 20,- DM), welche Sensible-Besitzer für das Update einschicken müssen. Der Neupreis wurde mit knapp 60 Bällen dagegen fair kalkuliert, schließlich ist Sensible Soccer ja trotz allem ein hervorragendes Fußballspiel. (mm)


Sensible Soccer v1.2. International Edition logo CD32 Amiga Format Gold

Next up is Sensible Soccer International Edition (Renegade, 071-481 9214, £19.99), a game which needs little introduction. In gameplay terms, it's the same as the last version but all the World Cup teams are now included and a referee appears, liberally brandishing red and yellow cards.

Oh, and all the club teams have been updated too. But there's no Leeds United this time - you fools, take off 47% and be grateful it wasn't more.

Seriously, this is as playable a computer game as there has ever been and at £19.99, it's a bargain. If you have the original and wish to update to this version, you can do so for only eight nicker.


Sensible Soccer v1.2. International Edition logo CD32

Renegade, £24.99

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 Amiga, 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.