Soccer Kid logo Amiga Computing Gamer Gold

It is five minutes to kick-off, the crowd are busy doing the wave and Soccer Kid is trying his bootlaces. Join me now as we go live to the studio.

"Well good afternoon and welcome from me, Jimmy Hill... "

"... and me, El Tel'. I am a geezer and thick as two short planks, but I love Tottenham' Venables."

"Yes, thank you Terry. Anyway you join us just five minutes from the kick off of the big review of the new boy, Soccer Kid. Now Terry, what do you make of it?"

"I will make a mess of it like always. But, the fans... the fans love me. 'Ere did you know I writ Hazel, made Nicholas Ball an 'ero... for a bit?"

"Yes, but what about the kid whose name is on everyone's lips at the moment?"

"Naah, Sugar he will take me alive... and the players they love me, Vinny and Sammy and the big lad at the back and there is Vinny and where were we?"

"Err. Soccer Kid. Now I think my experience in Saudi where I creamed a right wad off my personal friend the Emir has taught me absolutely diddly. But that is another story."

"It is a game of two halves and it is normally at this point where we disagree and ramble on each one other aimlessly without coming to any conclusion.. what do you say Tel?"

"I could not disagree more big chin. Did you know I was born in the Smoke without even a pair ofboots to my name and now I am an emprasar... empros... empra... self employed and loaded?"

"Yes indeed Tel, now where is my old wooden Thunderbird mate, Alan? I was the best centre back in the universe."

"Hanson? What is that? Still in make-up? Tch, it does not surprise me, he wars more war paint than Bet Lynch."

"Anyway, from me and Tel it is over to John Matson whose down on the touch line... John... John?"

"Well, actually readers, it is not the incomparable Mr Matson, but I figure you realised that already. Anyway, what about the real issue at hand (or foot) - Soccer Kid? Strap your shin pads on, pull up your socks and let us dribble together down the metaphorical wing of a review."

Like most dwellers in the land of home entertainment, I have been waiting for what seems like an eternity for a glimpse of this little 32-panelled beauty. Finally, after the best part of 12 months of cartoons strip build-up, Soccer Kid is set to volley his way right into the back of your net-emblazoned monitors.

Basically, it goes something like this. The year is 1994 and the World Cup finals from the good ol' US of A are in progress.

England have not qualified. Scotland have, but have decided it will be cheaper if they buy one-week return tickets because once they have been outclassed by the Samoans they will never win their group.

Anyway, it is actually Finals day and a capacity crowd waits with baited breath for the ref's whistle. All around the world, satellites beam pictures to countless homes. In one such home, in one such front room glued to one such TV sits Soccer Kid. Meanwhile, high above the stratosphere in deep space a thoroughly nasty alien pirate, Scab, scans for trophies of great value to add to his collection.

You can well imagine Graham Taylor attempting this method to get his mitts on a trophy. Let us face it, it is as good an idea as any we have seen yet from our master tactician.

Scab picks up a signal on his equipment as it scans over planet Earth and oh no, it is the World Cup. Salivating profusely, the alien materialises into the American sunshine to see the most wanted footballing jewel glinting in the brightness. Suddenly, the stadium is plunged into darkness, the crowd are aghast, but just as quickly as the inky blackness envelopes everyone, the light returns. As people rub their eyes to re-accustom themselves to the light, they are struck dumb with horror to find the gold statuette is gone.

High above the clouds, a greedy Scab clutches the cup with a sweaty tentacle. But during a momentary lapse of concentration he manages to collide with an asteroid.

This sends the Cup spinning back to Earth, but unfortunately it is shattered into five pieces, each segment landing in a different continent.

Watching avidly on his TV set, Soccer Kid is mortified at the ensuing events and sets off to find the broken pieces and return them, and thus save the day.

Now all that must have seemed a really huge build-up, but the fact is this product is worth it. Yes indeedy, Krisalis have really done something this time.

Normally one would follow some kind of formula before passing judgement on a piece of software. Not in this case though, because it has to be said now - Soccer Kid is awesome.

After a nice introduction it is straight to the menu. Here there is a really nice touch because you can choose the kit in which you embark on your world trip.

It makes sense - choose the Arsenal kit and take on the mantle of Tony "ee-oor" Adams and you will get nowhere. Alternatively, slip into a silky Villa (ahem) kit and romp through the levels.

Object of the game is to guide our hero (who is like a cross between Sport Billy, Marine Boy and the Coca-Cola kid) through levels to find soccer cards. Collect all the cards and you qualify for a bonus screen in which a piece of the trophy lurks.

UNIQUE
This in a lot of ways sounds like oh, so many console-esque platform romps and I would need to good sharp kick up my split casey if I drew such a cruel comparison. The main reason for this is that the Kid is undoubtedly unique. In most titles of this genre it is a simple case of guiding you hero from A to B, jumping and bashing. In Soccer Kid, success depends on how you use the Kid's ball skill. Killing baddies or reaching ledges can often be down to utilising one of the many tricks our miniature Maradonna is capable of. It is for this reason that the Kid is so special.

Some of the tricks need you to be fairly dextrous and take some learning. This makes SK really addictive - believe me it is highly pleasurable when you pull off a bike kick or a flashy back heel.

Once you have grasped some of the tricks (and there is a tutorial mode to help you) it is off on a saga of soccer-skilled action. Each of the level is different and there being 28 in total, it is quite a handful.

These change as you travel from your native England down through Italy over to Russia into Japan finally tricking your way through the States ending up at the Final.

The backdrops are beautifully drawn and the screen scrolling is a veritable parallaxing paradise. You can tell that a large amount of time and thought has been taken, paying attention to detail and this really comes across in the standard of the graphics. Whether you are back-heeling in a Baltic battleship or volleying in Venice, everything is well on the ball.

There is also plenty of humour involved in matters as well. Some of the baddies like Gareth the rugby player of the Italian opera singer Paverelli are very silly indeed.

Also, there are loads of secret levels and pick ups like pseedy boots to be found in chests which are littered throughout the levels. There are too card and trick bonuses to get your header around.

In the sound department, everything is absolutely Wembley as well. The tunes are beefy and vary through the different stages and for once you are not reaching for the volume knob to sack some cheesy tune.

Overall, the boy with the ball skill is going to score a triple hat-trick in the popularity stakes. He is awesomely animated, extremely playable and highly addictive.

So with seconds remaining on the click, it is Soccer Kid 10, other games of its ilk 0. The crowd are gonna live this flashy little Pele fellah. He oozes talent and personality, and I can see in years to come a career in TV doing holiday shows just like the loveable Mr Lineacre. Honestly footy fans, Soccer Kid is gonna having you doing keep-ups into extra time. It is a winner.


Soccer Kid logo Amiga Format Gold

It was every boy's dream to play for Rotherfield Tuesday. They played football as it should be played. Unlike deadly rivals Shefferham United who, cynically guided by manager Harry Liquorice, intimidated their opponents. Young Trevor Jenkins dreamed of playing for Tuesday.

The boy shouted to his Mum: "Don not call me Trevor. I am Soccer Kid and don't you forget it".

"But Trevor love, you cannot go through life with the name Soccer Kid. Folk'll laugh at you," said his Mum gently. She had been through all this a thousand times before.

"I'm gonna play for Rotherfield Tuesday and be rich and famous, and then win t' World Cup," continued Trevor stubbornly.

"But son, your Dad has signed you on with Shefferham United, the West Riding giants. Don't you remember, that nice Harry Liquorice came round last week, said he'd seen you play for the school team, brought you a nice box of sweets. Now run along, there's a good lad. Go and watch the World Cup on the telly - those nice Argentinians are playing Chile".

Trevor could never make her understand. He was born to be Soccer Kid, not plain Trevor Jenkins. And now his dad has gone and signed him for United. Things could not possibly get worse. Slumped on the settee, Trevor watched the fouling Johnny Foreigner's arguing with the referee and kicking their way around the park. Just like United, thought Trevor miserably.

We was robbed
Suddenly, the camera zoomed in on the gleaming World Cup itself. Out of the corner of his eye, Trevor noticed a trophy-hoarding alien hovering above the Earth intent on snatching the greatest prize of all. A laser beam shot out of the sky and lifted the trophy heavenwards. Trevor watched in disbelief as the airborne trophy collided with a passing asteroid scattering the great cup across the globe. Undeniably, it was an unlikely scenario but the youngster could not dispute what he had seen before his very eyes.

Trevor only half heard the commentator talking about the 'remarkable turn of events at the stadium'. Here was his calling, the world was depending on him. And he knew that he could kill two birds with one stone - save the World Cup, and impress Francis Trickie, the Rotherfield Tuesday manager. In the wink of an eye, Trevor changed into his best football kit and became Soccer Kid - World Cup saviour.

"Don't be late for your tea love," shouted Trevor's Mum as he dashed out of the front door with his football tucked under his arm.

"I'm not Trevor Jenkins, I'm Soccer Kid" he exclaimed with glee as he hit the streets of Rotherfield, in search of the clues that would eventually lead him to the other side of the world. As he pounded along the pavement, such was his control over the ball it seemed almost as if it were tied to his foot by a piece of string. A shimmy, a feint and a glorious strike saw him safely past a skateboarder and a dangerous cyclist. "Easy," he thought, "I will have that World Cup back in America in one piece before you can say Borussia Moenchengladbach". Little did Trevor know that at this stage just how perilous an adventure it would become.

"Rotherfield today, and the world tomorrow," shouted the boy-wonder with fervour that bordered dangerously on religious fanaticism. Now it is not for us to scoff at a fellow who believes he is Soccer Kid but the youngster does have some great skills to back up his claim to be the 'Chosen One'. Backheels, overhead kicks, you name it, the lad can do it and he will need to use his full range to defeat the opposition.

'Remember to check the information points young Trevor, sorry I mean Soccer Kid'. It was almost as if an invisible voice was guiding him. 'The secret to finding the parts of the trophy is to collect the football cards along the way'. There it was again. Trevor stood still for a moment and listened to the voice. 'Look out for that bulldog and that big geezer with the spanner you idiot'.

That London
Rotherfield was soon a distant memory as he headed through the countryside towards London>After some minor skirmishes with farmers and a few animals, and one particularly nasty incident with a plough, Soccer Kid arrived in London.

Trevor was so engrossed he had forgotten about impressing the Tuesday boss Francis Trickie. But Mr Trickie would have been impressed with the way Soccer Kid took out an interfering tourist with a delightful ball through the channels before collecting a card on a double decker bus - a football card, not a yellow card.

Italy next and time to show those Ancient Romans a thing or two about the sweeper system, before knocking a couple of Jimmy Hill look-a-likes off their scooters at the seaside. After evading some impressive man-marking in Russia, a speeding Tokyo train, and a terrible tackle by a mad professor in a Japanese hardware stockroom, it was time for America - the last leg.

Eng-ger-land, Eng-ger-land
With confidence high, Soccer Kid rode a challenge through the Wild West, danced along a California beach before returning the World Cup to New York just in time for the Final where England beat Brazil 24-0.

The phone rang at 8am. "Trevor love, Francis Trickie is on the phone, says he wants you to play for the Tuesday on Saturday," called Soccer Kid's Mum. Trevor awoke from a deep, deep sleep. A boy's dream or one of the best Amiga games of the year?Postscript: We apologise for our reviewer's glib attitude to the way Trevor skipped across the continents. Please remember, Trevor, sorry, Soccer Kid, is a super hero. You are not. It will take you a year and a bit to finish this handsome platformer. It is very difficult and even the early levels are stout challenges.


Soccer Kid logo Amiga Joker Hit

Lange Zeit reichte Krisalis die spritzigen Plattformen für Fußballfans nur als Demo auf Messen herum, man wollte es wohl spannend machen. Anhand der Endversion löst sich die Spannung jetzt in Wohlgefallen auf!

Was bereits für die (andernorts etwas voreilig getestete) Vorabversion namens "Football Kid" galt, gilt für das endlich fertiggestellte Endprodukt doppelt und dreifach: Grundsätzlich ist Soccer Kid nichts weiter als ein hübsch gemachtes Standard-Hüpfical mit Plattformen und Sammel-Items - wenn der Held hier nicht seine Gegner mattsetzen würde, indem er mit einem Fußball Flachschüsse, Fallrückzieher oder Kopfbälle über den Screen zischen läßt...

Die originelle Mixture aus Jump & Run und Sports erstreckt sich über 30 Spielabschnitte, die sich auf fünf verschiedene Länder verteilen, und kann selbstredend mit einer Vorgeschichte aufwarten: Während 1994 alle Welt vor der Glotze hockt, um das WM-Finale in Los Angeles zu sehen, entführen Alien den Pokal aus dem Stadion, zerdeppern die Schüssel in fünf Teile und verstreuen sie über England, Italien, Japan, Rußland und die USA. Kann ein wahrer Fußballfan einen derartigen Frevel tatenlos mitansehen? Er kann nicht, weshalb unser Held nun die je sechs Levels eines Landes nach dem Tophäen-Puzzle abgrast. Dabei sind immer zwei Abschnitte thematisch zusammengefaßt, dann folgt eine Anzeigentafel mit Scores für sämtliche Aktionen, ehe es in der nächsten Spielstufe weitergeht.

Bevor man das Land wechseln darf, ist stets noch ein dicker Endgegner zu "beballern" - in Italien muß die Pille etwa einem fetten Opernsänger vor den Wanst geknallt werden, während in japan einen ebenfalls nicht gerade schlanken Sumoringer gebolzt wird.

Kaum zu glauben, auf wieviel grafische Abwechslung man bei dieser Action-Quest stöst: Unterschiedliche Hintergründe und Gegner geben sich hier förmlich die Klinke in die Hand, das Repertoire reicht von Bauarbeiten und Farmern (England) über Motorradfahreer und aggressive Kellner (Italien), verrückte Gymnastiklehrer und Kapitäne (Rußland), nervige Professoren und Roboter (Japan) bis hin zu amerikanischen Rappern und Alligatoren.

Wer seine Energie beisammenhalten willt, sollte während der horizontal scrollenden Wanderung aber auch auf tiefe Schluchten, spitze Pflöcke und einsturzbefährdete Brücken achten. An Extras finden sich z.B. Fressalien für das Punktekonto bzw. Scoreabhängige Zusatzleben, Fußballerbilder und Schatzkisten; wer einen der Boni liegengelassen hat, darf jederzeit umkehren um, ihn zu holen.

Die etwas gewöhnungsbedürftige Sticksteuerung erfordert Einarbeitung, doch binnen kurzem ist es sogar möglich dden Ball als Trampolin zu benutzen. Überhaupt ist das Gameplay ausgereift, jede nichst so schwierige Stelle läßt sich mit Geschick und der richtigen Taktik ohne Energieverlust meistern. Zusammen mit der fein animierten Optik, den abwechslungsreichen Musikstücken und vielen Soundeffekten ergibt das nicht mehr und nicht weniger als eines der besten Amigagames des Jahres! (C. Borgmeier)


Soccer Kid logo

There's top-class footie action in this gorgeous platformer, firmly pitched at folks who enjoyed Arabian Nights. Or anyone who didn't, for that matter. Or anyone sort of inbetween.

Nice to see the hardware being used for once, anyway. After a spate of games not recognising the presence of a second drive, here's a game that recognises up to three extra ones (the game comes on four disks), and extra memory as well, so that if you've got some ludicrously expanded six meg A1200 or something, you can load the whole game into memory in one go and never have to access any of the disks ever again.

It is ridiculous that I should even be having to point this out in 1993, but since it's still the exception rather than the rule, it's got to be done. Brownie points aplenty to Krisalis, then.

But on with the show. Space aliens have stolen the World Cup (oh god). Hilariously, though, they crashed into an asteroid while making their escape, and the World Cup fell back to Earth, albeit broken into five pieces. Strange gravitational quirks (or something like that, probably), however, caused each piece to land in a different country. (Is it just me or do game plots really depress you? Yeah, thought so, it's just me. Ah well).

Keen footie devotee Soccer Kid takes on the mantle of the Pickles of his generation (unnecessarily elitist gag for veteran football supporters there, but I'm not sorry - 9^% or our readers are male, and if you're a boy and you don't like football there's something wrong with you, so nyah boo sucks), and decides to rescue the trophy himself before the USA World Cup 94 tournament becomes even more of a disaster than it's going to be anyway. Naturally, the inhabitants of the five countries he's going to have to travel through (namely England, Italy, Japan, Russia and America) aren't too chuffed about the violation of their borders, and etc etc.


You have to think about every baddie you clobber

But Soccer Kid doesn't just beat up the inter-continental bad guys with a baseball bat, or zap 'em with a laser gun, or even jump on their heads. Oh no. Soccer Kid is armed in a different and perhaps more plausible way - he's got a football. Not only that, but he's got a whole armoury of special footballing-type moves to use in conjunction with said weapon, including headers, overhead kicks and, er, other ones as well.

Now whole taking out the baddies with your football in various interesting ways is very novel and cute, it's also a bit on the fiddly side much of the time - you have to stop, line up your shot, get into trick shot mode and then actually do it.

This all looks great and stylish and everything, but it can really slow the paco of the game right down on occasion - sometimes when you're zipping along, you'd give anything just to be able to jump on a baddie's head and sort him out there-and-then without a load of hanging around.

In fact, this is probably my biggest gripe with the entire game - what's the point in doing a fast-moving game with super-speedy super-slick-scrolling, when you hardly ever get to go at full tilt? It annoyed me in Sonic The Hedgehog (damn! Sneaked up on me, sorry!), and it annoys me here

COMPARE AND CONTRAST
Actually, now that I come to mention the blue spiky one, I'm suddenly struck by an unexpected familiarity. (Yeah, I know, this is a stupid idea, we're all sick of Amiga games being compared to Sonic, especially ones like Zool which aren't anything like it at all in any real sense, but I've started so I'll finish).

While Soccer Kid doesn't really feel like any other Amiga game, it occurs to me it's more similar to STH than you might imagine. They've got very similar pacing, some of the same power-ups (especially the speedy boots, although at least here they make you invulnerable for a while so you get a bit of a chance to use them properly, instead of just running helter-skelter straight into the first baddie in your path), and some deja-vu-tastic bits of scenery (like the jumping fish under the bridges on the Chinese world).

The two games are structured distinctly similarly as well, with a small number of worlds (five in this case, compared to Sonic's six) each divided up into three sub-levels with a boss at the end, and bonus sections which you reach by collecting objects in the sub-levels (in Sonic is was Chaos Emeralds, here it's a bit of the World Cup). But I'm getting off track a bit, and I haven't even started to tell you what a fab game this is yet. Er, could we pretend the review starts here, yeah?

Fans of Arabian Nights will feel on familiar ground from the off here, as Soccer Kid is written with the same basic game engine. If for some perverse reason you didn't like Arabian Nights, don't let that put you off - Soccer Kid isn't quite so inertia-ridden control-wise, and there isn't much in the way of puzzle-solving to distract you from the platforming action.


Bits of dog all over the shop. Yeuch.

Mind you, to be honest, thre isn't much platforming action either, technically speaking. This is a platform game in much the same way that (here we go again) Super Mario World is a platform game, i.e. there are platforms in it, but most of the gameplay consists of going in pretty much a straight horizontal line from left to right, dodging obstacles and smacking up any baddies encountered on the way. (This is as opposed to a platform game in the Harlequin or Zool sense, where finding your way around a maze of platforms is the central theme in itself). And that's not intended as a criticism, by the way.

So let's recap. It's the same as that great platform puzzler Arabian Nights, but without the puzzles. Or the platforms. And it's really original, but it's a cross between Sonic and Super Mario World. Oh dear. I'm not getting this across at all well, am I? Let's talk about something else.

One way in which Soccer Kid isn't like Sonic or Mario at all is in its difficulty setting - it's a bitch and a half, and then another bit, and then another entire bitch on top of that (ugh, what an unpleasant mental picture I've just formed. Bits of dog all over the shop. Yeuch).

You have to think about practically every baddie you clobber, and the platform-leaping isn't the easiest you've seen either. The first couple of levels aren't too taxing (but they're no pushovers), but by the time you get to the second or third worlds it starts to get really fearsome, and by te end it's just horrifying.

Krisalis' main playtester rechons that even when you've got really good at this, it'll take about five-and-a-half hours to play through from start to finish (ulp!), which means it's just as well there's a password system (a last-minute addition from the Krisalis boys, on the strongest recommendation AMIGA POWER could possibly muster) or no-one in the world except maybe Lloyd Grossman from TV's Through The Keyhole would have an snowball's chance in hell of seeing the end sequence.
And frankly, even he'd be struggling. Even with passwords you won't polish this one off in a hurry, and in value-conscious days like these (especially with the game selling for a distinctly naughty £30) that's a good thing in my book. (Stuart's Big Book Of Really Good Things, just £49.99 from any unscrupulous bookshop).

Right, so it's got lots of the good bits from Sonic and Mario and Arabian Nights, it's fast, original, and big and hard and clever. We're finally getting somewhere now. But the really brilliant things about Soccer Kid are (Snip! - Ed)


BUSTIN' MOVES
Soccer KidA thoroughly stylish backheeling effort there... Soccer KidSwiftly followed up with some nifty balancing. Top Stuf, Brian.
Soccer KidOh look, it's the Goodyear blimp. Er, or something a bit smaller. Soccer KidWhooops! Darned banana skins all over the place...
Soccer Kid"Jesus! This is what I call a Force 10 gale, and no mistake!" Soccer KidHmm. Didn't quite get the old knee over the top of that one.
Soccer Kid"Frankly, I don't think these captions are very good. I'm bored now." Soccer KidI hope this hatches soon, it's not comfy.
THE PLOT - A CONDENSED VERSION
Soccer Kid: Intro
Alien bad guy comes to Earth in a spaceship looking for mischief.
Soccer Kid: Intro
Spots World Cup left carelessly lying around on a table and nicks it.
Soccer Kid: Intro
Soccer Kid, upset, planes his bedroom door into unusual shape. To be continued.

Soccer Kid logo CU Amiga Super Star

John Mather is very good at dribbling, especially after a few pints, so we thought he'd be and excellent choice to review Krisalis' all-new soccer sensation.

Following all the pre-match hype, you'd expect Krisalis' Soccer Kid to be something special. After all, it's been in production for the best part of one-and-a-half years, and had more column inches written about it in the computer press than any other game in recent memory. Thankfully, the finished version of this soccer-cum-platform hybrid is now upon us, and, to put it mildly, it's stunning.

The game begins with an animated intro that's been painstakingly scanned in from original artwork. It tells of how the World Cup has been stolen during the 1994 finals by an alien trophy collector, who subsequently smashes into a nearby asteroid while making his escape. The force of collision shatters the World Cup into five separate pieces, which crash to Earth, landing in five different countries. Watching the events unfold from his bedroom, the eponymous Soccer Kid vows to collect all the missing pieces of the cup and thus save the competition from ruin. Hurrah.

GETTING STARTED
The first level kicks off in Soccer Kid's Home Town, and from there progresses around the globe, as he seeks to find the missing fragments of the Cup and, er, glue them back together. In all, there are nearly 30 levels to complete, plus another five bonus stages and numerous hidden sections to uncover as you progress through each scene. There are five main levels, with most divided up into three stages. These, in turn, are then split into two sections apiece, so it's not a game you're going to complete in a day!

Each level is set in a particular country, be it England, Italy, Russia, Japan or the USA, and each stage has a particular theme running through it dependent on the country in which it's set. For instance, England involves an encounter with bolshy tourists in London, a jaunt in the countryside, and a kickabout in a grim Northern town. In complete contrast, Italy sees you wrestling Roman gladiators in some ancient ruins, taking a soaking in Venice and getting run down by mopeds on the Riviera.

At the end of each level, there's a guardian to beat and these also reflect a particular country's cultural heritage. In Russia you're up against a gymnast with a deadly leg kick and in Japan it's a body-crushing Sumo Wrestler. England provides a rugby player while in the US it's an NFL quarterback and Italy pits you against a Pavarotti lookalike who spews out a series of deadly musical notes. They're not really that difficult to beat, but it helps break up the levels nicely, and kept me amused anyway.

CARD COLLECTION
The aim of each level is to collect hidden football cards, like the type you can buy from your local newsagents and cost an arm and a leg to collect the set. These are scattered all over the place and can be found perched on top of trees, down hidden sewers, hanging suspended in mid-air, or any number of other places. Once you've collected the allotted number (and it's easy to miss some!), you'll be granted entry to a special bonus level where the idea is to blast away at a series of blocks making your way to the top of a multi-level platform to find a missing piece of the World Cup.

Like the main level, this is against the clock but the game's designers haven't been so generous here, and there is not much time to kick away the walls and find the trophy. Fortunately, you get three attempts at the bonus stage - but only if you collect all the cards for each scene! Once you've collected five pieces, the World Cup is restored to its former glory and it's 'game over', but Krisalis purposely didn't provide the end sequence on our review copy, so we can't tell you what happens. We're promised something a bit special, though.

BALL CONTROL
You'll soon find out what a flexible chap Soccer Kid is. Not only can he jump and run about the screen, but he's capable of pulling of a series of stunning shots with a football that's constantly at his feet. Our football mad hero can use his ball to clobber any of the game's many adversaries or collect some of the huge amount of bonuses or 'special power' icons scattered around each level which would otherwise be out of reach.

In all, there are more than 15 shots available to the Kid and it's the ease with which these can be pulled off that's the key to the game's playability. He's capable of performing bicycle kicks, flying headers, back heels, power shots - you name it, and he'll be able to do it. Using the ball as a weapon is the only way to defeat the numerous nasties which populate each level, and you'll definitely not get very far if you decide to leave your ball behind. In fact, some areas aren't accessible if you don't use the ball as a springboard, and each shot has its part to play during the course of the game. Whether it's collecting bonuses by lobbing the ball through a couple of basketball nets or using it to break down protective barriers, it's essential to use it to maximum advantage.

Graphically, this is a stunning game. Even more amazing is that most of it is the work of one person, in-house graphics artist Neil Adamson. Soccer Kid himself is made up of tons of frames of animation, and is probably more pliable than a piece of putty in the moves he can pull off. Just as much care has been taken with the background detail, and each scene looks completely different. By using a dual playfield, Neil has managed to use eight colours for the foreground and eight for the background, This might bot seem much, but by using copper effects for the sky, the number of colours on screen has been further extended and gives the game a definite 'console' feel to the proceedings. And just wait until you see the CD32 version Krisalis are working on - it's simply spectacular, with 256 colours, an extra lavel that got squeezed out of the floppy release, and CD quality sound!

LEVEL BEST
There are so many brilliant touches in the game, it's difficult to know where to begin. There are two unusual stages that deserve a special mention - one is set on top of a Japanese bullet train and the other onboard a Russian warship. The bullet train is made up of numerous different carriages, and is busy racing across Japan. In a sudden twist, the game now scrolls from right to left instead of the usual left to right, and you have to watch out for approaching tunnels or else you'll end up with quite a headache. Each carriage contains some sort of reward or bonus points to pick up as well as numerous adversaries. The same can be said about the battleship, although this time you're pitted against the entire Russian navy and some devious tricks and traps.

The Japanese Factory level contains one of the most amusing adversaries you'll come up against in the form of small mechanical robots which, when hit once, spin round making strange mechanical bleeping noises, and then explode when you hit them a second time. Other enemies to watch out for include manic moped riders who'll still hop about the screen once you kick their bikes away and coal moles which suddenly raise their head above the ground to see what's happening. There are tons of other enemies inhabiting the game's many levels, and most are level specific, although some will pop up again later.

SOUNDS GOOD
The game's sonics are also impressive. Each level has an appropriate musical score in keeping with the setting, and there's a whole host of sampled sounds to accompany the on-screen action. It's difficult to see where any improvement could be made, although the music that accompanies the Italian level wasn't really up to the same standard as the rest. Some sampled speech would have been nice too, but then Krisalis have done wonders to cram everything onto four disks as it is, and any further additions would have meant paying for an extra floppy.

And don't worry about excessive disk swapping. Krisalis have organised the game disks so it's kept down to a minimum. There's no swopping required during a level, and the more memory you have, the less disk swops will be necessary. The game automatically takes advantage of any extra RAM you might have, so A1200 owners are at an advantage straight away.

IMMENSE FUN
Soccer Kid is an immense game and lots of fun to play. The action is relentless, there are plenty of pick ups and bonuses to collect (essential in this type of game), and the graphics and animation are superb. Best of all, the ball bounces about the screen in a highly realistic manner. Surprisingly, this wasn't much of a programming challenge, but it looks impressive nonetheless.

From Soccer Kid's cheeky grin cuteness to his amazing ball-handling expertise, this game shouts class. It's definitely a contender for one of this year's top 10 games, if not the top spot.


ON THE HEAD, SON!

The Kid has an amazing number of trick shots at his disposal and they're all controlled by simple joystick and fire button combinations. To get Soccer Kid to kick the ball, simply press the firebutton and push the joystick left or right to make the ball fly off in the required direction. Another useful shot is a simple back heel which is great for taking out enemy nasties that are following hard on your heels. Simply pull back on the joystick in the opposite direction you're travelling in and the ball will be sent into their path!
To enter 'trick shot' mode, simply press the firebutton to make Soccer Kid tap the ball on his foot. From here, a whole range of shots open up. For instance, pushing the joystick upwards will prompt the Kid to lob the ball up into the air, while pushing the stick in the direction he's facing will make him kick the ball long and hard. To pull off a flying header, simply kick the ball straight up as before, then jump up, press and hold the fire button and push the joystick in the direction Soccer Kid's facing to make him head the ball in the air, a trick you'll need more than once in the game. The best trick, however, is the overhead kick. To pull off this stunt, press and hold the firebutton down, then push the joystick up to make Soccer Kid flip the ball onto his head. Now push the joystick away from the direction you're facing to perform the overhead shot. This might sound complicated, but after a few minutes practice, you'll be able to pull off any of these shots as easy as pie.

PICK 'EM UPS

Scattered around each level are various treasure chests. Whack the ball against them a couple of times and they spill open, revealing a number of bonus-giving fruits as well as various 'special powers'. These include extra time units, an extra heart to top up his energy level, temporary invincibility, extra lives and a pair of speedy boots for racing around a level. Look out for hidden icons, too. You never know when you might stumble across them.


Soccer Kid AGA logo AGA

The youngster with outrageous ball skills had the AF office purring (and not doing much work) back in September. Soccer Kid tells the tale of how a trophy-hoarding alien attempts to steal the World Cup. The Cup collides with a meteor and shatters, spreading the pieces across the globe. Your task is to collect the bits and get them to America in time for the World Cup Final.

Soccer Kid is basically a platform game but it is original and incredibly playable. The Kid can perform headers, overhead kicks and various other tricks to overcome the baddies which include skateboarders, Italian waiters, farm animals and Russian soldiers.

The more trick shots you perform, the more points you get at the end of the levels - if you can get there. Along the way, there are footie cards to collect (sadly no bubblegum) and these enable you to take part in bonus levels against the clock. There are loads of levels and five continents to travel across and despite being tricky, once you start, you just cannot put that joystick down.

The AGA version has improved graphics and colours (which were not half bad in the first place) and it is now hard disk installable. If you have got the original, do not bother getting this version but if you like platform games, this rubs shoulders with Zool and Yo Joe!. Fantastic.


Soccer Kid AGA logo AGA Amiga Joker Hit

Der kleine Fußballkünstler dribbelt durch die Kombination eines liebevoll gemachten Jump & Runs mit der wichtigsten Nebensache der Welt. In insgesamt fünf horizontal scrollenden Plattformländern muß er die Einzelteile des von unsportlichen Aliens zerbröselten Weltcups wiederfinden. Wenn der Kleine nicht gerade Extras aufklaubt, kickt er seine Widersacher einfach mit dem Ball um...

Hat man die Steuerung erst voll im Griff, macht die originelle Hüpferei jede Menge Spaß - die fünf Disks der 1200er-Version kosten 79 Bälle, sind auf Harddisk installierbar und erhalten vielleicht ein paar Tropfen mehr Farbe. Das Endergebnis lautet daher: 85 Prozent. (ms)


Soccer Kid AGA logo AGA

It looks like an open goal and yes, he scores!

Right, this game has got a footbally theme so let us get all the pathetic football humour out of the way in the first paragraph. At the end of the day, you will be sick as (No, let's not - Ed).

The World Cup has been stolen by space aliens, broken into five pieces and scattered over the earth. It is up to you, a small boy with a large football, to find all the bits and make footy fans happier. Oh well, who needs a believable plot anyway? Off you go through five scrolling levels, full of power-ups and baddies, big and small. Your only weapon is you, apparently deadly, football.

BALL CONTROL
You do not just kick it along the ground, either. Press the fire button and you start bouncing it up and down on your foot. From here you can do headers, kick it in all directions and stand on it and jump up, for those difficult, out of the way platform games you do not ump on the baddies to kill them, only your football can do that. So do not accidentally jump on them in a panic, like id did, a bit, at first.

The ball kicking business is brilliant. You have enough control to do the skillo shots without it being horribly complicated. It bounces around most pleasingly. If you lose it off the screen then holding down the fire button teleports it back to your feet. You can jump around without your ball but you have no way of dealing with nasties, feeling almost naked. Along the way there are the usual extras to collect, often imaginatively represented by sweets, apples and ice cream cones.


Skateboarders, tourists and even spitting sheep

GOOAALL!
Instead of a horrible maze of platforms it is a straightforward left to right, with occasional diversions up and down to collect something juicy. There are some real villains here too, skateboarders, tourists and even spitting sheep, ugh. You can race for the end or hand about collecting everything for those points. You can earn bonus points for doing trick shots.

What is new for the A1200? It is now hard drive installable and noticeably more colourful, without most of the nasty stippling effects of the ordinary version. It is still thirty quid and that is still a lot of money, so it is a good job it is a smart game. Playability? It has got bags of it, and then some more that would not fit into any of the bags.


Soccer Kid CD32 logo CD32 Amiga Computing Gold Award

Krisalis' Soccer Kid, a platformer applauded by just about everybody last year, has been transferred to the CD32. Jonathan Maddock checks out the new signing.

INTRODUCTION

With the World Cup now well and gone, you'd think it'd be a pretty stupid time to release yet another piece of software based on the wonderful game of football. Krisalis aren't that stupid because the game they've got for you is Soccer Kid, this time putting in a new and enhanced star appearance on the CD32.

First time around, Soccer Kid was acclaimed by punters and reviewers alike for its amazing array of cartoon quality graphics, its superb soundtrack and the fact that it wasn't just another platform game.
Krisalis, keen supporters of the CD32, have now made major improvements in the graphics and sound departments.


 

GRAPHICS

The first thing that hits you is the introduction sequence which has been created by Catalyst Pictures. The actual sprites and standards of animation was almost as close as an actual cartoon when Soccer Kid first exploded on to the Amiga, but now Krisalis have taken the graphics a further step forward.

The introduction animation is an actual cartoon. It tells the story of how the World Cup was taken by aliens and then spread, by accident, throughout the various countries. The animation, at times, is as smooth as anything you'd see on television, but sometimes it does slow down - that's down to the CD technology rather than the actual animation.

As well as the introduction cartoon, there are several others which happen when something significant occurs. For example, short animations are presented when you complete the level and when you eventually run out of lives. A fantastic end animation is also in there, but I've not been good enough to complete the whole game to see it.

85%

 

SOUND

The soundtrack in the normal Amiga versions of Soccer Kid was fairly spectacular, with a selection of funk guitar samples played against a thumping dance beat. It has to be said that the tune ranks as one of the greatest ever Amiga musical moments.

Krisalis now have access to CD technology thus have the ability to make their music even sweeter. Having said that, the tune isn't vastly different from the A500/A1200 versions, but the actual quality of sound is far superior.

Another sound introduction is the inclusion of speech into the various animations. The various snippets of speech won't make your ears pop out, but they do add to the whole presentation of the product.

87%

 

OPINION88%

Socccer Kid is one of the Amiga's best platform games and the transition to CD has only enhanced the product even further. The graphics are beautiful, the sound is of the highest quality, but remember, just because the presentation aspects of the game are superb this doesn't mean that it plays well. Lucky for you then that Soccer Kid is capable of doing both tasks extremely well.

The main character can do various tricks with the ball and although it'll take you a while to get the hang of all the moves via the joypad, it will at the end of the day become second nature to you. The only real bad point about Soccer Kid is that the difficulty level is set too high during the beginning stages, but then again people are always complaining that platformers are too easy to complete anyway..

If you're looking for an original platformer with bags of style and class that'll give you hours of entertainment, then I guess this is the essential CD32 purchase for the month.


Soccer Kid CD32 logo CD32 Amiga Format Gold

He's small, he's cool, he never goes to school. I'm talking about Soccer Kid (Krisalis, 0709 372290 £29.99). At least he never seems to, for he's too busy travelling the world with a ball attached to his foot, attempting to rescue the scattered pieces of the World Cup which has been nicked by trophy-hoarding aliens.

Soccer Kid's journey takes him from England to Italy, Russia to Japan and on to America. It's splendid platform fare - the parallax scrolling is velvetly smooth, the sprite moves fluidly and the levels are gracefully drawn.

The Kid is blessed with some engaging football skills: backheels, overhead kicks, headers and sliding tackles included. It's unusual for such a pretty platform game to play with equal aplomb but Soccer Kid is as playable an example of the genre as you will find. Included in this version are an array of cartoon scenes dropped in for good measure but the game stands capably on its own.


Soccer Kid CD32 logo CD32 Amiga Joker Hit

Krisalis hätte dieses Hüpfical unverändert auf CD packen können und die schnelle Mark machen können, wie es ja leider gängige Praxis ist. Statt dessen war man sportlich-fair und hat den sportiven Bestseller noch verfeinert!

Trotz seines Titels hat das Game ja bekanntlich wenig mit Fußball im herkömmlichen Sinn, dafür aber jede Menge mit schickem Plattform-Sport zu tun. Daran hat sich natürlich nichts geändert, auch wenn Soccer Kid hier mit einem lustigen Zeichentrick-Intro in bester Full Motion Video-Qualität und superben Musikstücken direkt von CD aufwarten kann.

Es sei noch vermerkt, daß der Spaß via (optionalem) Pad auch ein wenig flotter von der Hand geht als mit dem altgedienten Stick.

Doch nun sollten wir einen Blick auf der Hintergrundstory werfen: Ein fieses Alien will den WM-Pokal seiner Trophäensammlung einverleiben, doch bei der anschließenden Flucht ins All zerbricht der Pott in fünf Teile. Die regnen auf die Erde hinab, was unserem Helden auf den Plan ruft - als echter Fan reist er den Trümmern nach England, Italien, Japan, Rußland und USA hinterher, um sie wieder zusammenzuflicken.

Nicht minder originell präsentiert sich das Gameplay, obwohl hier erst mal gehüpft und gelaufen wird wie anderswo auch in zweiter Instanz ist man aber praktisch permanent mit dem stets mitgeführten Ball zugange, um ihn etwas als Trampolin zur nächsten Plattform zu mißbrauchen, seine Widersacher (Passanten, Schafe, Skateboarder etc.) per Fallrückzieher beiseite zu bolzen, sie mit gekonnten Dribblings schwindlig zu spielen oder den Luftraum via Kopfball zu säubern.

An Genrestandards wie Endgegnern oder Sammelgut fürs Punktekonto bzw. den Energievorrat fehlt es ebenfalls nicht, als Bewaffnung muß indessen das vielseitige Leder genügen - Fußlahme können sich allenfalls noch nachträglich Sprinterstiefel beschaffen, um denen man außderdem zeitweilig unverwundbar wird.

Und mehr braucht's auch kaum: Die abschnittweise unterteilten Levels sind zwar voller Feinde, morscher Brücken und Lianen, doch statt unfairer Stellen gibt es ein unproblematisches Zeitlimit, Rücksetzpunkte, jede Menge Abwechslung und ein flottes Spieling.

Man kann entweder zackig vorandüsen oder gemütlich jede Ecke nach den vielen Geheimkammern (wer genügend Icons gesammelt hat, darf in ein Bonusgame) abgrasen. Dabei gleicht die eigentliche Spieloptik mit dem saubern Scrolling in all Richtungen und den witzigen Spriteanimationen weitgehend der kunterbunten A1200-Spezielversion, während sich die geniale und jederzeit zur Action passende Musikbegleitung auf der CD schon fast einen MTV-Award verdient hat! Da kommen die Sound-FX zwar nicht mehr ganz mit, aber was soll's?

Kurz und gut, der Balljunge ist dank des feinen Feintunings auch auf der Silberscheibe ein origineller Sonderfall unter den Plattform-Artisten - und hat sich seinen güldenen Hit damit ehrlich erdribbelt! (rl)


Soccer Kid CD32 logo CD32

Krisalsis/£30

Amiga version: 88%, AP29

JD loves this game. But me, I do not think much of it at all. Yeah, it is cute and tough and playable and imaginative and detailed and all that, but it is just not good enough. For a start, it is not fast enough for more. And although there are plenty of moves to do (you use your football as a weapon and whack it at people's heads and the like) they do not have a practical purpose in the game. I mean, what is the point in having the option of doing an overhead kick if by the time you have set yourself, you either kick the ball over the evil character or the ball goes flying off the screen? And although you can go searching around a level for player cards, you do not need them, so you can leave them alone if you want to. It is only a matter of points.

That and the general awkwardness of playing and progressing through the game make me think it is not worth a score similar to the one we originally gave it. Yeah, it is a good platformer, but it is by no means perfect.

(You are quite clearly mad. The controls are only tricky until you get the hang of them, which takes an hour at most. Learning to use the ball is the whole point of Soccer Kid. - it is what gives the game a feeling of being different. As for the player cards, they are obviously there to inspire you to go exploring once you know how to finish a level. Steve has been playing it for ages, and he agrees with me: Soccer Kid is brilliant, even if it is exactly the same as the floppy version. - Ed) (Except trying to play it with the CD32 joypad is a hopeless task - they have really messed it up. - Steve F)


Soccer Kid CD32 logo CD32

KRISALIS £29.99 OUT NOW

Soccer Kid is still regarded as one of the best platform games every released on the Amiga. So much so that the exclusive level we once gave away on a coverdisk is still regarded as one of the best coverdisks ever. Lord knows it has taken long enough for Krisalis to release a CD32 version of the game, but finally they have.

And bat me over the head with an Adidas trainer, it's just as much a stormer on the old shiny disk as it was on floppy. But for those of you who haven't seen it, here's a little recap...

You play a small boy with a quest. The quest is to recover the world cup, which has been stolen by invading aliens. This boy is a keen football fanatic, indeed he needs to be to go up against the might of an entire alien race with only a football. Yes, you read correctly, right (if you don't believe me, go back and try again), this kid has only a football to help him get to victory.

Mind you, he knows how to use it, and thankfully all it takes is one hit with a ball to destroy most aliens, so Kid can run from left to right in the standard platform way and punt the ball at anything he likes.

One of the nicest things about the Amiga version was the control system. Although there are a hundred and one things that Kid can do with the ball (head it, juggle it and so on) you didn't have to go through a series of Street Fighter 2 movements to get him to do it. The CD32 version is just as playable, and contains the same fantastic graphics as the A1200 version so what more could you ask for? Some decent CD music? You've got it.

If you only buy a couple of games this month then this is definitely one to get. It's a good play and great fun.