Soccer Superstars logo

Publisher: Flair Software * Price: £29.99 * Versions: A500 * System requirements: 1Mb * Release date: Out now

English football in crisis, scram the headlines. Drugs, assaults, match rigging, prison sentences - our national sport sinks deeper each day, many would have us believe. Solemnly, w must report another tragedy; a tragedy of such calamitous proportions only frequent exposure to eight-player Super Skidmarks can avert the symptoms of extreme anxiety brought on by participating in Super Soccerstars.

Soccer Superstars is a viewed-from-the-side arcade football game with large sprites, whiter-than-white crowd noise, 32 international teams and the players are all fictitious. It looks not dissimilar to Anco's Kick Off 3. Fouls cannot be committed on the field of play apart from in the penalty area which leads, as one would expect, to the penalty spot.

The game is clumsy and slow and the players are on the wrong side of sluggish. Passing and tackling is hopeful rather tan considered, and with a little practice, guaranteed routes to goals are easy to discover. A power bar appears when you hold down the fire button allowing you to increase the velocity of your strike. But who cares?

And after forking out 30 quid, you really don't want to (for example) turn to page two, count down 14 lines, then 13 words across and input said word to play the game. Copy protection is all well and good but punishing the souls who spend hard-earned is a bit much.

So Soccer Superstars, why make an appearance at this juncture, at a time when the competition's defence is virtually impregnable?

Ein spätes Foul

Soccer Superstars logo

Eigentlich war dieses Spiel ja bereits zur WM geplant, doch können wir verstehen, daß es da nicht veröffentlicht werden konnte: Wenn es so was wie eine Qualifikation für Software gibt, hat sie Flair hier meilenweit verpaßt!

Außerdem rollte vor knapp einem Jahr eine solche Flut von hochwertiger Soccer-Soft über den Amiga hinweg, daß dieses Programm gnadenlos untergegangen wäre. Das wird ihm freilich auch jetzt nicht erspart bleiben, ist es doch glatt noch eine Klasse schlechter als die PC-Version vom letzten Monat - und die hat mit stolzen 47 Prozent abgeschnitten...

So bleibt dem Spieler hier das Intro (und damit immerhin auch die Werbung für den Sponsor Mitre) erspart, nicht aber eine nervige Handbuchabfrage, selbst wenn er über eine Festplatte Verfügt.

Apropos Handbuch: Wie das Spiel ist es grauenhaft übersetzt und umfaßt ganze sechs Seiten, was schon sehr viel über das kaum vorhandene Optionsangebot sagt. Man darf weder zur Welt- noch zur Europameisterschaft auflaufen, lediglich ein sogenannter "Freundlich"-Modus oder per Pokal mit 32 internationalen Teams steht zur Debatte.

Ja, und dann kann noch die Dauer jeder Halbzeit bis zu maximal acht Minuten festgelegt und der Computer oder ein Kumpan als Gegner bestimmt werden. Ein Menüpunkt namens "Management" ist zwar ebenfalls vorhanden, beinhaltet aber bloß eine Handvoll Aufstellungen und die Möglichkeit, seine Mannschaft ein wenig zu editieren. Und diese ganze Vielfalt ist geradezu vorbildlich unübersichtlich geordnet.

Auf dem Platz wird dann horizontal geschlenzt, was weder optisch noch vom Gameplay her sonderlich zu beeindrucken weiß - abgesehen von der ganz netten 3D-Perspektive, die für Elfmeter reserviert ist.

Auch die Schußstärkeanzeige mit "Powermeter" ist leidlich originell, der Rest dagegen eine Art Kreisklassenversion von "Kick Off". Musik und Sound-FX (z.B. Zuschauerlärm) sind erträglich, liegen jedoch wiederum deutlich unter dem Niveau des DOSen-Stadions.

In der Summe genügen die mehr schelcht als recht zu steuernden Soccer Superstars aber trotz ihres hochtrabenden Namens noch nicht einmal den Ansprüchen an einen Budget-Titel; den Vergleich mit Highlights wie "Sensible World of Soccer" oder auch "FIFA Int. Soccer" verbietet schlicht der Anstand.

Statt eines Fazits wollen wir also lieber einen Tip loswerden: Zuletzt ist ja die erste Fußballsimulation um Lotha Matthaüs preisgünstig wiederveröffentlicht worden, und gegen diese Krücke würde der verletzte Bayernkapitän selbst mit einem Bein gewinnen - warum also sein Geld ür solchen Müll ausgeben, der erschreckenderweise demnächst auch noch den CD-Schacht verstopfen will? (mm)

Soccer Superstars logo

Football, football, football, football, football. Aren't you just sick of it? Eh?

Just go back up a moment and take a look at the price of this game. Did you see that? Yep, a whole £30. For a football game. Still, thanks to a tie in with football company Mire you o get a top quality proper bouncy football to kick around. And it's going to give you a lot more pleasure than the disks you get with the package, that's for sure.

I didn't like Soccer Superstars. Play it for a while and I'm sure you'd agree with me. Actually, no. Don't play it for a while. Don't play it at all. Why? Well, if you thought of all the worst football gaming aspects possible, then came up with some more silly ones you'd be just about there.

Try the fact that when chasing after a player you will gradually catch him up but then, just when you're about within tackling distance, you'll stop catching up and jog along behind him.

Then there's the fact that, when kicked, the ball moves fast diagonally across the screen than it does horizontally. And if you lurk just on the bottom corner of the box and shoot diagonally towards the far post of the goal you're bound to score. Only don't try it from the top of the screen because the angle of the pitch is incredibly somehow different and the ball goes wide of the net.

And there are only two ways to hit the ball - a small tap will pass the ball to the nearest player, or you can hold the fire button down to build up power on a gauge and release when you have the power you want. Sadly, the gauge is tiny and consequently unusable. And I mustn't forget to mention the way that, if a player's running along and the scrolls off the screen, he stops moving, so your passes go amiss a hell of a lot. And I also can't forget the appalling dive-at-everything goalies. And the jittery nearest-player-to-the-ball selection.

There may be other niggles, but after playing the game a few times to get the gist of it before sitting down and winning the cup competition (you can either play a friendly game or enter the cup, and nothing else) on my first go by scoring 44 goals in six matches, I'd had enough.

I enjoy playing all sorts of games, and football games especially, and it's true to say I did have a teeny bit of fun with this one. But that is only because I kept annihilating all my opponents and I like to win. And because I didn't have to pay to play the thing.

And at £30 (even with a 'free' football), this is a hideously overpriced, badly programmed, bare bones footie game providing very little entertainment and fun.

Soccer Superstars logo

Price: £29.99 Publisher: Flair 01661 860 260

Flair Software grace us with yet another footy game that attempts the Herculean task of matching the standards set by Sensi Soccer. Can Soccer Superstars even make a mark on Sensi's seemingly impenetrable shell?
The quick answer is no. The long answer is that this game is so mind numbingly bad that it should be sent to fester in the bottomless pits of hell for all eternity.

Soccer Superstars is an arcade football game that takes the 'grandstand view' perspective. It starts all off rather poorly with a C64 style Martin Galway rip off tune, which becomes more unpleasant to the eardrums than the Eurovision Song Contest played over the top of Phil Collins' "Another Day in Paradise".

Before you even pick your team, you have to choose what formation you want to play in. You stick with the same formation throughout the entire season as the select option is only available on the main menu. Playing an entire season with the same players and formation is pretty sad. There is supposed to be a mythical management menu but I for one couldn't find it.

The game itself is, in my opinion, the worst footy sim ever on the Amiga. For example, games like Manchester United - The Double are fun because of their neatly size sprites and overall playability. This game has huge sprites and has almost no gameplay options at all.

Also, the players look run and play about as well as Mr Bean. They're sluggish, unresponsive and act as if they've never seen a football in their lives. Most football games have some degree of intelligent passing,, but all you can do here is kick the ball in a straight line.

When chasing the player with the ball, it would be logical for the computer to select the player nearest to the action, instead control seems to switch between members of the team almost at random. As you can imagine, stringing together a fluid set of moves is near impossible. With so many other decent footy games to choose from, I can't recommend this to anyone.