Sensible World of Soccer logo Amiga Computing Platinum Award

It's here! It's here! It's here! Some have claimed that this is the best Amiga game of all-time. Jonathan Maddock is in firm agreement as he lusts over Sensible's sequel.

INTRODUCTION

If you had the option or only had the money to buy one Amiga game per year, which product would you choose out of all the releases in 1994? Titles like Body Blows Galactic, Simon the Sorcerer, Theme Park, Super Stardust, Dreamweb, Premier Manager 3, Zeewolf, Ruff 'n' tumble, Alien Breed Tower Assault and Pinball Illusions have all become classics in their own right, but there is one game that you've had to wait until December for.

It's name you know already, after all, you've been dreaming sweet dreams about it every night since you heard about its release date.

Sensible Soccer is, undoubtedly, the world's most popular Amiga game ever created. Over the last couple of years it's been slowly fine-tuned via releases such as Sensible Soccer Version 1.1 and Sensible Soccer International Edition.

A sequel has now arrived, but you have to ask yourself why? How can Sensible Software possibly make a game better than the original? Answers to those questions aren't requires because Sensible World of Soccer (or SWOS to those in the know), as incredible as it sounds, is Sensible Software's best product yet.

For those gamers new to this computer soccer lark then welcome to the exciting world of Sensible Soccer. For seasoned Sensible Soccer professionals, your 'game' has just been changed for the better and you won't be able to put your joystick down to stop playing it.

ADDITIONAL INFO

As you may or may not know, Sensible World of Soccer has got a brand spanking new management angle to it. Now there is a whole new perspective to it which lifts it above just about every other Amiga football game.

You can play the game as either a manager or a player manager. The manager option allows you to make decisions on the team, tactics, transfers and the overall running of the club. The player manager option let's you do exactly the same, but it's entirely down to your playing skills whether you win, lose or draw your matches.

You have the option of playing just one season where you compete in the league and cup competitions, or you can choose the career option. This allows you to play many seasons and depending on your success will let you play in more impressive European cup tournaments. In this mode your also get sacked and then move to another club and start all over again. Ultimately, this means you can play one game of SWOS for months and months.

The management system is almost as comprehensive as the ones found in Championship and Premier Manager. Transfers cover every single club in the world, so you might find yourself bidding for the talents of Alan Shearer or maybe you could find a cheap, but highly skilful player from overseas.

This doesn't mean that you can simply buy a squad full of super stars because your financial situation won't allow you to do it. You could buy a player for a few million quid, but his weekly wage bid is sure to bring your club to its knees.

SWOS also has a new tactics system. Instead of just picking the one formation, you can user-define your own. You can pack the defence with every single player except the lone striker or you could play a couple of marauding wingers, the choice is entirely up to you.

The tactics do take a fair while to set-up, but it's worth persevering with because your results will noticeably improve the more you fine-tune your team. Thankfully, the whole tactics system is easy to control via a few short movements with the joystick. The whole management system is by no means as in-depth as Tactical or Premier Manager, but that's a good thing as you don't spend too much time messing about and can concentrate on playing in some damn fine matches.

The beauty about this new look to Sensible Soccer is that no matter how many times you spend alone in your bedroom struggling to get your team to win trophies and championships, you can still whack a two-player friendly on when you play one of your chums and have the time of your life (err, as far as playing games goes that is).


 

SOUND

Err, there are a few more splendid crowd chants to give the game that extra bit of atmosphere, but apart from that there isn't much to listen to on the sound front. Besides, there are far more interesting things to read about, so make your way to the additional information box. Ta!

70%

 

GRAPHICS

Not a lot has changed on the pixel and sprite front, but that's mainly because there wasn't much wrong with the graphics in the original game.

The new additions are all fairly superficial, but they still help enhance Sensible Soccer even further towards the title of 'Best Soccer Game in the World Ever'. When playing an actual match you're presented with a stadium packed full of fans, each decked out in their teams colours. Policemen and press photographer now line up around the sidelines and the screen comes complete with a spinning Sensible Software 'S' in the top right-hand corner.

There are over 1500 teams in this new version, so you could say that there has been a graphical enhancement in the amount of football kits. All of the various shirts, shorts and socks have been perfectly matched to the various teams, whether they be from the English Premier or from the Nigerian Second Division.

The match sequences now feature a referee. The balding one is not on the pitch all the time, he only appears when a foul occurs and someone needs to be either booked or sent off. You can now see him scribbling in his notebook when the said offence happens.

Another slice of animated action is presented when you viciously foul one of the opposing players. The injured player then rolls around on the floor in pain clutching his leg. OK, so you're not going to jump for joy about these little touches but they do improve the game, although some gamers might claim that it doesn't need improving.

The graphics are virtually the same as the ones found in the original and as we said they were rather splendid last time, I guess we have to say the same thing this time around.

80%

 

OPINION93%

This could be a blasphemous thing to say, but I have always been a bit of a Goal fan simply because I thought it was a far better football game. Since then I have played whole Sensible Soccer Tournaments and had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs in the process, but only because I was playing with friends.

I still think it has some faults, which I won't name because people will say I'm just being petty, but SWOS in my eyes is a major improvement over the original game.

I previously believed that Sensible Soccer was only good for two players, but thanks to SWOS it lends itself more towards becoming an almost perfect one-player game. The interaction between the tactics and the transfers is just brilliant and in my mind SWOS is the world's first football game that has managed to get a perfect balance between a pure arcade game and a management simulation.

I had my reservations about yet another episode of Sensible Soccer, but I've had those firmly destroyed because SWOS, quite simply, is the best Amiga game that money can buy. I could go on forever heaping praise upon the game, but I haven't got the time or the space, so I'll leave you to put this magazine down and let you toddle off down to the shops to buy it.


Win a Limited Edition SWOS shirt!

Thanks to those kind people at Renegade, we've got five limited edition Sensible World of Soccer football shirts to give away. To win one of thse exclusive and highly stylish long-sleeve tops, all you have to do is answer the three footy-related questions correctly and send your entry to the following address.

Q1 What is Manchester United's world famous stadium called?
Q2 Name Aston Villa's recently departed manager?
Q3 Who scored England's winning goal in the recent match against Nigeria?

Sensible Soccer Shirt Compo
Amiga Computing, IDG Media
Media House, Adlington Park
Macclesfield SK10 4NP

* All entries must be received by 12th January 1995.



Sensible World of Soccer logo Amiga Format Gold

After three weeks of playing, living, sleeping and breathing Sensible World Of Soccer, Steve Bradley is convinced that it's definitely a game of two halves.

This is the game we've been waiting for. The anticipation was even greater than for the forthcoming Stone Roses album, Christmas, a winning lottery ticket and even the day Keith Chegwin turns up at you house with The Big Breakfast in tow. Which, inevitably, he will. Someday.

So, what has changed? How could the Sensible team come up with anything finer than the last upgrade which introduced a Man in Black producing red and yellow cards? Well, for starters, there is now a stadium with colour co-ordinated crowds behind each goal.

This improves the atmosphere immeasurably, urging you to bulge the onion bag in the full knowledge that the gathered throng packed behind the net are your supporters. And the press photographers and police, and it's just like watching real football in a real ground with real little men and... ahem. No, you can't smell the hotdogs.

Onion bags
Sensible World Of Soccer (SWOS from now on) has a deal more to offer than mere finery. The management option sees to this. Now, instead of just playing leagues, cups and friendlies, you can have a career managing, or playing for and managing your favourite team. And this career can last for up to 20 seasons, chairman permitting - don't take that job at Aston Villa or Everton. Or Athletico Madrid. The ultimate objective, to be offered the England job. Or perhaps the Brazilian hot seat.

The number of teams you can boss is quite unbelievable - choose any club IN THE WORLD and chances are it'll be here, whether it be Italy's AC Milan, New Zealand's Central Region outfit, Waterside Karori or Ghanian greats Hearts Of Oak. Staggering. And to cap it all, the players all have real names (yes, we've checked them all, honest) and values, though some of the figures quoted for some of them are open to debate. So you're looking at more than 1,500 teams and 26,000 players.

The value of each player relates to his ability. Roberto Baggio, the Juventus maestro and top-priced SWOS star rolls in at a cool 17 million and he's brilliant. Shooting, passing, dribbling - you name it, he can do it best.

And if you've got him in your side, you notice that unlike the normal Sensible player, the ball sticks to his feet like glue. Purists may not like this. They've spent a couple of years honing their dribbling skills to perfection only for some Johnny-come-lately to come along, choose the teams with 10 million pound players and run amok.

Boot bags
But then, if you have mates who never play the game and you want a decent match, you can pit AC Milan against Kilmarnock and the game will be reasonably fair. In effect, SWOS in arcade mode, is different to the other versions - the star players see to that.

And what of the goalkeepers? Every experienced Sensible player can find the keepers' weaknesses but they've gone some quite severe tweaking. No dashing to the edge of the box and blithely ramming the ball into the corner. No rushing diagonally into the area and swerving the ball past the hapless chap. They've wised up.

Quick, short-passing movements in the penalty area can unlock the defence, or you might try dribbling past the keeper. The keepers are graded so it's easier to beat the bloke at Wigan Athletic than at Blackburn Rovers. Whatever, it's tougher all round to score goals.

One of the best new features in the management option is the worldwide transfer market. You can check over the players currently available or call up a club and attempt to poach their jewels. The likelihood is you won't have enough money for the great players, or the club will politely inform you that the player is 'not available'.

The keepers have now undergone some severe tweaking. They've really wise up.

Magic sponge
Unfortunately this hampers your chances of signing Ryan Giggs for York City, but on the plus side, you can transfer list the players you dislike and with a little luck, bring in superior replacements. Speed for Kanchelskis anyone? Doh! You can even part-exchange players if the price is beyond your means.

Given the brilliance of the goalkeepers, tactics play a significant part in SWOS. There are 10 pre-set tactical options and you can edit up to six different tactical styles according to how you want to play, or the quality of the opposition you face.

The tactics are based on a grid which separates the pitch into 35 areas where the ball can be at a given time and 240 areas where a player can be - this allows you to tailor detailed formations. Not that you can have your centre forward in one box attacking and three seconds later defending at the other end, but you can get more players to attack and defend in numbers.

The more players you can get into the box, the better, it would seem, the chance of scoring. You can now enjoy the benefits of deep-lying midfielders, overlapping full backs, wingers who cut in when they see the ball at the edge of the box - in fact, you can do almost anything. If you know that an opposing forward is worth 15 million, and therefore pretty 'handy', then you can instruct defenders to close down his space in certain areas of the field.

Magic mushroom
So, is SWOS the perfect al rounder? Is it a game that effectively makes all other arcade and management games redundant? Well, yes and no. It is the finest arcade football game, probably on any platform. Forget the pretenders - this is the ONE. OK, you might still find room in your hearts for Empire Soccer. Fans of the management genre might be put off by the lack of stats but SWOS concentrates on the football side of managing rather than the business areas. No worries about what's going on the advertising hoardings here.

Sensible World Of Soccer is every bit as good as we hoped it would be. As an arcade game, it improves on the previous incarnation, and the management side is enormous fun to play. It's way better than any other football game. Ever. And SWOS is as good an Amiga game as you can buy.



Sensible World of Soccer logo Amiga Joker Hit

"Sensible Soccer" nimmt seit langem eine Sonderstellung im Amiga-Stadion ein und wurde auch immer wieder leicht verbessert - doch dieses Game stellt alle seine Vorgänger in den Schatten!

Während die "Saison 1992/93" und die jüngste "International Edition" nämlich wenig mehr als Updates des Urprogramms waren, wurde hier die Rasen-Action um einen kompletten Managerteil erweitert - so was gabt es ja zuletzt im vier Jahre alten "Player Manager"...

Man kann sich vom kleinsten Club bis zur Nationalmannschaft hochbolzen, und wer selbst mit der Champions League nicht zufrieden ist, entwirft eben ein eigenes Turnier mit allen Schikanen. Da dürfen dann bis zu 64 Mitspieler antreten und haarklein die Taktik für jede Begegnung ausbrüten: Falsch positionierte Cracks bringen auch tatsächlich nur einen Bruchteil der ihnen möglichen Leistungen auf dem Spielfeld.

Dort geht es übrigens noch variantenreicher als gewohnt zu; z.B. müssen gefoulte Spieler nun richtig leiden, bis der Onkel Doktor kommt.

Wir hingegen kommen jetzt zu brandneuen Strategieteil, und der ist zwar nicht ganz so komplex wie "Bundi Hattrick", dafür aber doppelt so schnell in den Griff zu bekommen. So braucht man hier schon mal keine seitenlangen Verträge, um etwa Litti aus Japan heimzuholen; das entsprechende Budget genügt.

Richtig, man hat alle Spieler aus jeder Profiliga der Welt ins Programm gepackt, und zwar mit Haut und Haar (-farbe), Position, Können, und Wert. Alles in allem sind somit mehr als 22.000 Kicker aus über 1.400 Teams vertreten, dazu alle Nationalmannschaften und internationalen Pokale.

Für diese Test lag uns allerdings die englische Version vor, während die deutsche Fassung mit weiteren Feinheiten aufwarten wird - aber wozu gibt's alle vier Wochen einen neuen Joker? Genau, im nächsten Heft können und werden wir Euch über die überarbeitete Version informieren.

Und weil auch noch ein wenig Platz für unseren tollen Wettbewerb bleiben muß, sei nur noch kurz angemerkt, daß grafisch kein Quantensprung stattgefunden hat; auch die Statistiken sind eher zweckmäßig geraten.

Der Sound allerdings ist besser geworden, und das Joystick-Management hat man pefekt im Griff. Wenn es um Action und Management geht, kommt der neue Weltmeister also von Sensible Software! (mm)



Sensible World of Soccer logo

And the clouds parted, and a choir came forth and sang: "Forth thre was Sensible Soccer. And now there is..."

Swimming always troubled me. Up till the age of eight I couldn't do it at all, and every afternoon had to flounder about in the shallow end with children much younger than me, and the chlorine stinging my eyes. I tried to do it, I really did and did just what it said on the posters around the walls. But while everyone else floated, I just seemed to sink.

My arm bands were getting righter every year, and my nose clip had long since stopped preventing the icy water from filling my nostrils. And afterwards, when the rest of the class had gone home, I'd sit in the changing rooms and weep, the tears flowing down my legs and trickling into the drain the floor.

Until finally, one day, at the age of eleven, I managed it. I had to hold on to the side a bit while the teacher wasn't looking, and afterwards be pulled from the water exhausted, but I finally managed to swim from one end of the pool to the other. Now I swim 50 lengths before breakfast every morning, but the day I lined up in front of the whole school, oblivious to the way I towered above the children next to me, and received my one length swimming certificate from the headmaster was one of the proudest of my life.
And this is the other one.


POWER All-Time Top 100 and the AMIGA

GREEN
I stand before you today, noble readers of AMIGA POWER, holding a copy of Sensible World of Soccer, the greatest computer game ever created. It is, basically, Sensible Soccer - which still reigns supreme at the tops of both the AMIGA POWER All-Time Top 100 and the AMIGA POWER Readers' All-Time Top 100 - only with a whole load of management options that open up whole new vistas of potential. (Er. Am I rising to the occasion okay here?)

Now, we've written far too many reviews of Sensible Soccer to go through it all again from the beginning. So if you're in need of a recap, the original review in AP15 wasn't too bad, if a little short, and there was a one-page review of Sensible Soccer 92/93 in AP21 which'll bring you up to the date on the current state of play. Oh, except for International Sensible Soccer, but we didn't bother doing a review of that because they'd just put a referee in and that was about it.

So, think of International Sensible Soccer, except with a small rotating 'S' and the time at the top of the screen (if you're playing on a 1200), a stadium around the edge of the pitch (which actually improves the atmosphere immensely), a stats-screen after each match with details of possession and so on, the players each having individual strengths and weaknesses (more of which later), the tactics altering the way the game feels slightly (more of that later too), and there being a bit more control over tackles and headers (in fact, there's more on all this later), and that's the football playing side of SWOS. It's still great, and by a long way the best football game on the Amiga.

Then - and this is the biggie - there's all the management stuff which has been heaped on top.

Regular readers may realise that I'm not the most avid devourer of football management games. So I've enlisted the help of Paul and Steve, who relish football management games and who, through me, will explain how SWOS fits in to the general football management scheme of things.

Is it just an ordinary football game tarted up a bit with a rather more extensive-than-usual set of front-end menus? Or is it, bu neatly straddling the management and arcade football genres, about to turn the games world on its head, devastating entire continents with rivers of molten lava as it crushes the likes of Premier Manager 3 and Tactical Manager with one hand and Football Glory and Goal with the other?

Well... that might be going a bit far. SWOS has lots of management-style options, but it doesn't quite go in to the detail of a dedicated football management game. It doesn't have the financial jiggery-pokery of something like Tactical Manager - you don't get the opportunity to count up gate receipts, or improve your stadium. You have to worry about major stuff like transfer fees, obviously, but even then it's done in a rather clinical manner, with little opportunity of picking up a bargain through careful battering.

And there's none of the human element that makes On The Ball World Cup Edition so successful, with its eschewing of stats in favour of players' girlfriends and your own home life.

Instead, SWOS gives you an extraordinarily detailed, intense level of control over match tactics. More so, even, than in Premier Manager 3, the virtues of which Steve was extolling a few pages ago. For example, as well as instructing an individual player to move out of position when the ball moves to certain areas of the pitch (12 areas in PM3, 35 in SWOS), you can go on to specify the direction in which he should run if the ball is then kicked from that spot to another.

So you could have overlapping full backs in a 4-4-2 who would run round a midfield winger with the ball and provide him with another passing option, just as in real life. (The only thing you won't be able to do is engineer an off-side trap - Sensible have always excluded the off-side rule from their games, disapproving it on the grounds that it's a bit silly).


Probably notice once they've ploughed

GRASS
In a way, by looking at options available in SWOS, you can begin to understand why Sensi was such a good game to begin with. All this stuff has always been intrinsic to the way Sensi players behave, explaining why the game feels so much like real football. It's just that now you have the chance to fine-tune it all for yourself, and watch the results in action.

And then you've got a simply staggeringly array of teams to amuse yourself with. SWOS, in fact, includes about 1,500 teams from all around the world, encompassing over 36,000 players, and Sensible have hyped in the stats for every single one of them. And they tell us everything was up to date as of approximately 15 minutes before the game went of to be duplicated - even for the really obscure foreign teams.

All the teams are arranged into their own cups and leagues - 146 in all, ranging from the FC Cup to the Taiwanese Premier League. And, of course, you have the option to customise the teams in any way you see fit, and devise your own competitions. Phew.

The first thing Sensi veterans will probably notice once they've ploughed through all the menus and got a match started is that the players don't respond to the ball as readily as they used to.
There's nothing wrong here - it's because you really need to play around with the tactics editor before your players will start to move about properly (at least, we think so, although Sensible claim you shouldn't notice any difference) - but it does make the game a little less accessible.

You'll appreciate the time being on the screen all the time, and possibly be slightly irritated by the spinning 'S'. The stadium's good, as are the new crowd chants, which vary depending on where in the world you're playing. I can't honestly say I noticed the new way that tackles and headers work until it was pointed out to me (now, if you tap the fire button lightly as you go in for a tackle or header, you can nudge the ball gently rather than booting it for miles), but the facility's there if you want it.

But now, as you're playing, you can think: "Hmm, I could do with my defenders coming forward a bit more when the ball's up the other end". And then you can actually go into the tactics editor and sort it out. This is undoubtedly A Good Thing.

Alternatively, you might be approaching SWOS as a seasoned football management games player. And you might be a bit skeptical about the omission of stuff like gate receipts and stadium improvements.

Our Steve, for example, is a committed On The Ball fan, precisely because it goes into so much detail about all that kind of thing. He enjoys keeping tabs on his players' love lives (in a strictly professional sense) and getting home to find his wife's left him because he's been spending so much time at work. He also likes all the badly-drawn pictures of men in sheepskin coats. Steve is the sort of person SWOS will find it hardest to appeal to. However, Steve thinks SWOS is the greatest game he's ever played.

Paul, on the other hand, plays Championship Manager '93. He laps up its reams of facts and figures, and doesn't miss the plot stuff of silly pictures one bit. Paul also thinks SWOS is the greatest game he's ever played. Although it helps, of course, that he also likes Sensible Soccer a lot.

The brilliant thing about SWOS if you're playing it from a manager's point of view is that, once you've picked your squad, sorted out their formation and fiddled about with all the tactics, you can then sit back and watch the results unfold before your eyes in the form of the best football game on the Amiga. It's stacks better than a textual match commentary, or even Premier Manager 3's graphical display, the sole drawback being that you don't know what the players who aren't around the ball are up to because you can only see a small portion of the pitch on the screen. And you can interrupt the match to give the players new instructions based on the tactics you came up with before the match, and make substitutions and everything. And, of course, if you're a player/manager you'll be able to join in the game as well.

The ultimate way of playing SWOS would be to follow through an entire career as a player/manager, which throws up some quite terrifying theoretical numbers. A career lasts 20 years, and if you're really good and get through to all the finals and everything, you can expect to play a maximum of about 70 games per season. At a minimum game-length of three minutes, plus a couple of minutes per game on the menus, that's a total playing time of, er, (3+2)x70x20 = 7000 minutes, or 117 hours, or nearly five days, playing day and night without even stopping to go to the toilet or anything. Blimey.

Your career will be further enlivened by an achievement screen, which updates you on your progress, and the possibility of being offered an international management job if you do really well.

While there'll always be room for quirky rivals like Empire Soccer on the one hand, and On The Ball on the other, Sensible World of Soccer does, basically, destroy all its direct rivals in an explosion of apocalyptic dimensions like that bit in Star Wars where the Death Star blows up Princess Leia's planet. No matter how many football games you've already bought, this is better than all of them.


FUN WITH FORMATIONS

1. PLAYING SAFE
Sensible World of Soccer
The plan: Every time the ball enters our half, 'the lads' all dash back and form a defensive wall across the goal.

 
Sensible World of Soccer
In practice: Hm. A nice idea in theory, but the wall seems suspiciously easy for the other team to penetrate.

2. THE SCRUM
Sensible World of Soccer
The plan: Wherever the ball goes, 'the boys' will all crowd round it so the other team can't get near.

 
Sensible World of Soccer
In practice: All well and good until the ball gets knocked outside the group, whereupon the other team leap on it and scurry off towards the goal.

3. NOT MY DEPARTMENT, GUV
Sensible World of Soccer
The plan: As soon as the whistle blows, 'the lads' will run away off the pitch as quickly as possible.

 
Sensible World of Soccer
In practice: The opposition rapidly score several goals in succession, and the goalie tenders his resignation.

4. FORMATION UNDERPANTS
Sensible World of Soccer
The plan: 'The lads' will maintain tight formation in the shape of a pair of underpants. Can't fail.

 
Sensible World of Soccer
In practice: Confused and demoralised, the opposition concede defeat. (No idea what this picture is doing here.)


TACTICS

The ability to change the formation of players, and to specify exactly where all the players should be when the ball is in each area on the pitch, isn't new. But what Sensi does is make it work. It divides the pitch into 35 areas, and not only lets you define where each player should run to when the ball moves into each one, but which way they should run if the ball then moves from that spot. It sounds rather complicated and, indeed, it is, but SWOS provides plenty of editing tools to make the process easier. In fact, here's an example that Paul's put together.

Step 1: "First I picked a 4-3-3 formation. A nice, simple playing formation."

Step 2: "After playing for a while I noticed that for my style of play, my star forward (number 7) wasn't running into space when I put the ball through the midfield to number 10."

Step 3: "So into the Tactics Editor we go, and I move the ball on the pitch to approximately where it was in the game when the, ahem, mistake occurred. Right, now I move player 7 up and over a bit, move player 10 down a bit towards me, so he can run onto the ball, and then I save the formation."

Step 4: "Next game, I select my formation, and get to work."

Step 5: "I deliberately spend a lot of time trying to get the ball into the right position. To see if my formation works. And it does. And, again, here's a screenshot to prove it."

Using the tactics editor you can move defenders up slightly to annoy attackers, move midfielders around to give coverage on forward runs, or even go for the counter attack from a corner with a lone man up frong. "It truly is a brilliantly executed concept," says Paul, "and the best example of tailoring a football game to your own ideas that I've ever seen."

DIY COMPETITIONS

As well as customising players and teams, SWOS lets you set up leagues, cups and tournaments in any way you like. For example:

Sensible World of Soccer
Here we've set up a cup featuring 24 top Asian teams. All the matches are to be completed to a punishing schedule within four weeks.

Sensible World of Soccer
In the first round they're divided into three groups of eight teams. Within each group, each team plays every other twice, just to make sure.

Sensible World of Soccer
16 teams then go on to the second round, where they're divied into four groups and play each other three times for an especially decisive result.

Sensible World of Soccer
Then it's on to the quarter finals.

Sensible World of Soccer
And the semi-finals. We've specified penalties in the event of a replay, although the possibility of this is remote given that matches include extra time. And finally the, er, final. In this, the two teams clash a gruelling four times before a winner is decided.


Sensible World of Soccer logo CU Amiga Superstar

Price: £29.99 Publisher: Renegade 071 481 9214

How can Sensible Software improve on perfection? Rik Skews is the lucky man with the answer.

Disappointment. Not a word you'd expect to find in a review of one of the finest games ever created, but that was my initial impression on playing the original Sensible Soccer way back in 1992.

The sound, and in particular the graphics, were basic even for over two years ago. However once seated and playing I was instantly hooked and barely a day has gone by since when I haven't had a quick kickabout. And that's obviously been the case for thousands of other computer owners since, as Sensible Soccer remains one of the best selling Amiga titles of all time and has been converted to just about every other format available.

Like all of Sensible Software's titles, Sensible Soccer's success lies in its gripping gameplay, but also in its highly responsive control system which is unmatched in any other sports game.

Tapping the fire button results in a small pass while yanking the stick back at an angle pulls off a spectacular banana kick. The control is very, very intuitive and moves are carried out in a split second without having to worry about awkward joystick combinations.

Critics though, have pointed out how unlike a real footy match Sensi Soccer is and this is a fair comment. But while Electronic Arts' FIFA International Soccer captures the look of the sport much more faithfully, its cumbersome control method where the computer tries to take over at every opportunity, makes playing frustrating at times and goalscoring a matter of luck.

And while I might share the same birthday as Tony Dillon I'd have to disagree with his rating of Cro Team's Football Glory. There is no denying that it plays a fine game of football, probably the best after Sensi in fact, but it too is let down by its difficult to master control system and a number of frustrating bugs.

Sensible Soccer seems pretty much perfect then, especially in two-player mode, but there were a few minor niggles. Firstly the game becomes too easy, even against classy Series A opposition, while the players themselves tended to play much the same, no matter what position they were supposed to be representing.

There was also no need for substitutions as until Version 1.1 appeared, players were never injured or booked. And there were a couple of spots on the pitch form which the expert player could be assured of scoring, even from 50 yards.

Sensible ironing
Thankfully all of these problems have been ironed out in Sensi World, with the difficulty level pitched much higher and more realistically. Come up against Giggs and the rest of the Manchester United dream team and the player's defence will know it, no matter how good a team they are themselves.

Scorelines too, are far more faithful. Nil-nil is the norm now, rather than five-three. Indeed it's worth pointing out that it took me three games to find the back of the net, so I imagine those new to Sensi will have some hard grafting ahead of them before they hit the top of the league.

Injuries are now a worrying reality, although serious injuries are rare; a four match resting period is common. This can still be very, very annoying if a key player is lot at cup ties though.

The different types of injuries that can occur can be kept track of on the squad details screen. A bandaged head means that the player has simply taken a slight knock while a red cross with a number inside represents the number of days that player will be out injured. Fear the black cross because this means the player has been seriously injured and will be layed out for the rest of the season.

Apart from replacing the injured, substitutes now have a much more important role. As in real life, only two are available so choosing them with care is a priority.
For instance, if Blackburn are the opposition it might be an idea to have spare defenders to combat Sutton and Shearer, while a couple more strikers would be fitting against a lowly FA Cup first round team.

These management options have a far greater impact on the gameplay than the first game. Indeed there's an option to play as just as manager. But you'd miss out on such good gameplay and all the brilliant matches themselves which can either be played as a one match friendly, or as part of an in-depth one season or 20 season career.

Do I not like stats?
All the players from 1,400 world clubs and 131 national sides have been included and they're up to date for the 94/95 season. The data on each player is astonishing: and as well as including the right hair and skin colour, it also includes their particular skills. This is a Godsend for the footy statistics fan, as the transfer market has an option to select not only what type of player is required but also what type of skill, from passing to finishing.

This means that the knowledgeable can stay away from the famous and high priced names and instead scour the lower leagues for talent, not just in England but from every major league in the world. Most teams are happy to flog players languishing in the numbers 13 to 16 shirts and often at a lower than stated price.

The transfer market allows the player to put to five of his own team on the market, although quite often offers will come in for other players. The value of players varies on how they are performing. A goalie with holes in his hands would soon plummet in value while a striker that bags a hat-trick every match becomes top of the wanted list.

Similarly a player that's rotting in the reserves loses value slowly but surely. If you're a competent enough player it's possible to put a defender in a striker's position, score plenty of goals, increase his value and then flog him for a tidy sum.

The tactics section of the game has also been vastly overhauled. As well as more than double the number of preset formations it's possible to create and edit up to six from scratch.

The wealth of new features available adds considerably to the experience fo playing Sensi World, creating a game that remarkably is better than the first.
The increased difficulty level is a major boost, especially for Sensi pros, but the it's the management options that give the game a razor sharp cutting edge.

Being successful with a team playing in a formation exclusively created by yourself - and full of players you bought is vastly satisfying, as is picking up a low league player for a few quid and flogging him for a million a year or so later.

The greatest and most enjoyable game I've eery played, Sensible World of Soccer is a landmark software title that once again shows the pedigree of Sensible Software and of course the Amiga.


SELF CONTROL

Sensible World of Soccer comes with ten of the most popular formations used in modern football, from the traditional 4-4-2 to the more experimental 4-2-3 and Sweeper formations. As well as this there is an opportunity to create up to six individual formations which can be saved for later use. Upon deciding to edit a team a grid comes up with 240 positions representing where each player can be at any one time. Another 35 squares represent everywhere the ball can lie. Each player in the team can be moved wherever desired to correspond with the lie of the ball. Confusing at first but worth persevering with as it's possible to define a formation where all the players end up in the opposition six yard box every time the ball does!

MONEY TALK

As the saying goes: 'You get what you pay for' and that's the case in Sensible World of Soccer. Giggs might cost £8 million but his control and pace will reap dividends and soon pay back the investment. Be careful though, just because a player costs £2 million or more it doesn't necessarily mean that he'll be right for your team. I spent over £2 million on Andy Townsend whose slow pace didn't fit in with the rest of my racy mid-field and consequently ended up part exchanging him for half his value. Make sure you only buy a player when strictly necessary as their value can plummet if left in the reserves for any length of time. If you've transfer listed an expensive player don't necessarily take the first offer.

When playing Aberdeen I refused three separate deals for the £2.25 million rated Eion Jess and ended up getting £3.5 million./ Equally don't get greedy. No team will offer more than two improved offers so it's usually a gamble to ask for more once an improved offer has been put up. If the player's not that important to you, take the improved money offer and run!

YEP, HE'S THERE AS WELL!

I'd hate to have had to enter all the details for the 26,000 or so players featured in Sensible World of Soccer, all of which are based on their real life counterparts. An example of Sensible World of Soccer's incredible attention to detail is shown below. For our non New Zealand readers Burnside are a team from their Southern division. I would like to point out though, that my home team the trusty Littlehampton Marigolds are nowhere to be seen (still perhaps that mirrors real life too). And Alan hasn't been able to find his cousin, captain of Sligo Rovers (OK, so you mightn't have heard of them before) for the last few years. Yet.



Sensible World of Soccer 95/96 logo

Reviewed by Andy Maddock

At this point in the review, I'm supposed to begin with a nice introduction - possibly talk about the first few versions of SWOS, or even the other bizarre fruit versions. But no. What's the point in building up a game that needs no build up.

Some might say Sensible World of Soccer lost its appeal after a while because off the bugs and bizarre crashes. Admittedly, I never experienced any crashes although the major bug that most people found irritating was the monetary system. There were ways of recruiting 'free' 10 million pound players, and players disappearing off the face of the earth, and no matter how many goals your striker scored, he would still end up at half the value he started at.

Renegade, the publishers of the first edition, are back with a pseudo-update disk with lots of new features that will undoubtedly spring the life back into your old version of SWOS.

The first obvious update is the new teams. All the clubs from the '95-'96 season are in their respective divisions, and all the new signings and values are included. And unfortunately for some, Eric Cantona has returned.

There was a version of SWOS that appeared on some coverdisks. This contained updated information on teams and most of the bugs had been fixed, and, of course, when this version hit the shops, Eric Cantona's sentence was uncertain, so they left him out. But now he's back - talking more rubbish than ever before! The most recent updated signings are Mark Hateley at QPR, Paul Gascoigne at Rangers, Roberto Baggio at AC Milan and, of course, David Ginola at Newcastle.

When you begin a career you can enter your nationality so you know which country should be approaching you for international management. Yes, this option is finally here! Even though the original SWOS manual stated this option could be obtained, it never appeared.

All the new kits have been implemented, although they still have the same designs. For instance, Newcastle now boast their excellent away strip of claret and blue hoops.


If you're a real fan of Sensible Soccer, then this is an absolutely essential purchase

In the first SWOS it was extremely difficult to assess if a player would be good for your club, as there was no way of comparing stats - the only indication was the price tag. Now the players are all rated in stars, and the more stars the better the player - simple!

One of SWOS' rules which, to be honest, I didn't even notice until a few months ago, is that you are allowed three substitutes, and the can all be outfield players. This is why Vinny Jones ended up in the net after their keeper got himself sent off.

When you enter the squad select screen, not only are you presented with 'Goals' but you now have a training facility. The idea is to control your 'A' team against your 'B' team. Your first team contains all the players that would feature in real life, and the second team contains mock-up players to act as reserves, loan and trial players.

These can be brought into the side at any time during the season and if they are any good, their value will begin to increase, so those million pound youngsters like Robbie Fowler can now successfully be achieved. You play these games on a pitch reminiscent of the first Sensible Soccer - hardly any sound and no stadium.

There are actual in-game differences to this new version, but only small ones. Your players' names now appear in the top left-hand corner of the screen; you can now head the ball without ridiculously diving about the place; the crowd now jump up and down like proper fans should; when the players score they will show their jubilation with their arms; it's now a lot easier to run around players, especially if you're controlling someone like Alan Shearer; and to top it all off, with a quick press of the joystick you can now inform a player if he should come and collect the ball, or wait on the spot so if you want to pass the ball out to the wing, it will go to the wing.

The differences are merely cosmetic and affect the gameplay minimally, although if you were to return to your original game you'd miss these slight changes an awful lot.


Sensible Planning

Sensible Soccer has been going for a long time now. The first version ever seen appeared on various coverdisks throughout the industry and to be honest, it was pretty unplayable.

Then came the first official Sensible Soccerwhich was reputed at that time to be the best Amiga game ever. Then followed version 1.1 which featured a referee and updated teams. After this came several bizarre versions - which also appeared on coverdisks. There was also a fruit version whereby you could control either sensi-like oranges and apples. Along this was a Bulldog Blighty version which pitted England against Germany - not just in the world cup, but in 1944 as well!

The most recent version is undoubtedly the best. Sensible World of Soccer emerged as the ultimate football game on the Amiga. And now it's time to welcome the flood of data disks. This is now the second in the series. How many more? Who knows...

Final word

If you're a real fan of Sensible Soccer, then this is an absolutely essential purchase. Please keep me out of the "it's not worth it" debate, because there will always be someone who believes all these features should have been in the original - which is probably true.


Sensible World of Soccer 95/96 logo Amiga Format Gold

Warner Interactive * 1Mb Amigas * £24.99 * FG94%

It's back. Not that it's ever been away. This time round, though, it's not bigger, 'badder' and better than before.
It is, however, almost the same price as of old for minimal improvements. Which means that if you own SWOS already, the price is too prohibitive to justify purchasing this update (for that is all it is).

So, onward to the differences from SWOS 95. The first and most obvious change is the updated data. Newcastle are a blinding team to play now, as are Arsenal and numerous other Premier league teams with foreign signings. Collymore's great as well - surely some mistake.

After-touch has been around for years, now you can add it too on the deck passes. It makes the ball look as if it's skating, but when you get used to it, it can fox your opponent and gain extra ground and time for the rest of the team to push forward, or fall back.

Players are star-rated in the team listing and their three main attributes are highlighted beside the star rating. So, if you were up against a goalie like Schmeicel or Seaman, you'd probably be best off using a striker with a high velocity shot.

When playing the management side of the game, players who are played to their full go up in value and when, as a manager, you're particularly interested in another team's player, you can highlight them to make following their progress easier.

Not a great deal extra on offer, but if you're still struggling with an older version of Sensi - not SWOS - then it represents a must-buy.



Sensible World of Soccer 95/96 logo

Die nächste EM findet bekanntlich im Mutterland des Fußballs umd damit praktisch vor der Haustür von Sensible Software statt: Grund genug für die englischen Digi-Kicker, den besten Player-Manager der Welt auf den aktuellen Stand zu bringen!

An dem Actionliebhaber und Sportstrategen gleichermaßen ansprechenden Konzept mußte natürlich nichts geändert werden: Über 1.500 Mannschaften mit insgesamt 26.000 Spielern aus jeder erdenklichen Profilliga lassen sich hier auf dem Rasen und vom Büro aus betreuen - auf Wunsch darf man sich aber auch auf den Job des Managers beschränken.

Man kann eine komplette Saison durchexerzieren oder ein Freundschaftsspiel zwischen beliebigen Teams von Albanien bis Zimbabwe veranstalten; dazu kommen 146 fest eingebaute Wettbewerbe (Pokale, Turniere, Ligabetrieb etc.), die sich noch durch eine selbstgestrickte Competition ergänzen lassen.

Je nach Veranstaltungsart sind dabei bis 64 menschliche Teilnehmer zugelassen, nur im Karriere-Modus muß man sich wie gehabt 20 Spieljahre lang mutterseelenallein durchschlagen.

Der Weg zu Ruhm und Ehre ist in der Neuauflage um einiges steiler geworden, weil die CPU-Konkurrenz (genau wie die eigenen Leute) deutlich dazugelernt hat; vor allem die Torhütter fangen nun wirklich alles, was auch nur in ihre Nähe kommt.

Um so größere Sorgfalt sollte man dem Erstellen der Taktiken für die einzelnen Spielsituationen widmen, zumal, wenn das so komfortabel klappt wie hier. Und natürlich freut man sich dann erst recht über die hart erkämpften Treffer, die sich auch in der Wiederholung betrachten und auf Disk speichern lassen.

Die Replayfunktion arbeitet (inklusive Abspeichern) auf Wunsch automatisch, und auch sonst entdeckt man alle gewohnten Features: Die Matchdauer ist zwischen drei und zehn Minuten variierbar, der Untergrund kann individuell, saisonal oder zufallsgesteuert gewechselt werden, und mit dem eingebauten Editor werden alle Daten (Stand: September 1995) aktualisiert bzw. bei den enthaltenen Spaßteams nach Belieben abgeändert.

Die augenfälligsten Verbesserungen betreffen den Karriere-Modus. Hier kann man nun nämlich auch Reserve- und Testspieler einsetzen, was gelegentlich (nach ein paar Trainingseinheiten) zur Entdeckung von wahren Naturtalenten führt, die dann gleich in den Stammkader aufrücken.

Die einzelnen Kicker werden dabei neuerdings nicht nur mit ihrem Namen, sondern auch mit ihren jeweils drei individuellen Spezialitäten (Tackling, Paßspiel etc.)

aufgeführt.

Außerdem darf man sich jetzt vor jeder Begegnung entscheiden, ob man nur strategische Entscheidungen treffen oder mit dem Joystick auch aktiv ins Geschehen eingreifen will. Darüber hinaus gibt es selbstverständlich alles, was das Fußballerleben sonst so spannend und interessant macht: einen Transfermarkt, das Ausleihen von Spielern, Scouts, die fremde Talente bzw. Teams beobachten (zu diesem Zweck lassen sich sogar bestimmte Spieler markieren), sowie Statistiken und Tabellen ohne Ende.

Heimmanager, die sich bei all dem gut bewähren. Erhalten bald Angebote für einen Trainerjob beim Nationalteam von Venezuela oder der Turkei - wer diesen Posten in Brasilien, Deutschland, England oder einer ähnlichen prominenten Fußballnation bekleiden will, muß aber schon brillante Leistungen vorweisen können.

Grafisch hat sich hingegen eher wenig getan, am stärksten fallen hie das nunmehr animierte Publikum und die sich ändernde Bandenwerbung auf. Im übrigen wurde lediglich ein bißchen Kosmetik betrieben; so gibt's nun etwa eine Namenseinblendung des Spielers im Ballbesitz und eine Bewertung der Stars mit Sternchen à la Restaurantführer.

Immerhin können die Macher dabei auf ihre traditionsbewußte Kundschaft verweisen - die "Sensible"-Fans lieben ihre Knuddelmännchen nun mal und leiden mit ihnen, wenn ein böser Rechnerknecht ihre unteren Pixel regelwidrig bearbeitet.

Der Titelsong ist so cool, wie man es von John Hare und seinen Manne kennt, der Soundtrack in den Menüs aber relativ ruhig gehalten. Die Lebensäußerungen der Zuschauer und der sonstige Stadionkrach klingen ebenfalls prima, allerdings wurde man sich dazu auch einen gesprochenen Kommentar erwarten, wie er heute anderswo fast schon allgemein üblich ist.

Last but not least wurde die immer noch geniale Steuerung ebenfalls kaum verändert, man hat sie lediglich um ein "After-Touch-Passing" (der wahre Digi-Fußballer kennt den Ausdruck, alle anderen dürfen's getrost vergessen) und die jetzt möglichen Flugkopfbälle ergänzt.

Das geht soweit in Ordnung, doch würden wir uns für zukünfige Neuauflagen eine Mausabfrage in den Menüs (der Stick ist hier einfach zu lahm) und ansonsten eine Option für Zwei-Button-Pads wie am Mega Drive wünschen.

Wer bereits auf die Endnote geschielt hat, wird dabei festgestellt haben, daß wir dem Game trotz aller Detailverbesserungen keinen Hit mehr spendiert haben - obwohl sich der Vorgänger noch über satte 87 Prozent freuen dürfte.

Das wollen wir jetzt etwas genauer begründen: Zum einen ist das einzig Deutsche an dieser deutschen Version die übersichtliche Anleitung. Im Spiel selbst wird man dagegen duch und duch englisch bedient, und zwar bis hin zum Pfund Sterlung als Währungseinheit.

Des weiteren hätten die Programmierer wirklich eine HD-Installation vorsehen können, auch wenn sich die Nachlandezeiten mit 2 MB RAM in engen Grenzen halten und das Abspeichern von Spielständen recht problemlos vonstatten geht.

Drittens vermissen wir die witzigen render-Sequenzen von der PC-Version, und viertens will Sensible am Amiga keine CD-Fassung dieses Bestsellers vorlegen. Und weil schlißlich die meisten der Neuerungen ohne weiteres im Rahmen eines geldbeutelschonenden Updates zu realisieren gewesen wären, sahen wir uns nun mal leider zu gewissen Punktabzügen gezwungen...

Andererseits muß auch gesagt werden, daß für den Heimkicker, der gleichzeitig spielen und managen will, trotzdem immer noch kein Weg an Sensible World of Soccer vorbeiführt: Es ist und bleibt einfach der beste Player-Manager. Eine andere Situation dürfte vermutlich frühestens zum Jahresende entstehen, wenn die Engländer "Soccer 2000" vorlegen - aber bis dahin fließt noch viel Schweiß an den Kickerbeinen herunter! (mm)



Sensible World of Soccer 95/96 logo CU Amiga Superstar

Price: £24.99 Publisher: Warner 0171 391 4300

The best football game ever... bested? Shurley shome mishtake. CU Amiga's Sensi pilgrim investigates.

When I'm not sitting by the phone waiting for Commander Dykes to call with my next top secret CU assignment, I lead a second life. In between each Amiga games release (i.e. those occasional two month breaks - watch it Broughton - Ed) I muck about with Sony Playstations for another of EMAP magazines.

Now even though you may have seen these 'wonder machines' on various games programmes and in magazines over the last few months, for all its incredible polygon manipulation and breath-taking 3D, it still have yet to produce a product to impress me more than that all-time classic - Sensible Soccer.

When SWOS first appeared, even it took a while to really step ahead of the original Sensi as far as we were concerned. This was partly because of loyalty, but mostly because, when you get a game that's very close to something you know so well and yet contains so many changes, it's hard to accept and adapt.

Of course we did in the end, and SWOS became the standard version of the game, but then along comes this 95/96 business. Not only does it feature the updated team line-ups that we've all been gagging for, but also changes to the actual arcade section of the game.

This, as any Sensi fan will tell you, is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. Fortunately, the way these new features have been slotted into the existing game makes it a 'take it or leave it' affair.

The big match
So you've loaded up the game. What's changed? Well, apart from a gorgeous new purple background there's nothing that particularly catches your eye. Until, that is, you select a national team for a quick friendly and... MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF STARS!

Yes, gone are those lifeless team selections, replaced with a star rating system not unlike those used in the Premier Manager games. It's hard to say how accurate these ratings are because, fairly obviously, being in the national team, all of the players are of a high calibre anyway. Gazza gets five stars, but it;s still mostly down to your skills on-pitch as to whether he'll score eery time.

And it's easy to tell who's scored now, thanks to the name of the player currently on the ball being displayed above the time display. This also helps when you find some super-fast player against you and want to know who it is in readiness for approaching the transfer market.

Another helpful new feature includes being able to 'tag' players with a hi-lighting diamond during play. This means that, should you fancy, say, Ian Wright, you can tag him and then watch an Arsenal game, safe in the knowledge that you'll know which player he is at all times. Ah, but now I'm getting into the management side of the game and that's where things really have changed.

Each player (apart from having been updated to their new clubs with their new fees) carries three special statistics. A striker showing the letters HSF is particularly profient at Heading, Shooting, and Finishing. This also helps when scouting players, as you know whether you're getting an accurate passer with good control and speed (PBV) or one more likely to win tackles and headers and then have a crack up the field (HTS). This is very helpful when trying to build a we--rounded side.

Another new feature is the inclusion of brand new trial players and reserves. You can even create an entire 'B' reserve team that can be used to train new corners in friendlies against your A team (and no, B.A. and Face aren't in it).

Nitty gritty
All said and done, though, none of this matters unless you can still play the game and I know you're desperate to know how that's changed. Well, as soon as you get to the pitch you can see a few differences. The crowd now animates, waving scarfs, and jumping up and down, and there's also the aforementioned player names in the top left corner.

After a goal the scoring team run back to the centre spot waving their arms enthusiastically, and at the end of an important match (such as semi-finals) the teams stand in celebratory circles or flop into disappointed heaps depending on their point of view. Oh yes, and the advertising boards rotate in a realistic fashion. Hurrah.

And so we come to the match itself. Well everything is fine and groovy, apart from the fact that, if I'm not very much mistaken, the CPU logic has been tweaked, and these teams DO NOT play like the old guys! They are tough and clever. Approach for a tackle and they'll happily play it right back up the field to make a stronger attack. Scary stuff indeed.

After-touch is now available after passing. This works well, as it means you can pass, but pass a curving ball in front of the receiver, thus causing them to run into space. Very nice, and a realistic inclusion. Also on the passing front, you can snap the joystick into the centre to ensure the receiving player stand still to collect the ball. Both of these seem very subtle changes but once incorporated into your usual play, are tasty extras.

The only other major feature to tell you about is the new standing headers. This basically means that you can get players to jump up to the ball and then direct (with the joystick) the header in the desired direction. This isn't always easy to execute in frenzied play, but it avoid committing players to valuable seconds face down in the mud should they miss.

And there we have it - an excellent update indeed. One can't help but feel that perhaps the original SWOS should have been this polished first time round, but considering most people will want this if only for the updated teams, I won't harp on about bugs and such. It doesn't dramatically overshadow the original, but it's still the best footy game around.



Sensible World of Soccer European Championship Edition logo

Reviewed by Andy Maddock

Over the last six months or so, Time Warner Interactive has been releasing Sensible World of Soccer editions like nobody's business. But why? It's probably because Sensible Soccer is reputed to be the best game ever on the Amiga and these new versions manage to keep the fans of the game perfectly happy by continually updating competitions and teams.

The biggest step for TWI was the 95/96 version where features such as displaying the name of the player in the top left-hand corner, animated crows, team training and management records were introduced. All these features should have been included in the first version of SWOS.

Many people complained after the initial release of SWOS because it repeatedly crashed, the player ratings and values were all wrong and there were many small, annoying bugs which almost put people off the game for life. However, TWI stepped in with its first Sensible release and it was absolutely brilliant.

All the features which should have been included were there and to top things off, all the players' data including values and skills were updated.


All the features which should have been included were there and to top things off, all the players' data including values and skills were updated

The problem with club football games is the fact that players are transferring between clubs more than ever, and with the new ruling coming in for next season, the transfer market will see more movement from week to week. Obviously the game will outdate itself and become unrealistic.

TWI has decided to launch its new release in line with what is the biggest fotball event to hit England in 30 years and that's Euro '96.
By the time you read this the European Championships will have been battled out at various football grounds such as Old Trafford, Elland Road and Anfield to find the best team in Europe. However, the biggest talking point of the event has almost certainly been the groupings. Although Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Wales failed to qualify, Scotland fought through to meet England in the same group, which will, without doubt, prove to be one of the most competitive matches to everyone involved.

Sensible World of Soccer is set to create all the finest moments by setting up the entire tournament for you. All the correct groups are selected with all their corresponding fixtures, and although Terry Venables decided his squad well after SWOS was released, Time Warner has managed to pick a side that corresponds with some of the team.


Minor alterations

You can also bear in mind that on the PD movement there are a few SWOS editors around allowing you to fiddle with the players' values and names. You should be able to find one on Aminet somewhere. The included custom team editor which comes with the original game is pretty awful because you can't import your own teams into proper competitions.

If you can get hold of one of these, then within minutes you will be able to update your game as soon as a transfer is made, which will please any SWOS lover.

Final word

The actual gameplay hasn't changed a single bit - you may have to wait and see if there's a Sensible World of Soccer '96/'97 before you see some changes. But for now, the main alteration occurs with the player data, with team and player names changing. And remember, this version is still in line with this season, so you won't be able to play as Man City in the first division just yet.

If you want to update your version of SWOS with all the latest player changes then do so, otherwise you could be advised to wait to see if there's a new version in the pipeline.



Sensible World of Soccer European Championship Edition logo Amiga Format Gold

Andy Smith sews three lions on his shirt, sings a bit and prepares to fail to qualify for the second round.

Euro '96 is billed as the biggest sporting event to be held in Britain for 30 years which is strange, because last year's Youth Olympics were also hailed as the biggest sporting event to be held in Britain for the last 30 years. Ho hum. Marketing eh? It's a funny old game all right.

Euro '96 is going to be absolutely brilliant. England versus Scotland at Wembley is going to be incredible. I can hardly wait. The Quarter Finals and onwards are going to be particularly exciting - due to the major rule change being introduced.

After 90 minutes the game goes to extra time and the Golden Goal rule has its first showing in a major European Competition. The Golden Goal is the Euro '96 organisers way of saying sudden death and it works as you would expect. From the Quarter Finals onwards, if the scores are level at the end of 90 minutes the teams play a maximum of 30 minutes of extra time and the first side to score, wins. If there is no score at the end of the period of extra time then the game goes to penalties as usual.

GOLDEN RULE
The Golden Goal changes the whole shape of the game, that 90 minutes now becomes very important. You don't want to be playing for extra time at all because any kind of flukey goal can have you heading home. I reckon it is about time this rule was introduced anyway because penalties have always, always been a lottery.

Sure, they may be exciting for a few minutes, but then the game is exciting enough without having your progress in the competition decided by a single kick.

GOLDEN ERROR
This Golden Goal has been in debate for a long time but it is definitely happening according to the Euro '96 Press Office, who I rang to check with ust this morning (May 17). Maybe at Sensible should have rung them too because then maybe they might have included this crucial rule change in the game.

In Sensible's European Championship Edition of SWOS '95/'96 they have stuck to Quarter Final and beyond matches going on for the full amount of extra time. Sorry chaps, this isn't true. First goal in extra time wins.

POOR EXCUSE
Sensi would, presumably, defend themselves with a 'Well no firm decision had been taken when we were putting the competition together and we had to get the game out and on the shelves before the competition started'. Reasonable enough you'd think but it isn't.

Today is Friday May 17. I have a boxed copy of the game (exactly the one you're going to find on the shelves) and Euro '96 doesn't kick off until June 8th which is 33 days or just over 3 weeks away. Yes, things might have been a bit tight but I reckon there was plenty of time to get the rule included (the decision about the Golden Goal was taken long before today, incidentally), so Sensi will have to come up with a better reason.excuse.

I have another problem with this game. In SWOS '95/'96 you can create a European competition yourself using the game's DIY Competition option. You can pick 16 European teams, have them in four groups of four, have the top two teams qualify for the quarter finals when the competition becomes a knockout contest. Hmmm, isn't that just a little bit like Euro '96?

Well, yeeeees, but the major difference here is that you do not get to choose which teams go in which groups.

WHAT CHANGES?
European Championship Edition has Euro '96 already pre-set. With the right teams in the right groups and stuff. So what about all the gameplay improvements that Sensi have made? What about the increased passing aftertouch? What about the new, easier to score from, corners? And what about the updated players and stuff?

Well, the players have been updated sure enough, but there aren't any major changes to the gameplay. Even the subtle changes are subtle to the point that I didn't really notice 'em.

CASHING IN
This European Championship Edition has little to add to SWOS '95/'96 - simply the inclusion of the pre-set Euro '96 tournament. This is a cynical attempt to cash-in on those championships and although there is a part of me that says "Well,why the devil not? If they can get loads more people to buy the game then good for them. Have another Porsche Mr Hare."

But there's another part of me which shouts a bit louder and that says "Don't bother with it mate. If you've got SWOS '95/'96, then stick with that. This one's not worth forking out for."

At the end of the day you are left with what is still one of the greatest- ever games for the Amiga. If you have not already invested in a copy of SWOS, of whatever variety, then get yourself down to the shops and buy this version straight away.


GRAEME

As a non-football fan the significance of rulings such as the "Golden Goal" and the like, pass me by. However as a devoted SWOS acolyte, new developments in Sensible Soccer always grab my attention - if only for me to squeal "that should have gone in, it always used to", SWOS 95/95 certainly had me crying after a number of sure-fire goals had been saved, but after a few exciting and high-scoring games against Nick, I discovered there are new "scoring-spots" (which I will not divulge). It's a shame that you still can't install the game to hard disk though, as I could happily sacrifice a few Mb on my computer to get Liverpool performing just the way I want, and reduce the amount of disk-swapping needed.

JONESY

On a brief journey from the 'real' world of Total Football back to the familiar clutter of the AF office, it was a joy to be helping little sprites rush around the pitch once again. All right, getting stuffed when playing Bristol Rovers is always disappointing, but by the time I got rid of the joypad and had a sweaty joystick nestling in my palm, the old magic was back and I humiliated Andy 2-0 playing Croatia against Denmark. Sensible is brilliant. The Euro '96 hook is a rip-off - you certainly don't need this game if you've already got yourself a vesion of SWOS, but you do need Sensible World Of Soccer.

NICK

Well, you can't win can you. What would you do if you were Sensi? Hundreds of people whine at you all the time that the teams are out of date, that there should be this and that and whatever in the game. Then when you do release of version everyone claims taht you are cynically cashing in on the previous popularity of the game. Personally, I am one of the sad completists who would probably want to upgrade to the latest version, but I can see how others may disagree. The omission of the "Golden Goal" sudden death option is a major oversight for a game which is supposed to celebrate Euro '96. The game does show a few other disturbing traits. Although some of the goal scoring positions have been tightened up, it does seem paradoxically easier to score with good players. In all my games against Graeme, Ybeoah seemed to basically score every time he got a shot in. The computer still plays like Steve Bradley on ten cans of Jolt Cola.
Still, on the final whistle, if you have never owned a version of SWOS before, this is the one game that should be in your collection above anything else.



Sensible World of Soccer European Championship Edition logo

Zum guten schluß (last in trilogy of reviews of Total Football, Five-a-Side Soccer & SWOS '95/'96 European Championship Edition) nun das x-te Update einer nach wie vor genialen Soccer-Sim: Die ECE-Version (nicht ECS) hat den sensiblen Fans zwar wenig Neues, aber immer noch das Beste zur aktuellen EM zu bieten.

Um das Verwirrspiel komplettzumachen, wurde "Sensible Soccer" ja bereits anno 1992 zur Erstveröffentlichung mit dem Untertitel "European Champions" versehen - damals war auch gerade Europameisterschaft. Seitdem hat sich dieses Fußballspiel allerdings vom reinen Actiongame zum Player Manager gewandelt.

So korrigierte man Ende 1992 zunächst mit der "1992/1993 Season Edition" kleinere und größere Fehler (endlich gab es z.B. gelbe bzw. rote Karten), wieder ein Jahr später bekamen die Besizter eines CD32 ihre Version, und pünktlich zur WIM erschien Mitte 1994 die "International Edition" mit aktualisierten Daten und erstmals einem auch am Screen sichtbaren Schiri.

Der Quantensprung erfolgte aber erst, nachdem Sensible Software Anfang 1995 zu Warner Interactive als Vertrieb gewechselt war und "Sensible World Of Soccer" veröffentlichte, die Grundlage des vorliegenden Fußball-fests.

Doch während damals die Welt im Titel mit zahlreichen Verbesserungen im Game einherging, hat sich diesmal kaum die Welt getan: Lediglich die potentiellen Teams und Spieler der Em '96 hat man eingebaut, finito.

Während sich die PC-Kicker also voraussichtlich auf mehr Management-Optionen, einen spielentscheidenden Trainingsmodus, verfeinerte Features für Ausleihkicker sowie u.a. auch die Möglichkeit, internationaler Präsident zu werden, freuen dürfen, bleibt uns Amigo nur die Freude über den Preis dieses Updates.

Denn knapp 40 Märker sind wahrlich nicht viel für ein Programm, das allein in Europa rund eine millionmal verkauft wurde und mit editierbaren Daten sowie erprobt genialem Gameplay aufwarten kann.

Apropos editierbare Daten: Da das Spiel schon von der EM ausgeliefert wurde, ist das vorab inkludierte Material natürlich nicht ganz auf dem neusten Stand - wie auch, wenn etwa die deutsche Nationalmannschaft ihre Aufstellung noch gar nicht bekanntgegeben hatte?

Doch egal, denn wer noch keine der anderen Versionen dieses Games besitzt und auch nicht unbedingt auf mondänes Iso-3D à la FIFA Int. Soccer oder Total Football besteht, sollte hier zuschlagen. Es wartet nämlich zwar unveränderte Nostalgo-Optik, aber eben auch prima Sound, Optionen satt und vor allem exzellente Spielbarkeit, Und unter den Blinden war der Einäugige halt schon immer König... (mm)



Sensible World of Soccer European Championship Edition logo

Are you SWOS 96 in disguise?

Only one week after signing for PC Answers I was already pining for my first team, AMIGA POWER. PC Answers may be a bigger club (though paying the same wages) with more staff, but it doesn't have SWOS '96 singing "You're a goal-scoring superstar hero" in the shower after training. And I miss that.

Imagine my delight then, when AP's new managerial guru Hfuhruhurr asked me to moonlight as his senior scout. It wasn't long before we were discussing the nature of my first scouting mission.

"Martin, I know that when I was managing arcane you recommended the season's top-scorer, SWOS '96, to this club," Hfuhruhurr began, "and so I'm looking to you for another inspired piece of talent spotting." I nodded before he continued: "Next season I'm planning to play SWOS '96 alongside my recent signing Total Football but feel I need someone to just behind the front two."

"There is a lad who's already been brought to my attention by my scout Deirdre from London. This lad is the latest offspring from a very successful footballing family, they younger brother of SWOS '96 in fact". Deirdre tells me he has all the star qualities associated with his Grandad, Sensible Soccer, and his dad, SWOS, but was not sure if he was too much like his brother. As you know, we are not a rich club so I want to make sure that he'll compliment SWOS '96 and Total Football. Do you understand?"

I glanced briefly at the information handed to me. "SWOS 96 - European Championship Edition eh? When's he playing next?" I inquired.
The gaffer grimaced: "Unfortunately, he's playing for an Action XI versus Footy Manny Sim XI in a charity match for the Amiga, tonight. Watch him there and report back to me tomorrow."


My game than what you saw

LONG RANGER
Watching the fresh-faced youngster, he looked exactly like his older brother. But I noticed something different about him. He had the ability to put swerve on very short passes and could score from a greater variety of positions than his brother. I made a note of these two facts.

In the bar after the match, SWOS 96 - European Championship Edition approached me. "You're from AMIGA POWER aren't you? Are you going to sign me?" he blurted. "There's much more to my game than what you saw tonight," promised the youngster. "I know all the current players and teams in the world just like my brother did last year, and I've also taken a particular interest in this year's Euro '96, hence my name. I've learnt the teams participating in it which my brother didn't and..." But he knew, from the moment I left him talking, he just hadn't done enough.

The next morning I reported back to Hfuhruhurr. "SWOS 96 - European Championship Edition is excellent. His first touch and passing is better than his brother's, he's up-to-date with the current football world of transfers and has taken an outstanding interest in this year's Euro '96. He's not cheap, either. I recommend that we look elsewhere."

Hfuhruhurr nodded. "Not to worry, I've someone else I'd like you to look at. His name's Team and apparently he's quite useful. Look what it says on his box..."



Sensible World of Soccer European Championship Edition logo CU Amiga Superstar

Price: £29.99 Publisher: Time Warner 0171 391 4300

As one of the best selling Amiga games ever Sensible World Of Soccer takes some beating. I've seen grown men reduced to gibbering wrecks if they have not played Sensi for a day or so. I have seen fights break out over a last minute vicious tackle in a sensitive competition scenario. Tears, laughs, sore hands and bleary eyes. Sensi is the culprit. It's also responsible for burning a hole in people's pockets though.

European Championship Edition is the fifth 'major' update to the Sensi format and you've got to start wondering just when they're going to come out with something actually new. I've put 'major' in inverted commas because this is not actually a dramatically changed version of SWOSS at all.

The game engine itself remains exactly the same as SWOS 95/96, the box gets a big 'Special Edition' badge and the manual has been reprinted with the European Championships logo, but that;s nearly it.

The changes are, in effect, merely cosmetic. Sensi's statistician has gone in and updated the teams, and when you enter the European Championship mode the current roster of teams in the summer '96 competition appears but this is, make no mistake, SWOS 95/96 and with a little effort you could have made up this competition yourself.

I'm not complaining about SWOS 95/96 at all. It's still the best soccer game available, not just on Amiga, but on any other games machine too. The 95/96 version, more than even the original updated (and bugged to hell) SWOS, stands up as the definitive game, with increased management elements (never boring though), additional features and more crowd samples.

My first impression was to mark this down because we have seen it all before - a minor update sold as a marketing exercise. But that would be doing it a disservice. Sensi is brilliant and nothing can take that away from it. However, if you've already got SWOS 95/96 don't bother with this update unless you're trying to complete a Sensible World of Soccer collecting or something.

It will drive you mad spending £20 and discover that there is damn all difference between it and the one you bought at Christmas. If you still haven not upgraded from the first Sensi or indeed the first SWOS, then this is the most up-to-date version you can get, and if you are still a fan then you would be mad not to get it.



Sensible World of Soccer 96/97 logo CU Amiga Superstar

Price: £24.99 (£9.99 upgrades) Publisher: Warner Interactive 0171 391 4300

Egads! Another SWOS update, you say? Well flambe my hobnobs if these don't come along more often than the 38 bus to Good Time City.

Ah, but this feels good! It's been too long since I wandered up to my Amiga room like some sad-but-happy old bloke trundling down to his allotment shed. It really is the only way to be; lock away the harsh realities of telephone bills and responsibilities, load up ye good olde SWOS, and get into some seriously week-wasting career.

Yes, we're here again in familiar territory my old chums, with that reassuring ache in the wrist (and you can keep your dirty comments to yourselves, thank you) and the knowledge that the moment you lose concentration you'll be relegated from managing the mighty Arse' to cleaning the urinals with a toothbrush for Southend United.

But that is the good thing about SWOS and indeed the legacy of Sensible Soccer as a whole; you can leave it alone for a year, but the moment that menu tune plays out, a surge of nostalgia-fuelled adrenaline floods through the body, and the detail of every little cheap shot and set play comes as naturally as it ever did. So why exactly are we here again? Simple - it's time once again to update the teams. It you're already an owner of SWOS then you can simply pick up the upgrade for a tenner, of should you be a Sensi virgin then now's the chance to open your mind...

There's only one
To be honest there's really no point in going over ground that, to be frank, we've already kissed quite enough times already thank you. Many pretenders have tried to draw us in in the past but there'll only ever be one true footy game as far as most of us are concerned and that's Sensi.

Having evolved from the simple but-intricate kickabout that Sensible Soccer was to the deeply involving strategy/arcade/simulation of Sensible Soccer, we now find ourselves faced with the near-perfect formula that needs no improvement, simply an occasional update to avoid falling behind (and let's be honest, it was getting hard to take Manchester United seriously with Cole up front!).

Kick off
Time for a new career methinks. And look; Arsenal are as up to date as any Gunners fan could want. Hartson and Helder wait patiently on the bench hoping that someone better gets injured, while new-ish right-winger, Vieira, snuggles in amongst some of the Premiership's most matured players - all fronted by the stunning-this-season Ian Wright.

Okay, let's get going... but wait! What's this? Surely not a new option in SWOS? But it is - in the guise of a training facility. However, unlike many management games, this isn't to improve your players' stats, but instead a chance to play against the sub-filled Arsenal B Team, making changes to both sides as you go, and checking out possible A Team inclusions. (Oh yeah - it's also pretty handy for warming up it, like me, you haven't played for a few months!).

And we're off - albeit after a quite training match to soften up those knuckle joints - straight back into the familiar embrace of hour after hour of crowd-accompanied footy joy. It's all as it was when we first discovered SWOS, with bending passes being used to lead players forward, new-improved goalies, and the welcome addition of heading CPU teams. If you want to get REALLY anal, you can still set up your own tactics and formations, but as is always the case, the best fun's to be had with a gang of mates and a good old-fashioned knockout league.

And there you have it. Still the best football game ever. Still worth playing never mind the rendered and motion-captured pap the 'wonder consoles' are putting out. And STILL as captivating and addictive as it ever was. Did you expect anything less? I didn't think so...