How do you make your new footy game stand out from the billions of other footy games clamouring for your World Cup USA business? Easy! Insert a fantasy theme, weapons and abolish all the rules.
At least you do if you're the cheeky tinkers who gave us Brutal Sports Football. Polish down your swords, load your guns and take to the pitch for a match that would even make Vinny Jones flinch.
While violent sports games are a pretty obvious idea, there are surprisingly few that spring in mind - unless you include rugby. The most obvious, and probably best, are the Speedball games by the saucy Bitmap Bro's.
Viewed from above, it's a sort of basketball with fists combination. As with Wild Cup, you can collect power-ups to cripple the opposition and then punch your way to their goal before hurling the ball in. The simplicity works in the games favour and it's easy to get straight in there and start scoring even for a beginner.
Other contenders include Smash TV which was more in a shoot-em-up vein. The original Brutal Sports Football follows very similar lines to Wild Cup, but it looks rather flat and suffers from the same sense of "what is going on?" that marrs its follow up
Oops. This is where the game falls down a bit. The marriage between sports game and beat 'em-up is a bit shaky, with neither aspect coming out any the better. The sport gets in the way of the violence, and the violence gets in the way of the sporting action. Too often the game degenerates into a frantic waggle-
Every now and then there's an opening at the goal (usually if the otherwise invincible goalkeeper is clobbered) and you remember that there's a ball involved in this game and hoof it goalwards. There's just no feeling of control over the action. Every time you score you know it was down to sheer flukiness rather than any premeditated tactics paying off.
The isometric view also causes problems by making it difficult to see where other players are in relation to yourself, so any precise passing is ignored in favour of the "boot it up the field" approach. There are some power ups to be collected, usually by accident, and matches that are drawn result in a penalty shoot-out using real guns.
The trouble is that there are so many good ideas and neat touches struggling to peek out from beneath a rather unplayable game, and this gives you a glimpse of just what the game could have been like.
Sound is, for the most part, functional. There's a pleasant enough tune that somehow sounds like every other football-
With the violence aspect I expected some more excruciating sounds to compliment the breaking of bones, but chances are you won't notice the sounds anyway as you'll be to busy scrabbling for the ball.47%
Good and bad in this department. The progression from Brutal Sports Footy manifests itself most obviously in the isometric viewpoint, which gives the game a much more fleshed-out feel. There are also improvements in the addition of pictures of whichever player has control of the ball. The more battered they get, the more their portrait bleeds like its nose and mouth.
Icky, tasteless but very handy when you want to finish off a weakened opponent. The violence is nicely handled as well, with showers of blood coming from every collision, and the occasional decapitation from a well-timed flying tackle giving a new meaning to taking a header.
The downside comes when you try and actually control what is going on. The viewpoint counts against the game when you try and carry out anything even remotely involving precision or skill, as the ball is often lost in the midst of the players.51%
It's all a bit disappointing really. The idea is sound and the implementation almost pulls it off, but the clumsy controls reduce the game to a random mess of punching and occasionally making a run for goal.
The most annoying aspect is that there is so obviously a very good game lurking in here, but all you ever get are tantalising glimpses of how good it could be. For example, the players not under your control are aggravatingly useless. You make a run for goal with another member of your team in tow. Ideally he would sort out the goalie while you score, but what tends to happen is that he stands by while the goalkeeper smacks your head in and the opposing team thieve the ball and leg it.
All in all, a god game that suffers due to its annoying quirks. Practise might well allow you to get past the obstructive melee of frantic joystick waggling, but the sad truth is that you shouldn't need to practise just to enjoy the game.
With so many other footy-