Wild Cup Soccer logo

Millennium's latest entry in their Brutal Sports series aims to put the violence back into footy. Daniel Whitehead kicks it in the head with studded boots on.


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-fest as you just hit fire repeatedly to duff up the opposition.

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-related tune you ever head. The in-game sounds are just your basic kicking noises and some crunches when players thunder into each other.

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.




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.




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-related games out at the moment, there's no need to struggle with this one, which is a pity.

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All good things must come to a sequel - so they say.

Of Brutal Sports Soccer by another name. (Hang on, let's get something sraight. Fotball is the famous sport involving kicking a ball with great skill into the opponent's goal. Soccer is a vile euphemism used by American people who wrongly consider their game American Football, to be football. - Ed)
We're looking at Millennium's pop at the World Cup gravy train, but as you'd imagine from the team that brought us Brutal Sports Football (AP32, 88%) this one's kind of different from the rest.

The thinking behind Wild Cup Soccer seems to have been this: if Brutal Sports Football made us loads of cash and got great reviews and was a pretty funky game, then we can do it all again for soccer with the minimum of play testing, changes or thought and still make pots of cash, right?

Cataloging everything that's wrong with Wild Cup Soccer would take much more than this humble page, so you're getting just the highlights. Before that, it's worth telling you that the teams are made up of goblin-type thingies and the setting is some sort of Tolkienesque past where burly warriors play footy to win the Wild Cup. As well as taking part in the Wild Cup compo, you can also play (ho ho) an 'unfriendly' or in a league, but more of that in a bit. In the mean time - the problems.

You can run much faster if you go right


  • The sound consists mainly of naff music and crowd noise. I couldn't get rid of the music and rapidly got bored of the single crowd sample that goes "Oooooh!" every time a player is tackled. Another game played is silence.
  • A combination of the letterbox-shaped playing area, large character graphics and an isometric view means that you can only see a tiny amount on the screen at any one time.
  • For reasons never fully explained (although I suspect it's shoddy programming) most of the players spend anything up to, say, 20% of the time being completely invisible. Although the animations of the players are very nice, it's all spoiled when they flicker in and out of existence.
  • In between games, you can change the team line-up from offensive to defensive, buy and sell players and tool up your team with anything from swords and shields to handguns and rocket launchers. I can see that making your team harder might profit you in the league, but as I won every game I played without ever trading players, buying weapons or altering my tactics in any way, all of these add-ons seem entirely superfluous.
  • Talking of tactics, how about this one? For reasons never fully explained you can run much faster if you go right than in any direction. Of course, being an isometric view, right means that you run diagonally across the pitch, so if you pass the centre line and then press right, you can whoosh past all the defenders and end up near the goal mouth. Goal!
  • On my first ever go, I won the Wild Cup. To prove it wasn't a fluke, I did it again, and then gave it to someone who also won it. Value for money and long lasting gameplay? You betcha.
  • The computer players make no attempt to run around your players, so yu can stand still and beat them up. Using only the fire button and never touching the stick of the joystick itself,you can take every game to a nil=nil draw and a penalty shootout (involving - ho ho - running around with a shotgun and 'shooting' (you see?) opponents), and even score the odd flukey goal. Challenging gameplay? Nil points.
  • You can't play a league match or the Wild Cup with two players. Bah!

Proving you can have too much of a good thing, Millennium really messed on this one. They should have basked in the glory of Brutal Sports Fotball and waited until this one had some gameplay in it. Brutal Sports Hockey, Bowling and Synchronised Swimming? I hope not.

Wild Cup Soccer logo

Sick of football yet? The World Cup season always brings with it a plethora of footy games, but this year there's one company which has taken a slighlty different tack than normal. Join Andy Nuttall in a world where referees are aliens, ball-boys are vultures and the players, should they so wish, carry shooters...

Despite claims to the contrary by the likes of Maradona and Klinsmann, football is definitely not a violent sport. Each time you see them (and others like them) play, you're guaranteed not only a superb display of skill, but an excellent show of play-acting.

If, for instance, the "great" Diego is so much as touched by an opponent he clatters to the floor, clutching his leg, wearing a pained expression that wouldn't look awry on a cow after licking a stinging nettle. His Argentinean teammates then raise their arms aloft in mock despair, trying to goad the referee into awarding them a free-kick. Klinsmann's much the same, and if anything his dramatics are even more noticeable because he plays with ten other Teutonic robots, whose clinical, structured football doesn't normally need such antics.

But football's not usually like that. Sure, you get heels clipped and groins kicked; but put those footballing prima donnas in, say, Gaelic football or rugby, and they might really have something to cry about. They really are contact sports, and it takes a near-crippling tackle to put those players on the floor.

So football's an easy target, then, for the boys at Millennium to continue their Brutal Sports series. Beginning some months ago with their adaptation of American Football (a sport for nancies if ever there was one), Millennium is intending to Brutal-ise every sport they can - and the World Cup provided a brilliant excuse for the second on their list.

With Wild Cup Soccer we're treated to a 3D isometric view, looking down at the pitch from one corner (just like FIFA Soccer). Unexpectedly, there's actually a pretty good football engine in there, driving a game which might just have stood up on its own merit, without the need for blood and beheading... but, as the name suggests there is rather more to Wild Cup than any other football game.

You see, while the main structure of the game is what we're used to - 11 players a side, trying to boot a ball into their opponent's net - the rules have been relaxed slightly, to not only allow tackles from behind, but also to stab, maim and behead your opponent in order to get that vital goal.

In fact, in the Wild world chopping off heads is positively encouraged, because to get a 'Header', as it's known, means an extra $200,000 dollars at the end of a game. And that money comes in pretty useful.

If you earn enough money you can but yourself all sorts of goodies. $200,000,.as it goes, is almost enough to buy one of your players a Mortar Gun, the most powerful weapon which can bring you even more heads in the next game. The goalies, who spend much of their time at close quarters with marauding strikers, are provided for with a selection of swords, while defending hasn't been completely overlooked as a decent-sized shield is also on offer.

There's a whole arsenal of other weapons too, as well as a variety of pickups which turn the ball into delights such as bombs, firecrackers and flapping cannonballs, which can at best kill you and at worst cause your players to spontaneously combust.

So it's not your usual game of footy, then? It is, though, a highly charged, competitive battle between two players, the like of which we haven't seen since Speedball 2 (I wasn't a fan of Brutal Football). It won't take you long to beat the computer and soon you'll find yourself winning the league and Wild Cup itself - however, for a two-player rumpus there's no better fun to be had. It's wild, it's chaotic, and it plays a mean game of footy.


Unusually, for a football sim, a Wild Cup Soccer game isn't necessarily won or lost (or drawn, if you're being picky). Goals are goals, and the tram who scores the most has, technically, won the game - but the number of Headers is also taken into account at the end of a match.
A Header is scored when you beat, hack and slash another player so much that his head comes off, leaving a lifeless torso behind on the pitch as a kind of sick, makeshift tombstone. This obviously reduces the number of opponents, which should make scoring goals a bit easier, but also it increases your bank balance by $200,000 for each Header scored. A meter in a corner of the screen shows your team member's energy level as he grabs the ball - and although his energy lasts a long time, eventually it could be... Off with his head!

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Wild Cup Soccer (25%) is a brutal sports game, not dissimilar to Brutal Sports Football except it isn't nearly as good.
Don't buy Wild Cup Soccer.

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Schon bei "Brutal Sports Football" hat Millennium den Spielspaß groß und die Fairneß klein geschrieben, jetzt geht's auch den Fußballern ans Leder - mit einem gesundheitsschädigenden Regelwerk!

Dazu beamen uns die Engländer in eine ferne Zukunft, wo man für so altmodisches Fußball, wie es heute gespielt wird, nur noch ein müdees Lächeln übrig hat - die komplizierten Abseits- und Rückpaßregelungen haben, in Tateinheit mit den vielen Torlosen Unentschieden, der klassischen Variante dieses Sports endgültig den Todesstoß versetzt.

So entstand der geniale Gedanke, die Gladiatoren auf dem Feld mit Waffen auszustatten. Beim Publikum kam das auch prächtig an, bei den Akteuren stieß die innovative Idee dagegen verständlicherweise auf wenig Gegenliebe. Und so wurden sie halt kurzerhand gegen bio-manipulierte Mutanten und Cyborgs ausgetauscht....

Die neuen Stars kennen also keine Schmerzen, sind billig zu beschaffen und lassen sich praktischerweise bei Bedarf mit neuen Gliedmaßen aus dem Ersatzteillager bestücken. Das machte dann die gewünschte Reduzierung des Regelwerks auf das wirklich Wesentliche möglich: Die Kugel muß ins gegnerische Tor, mit welchen Mittel auch immer.

Damit war Wild Cup Soccer geboren, von dessen Qualitäten sich der Spieler hier z.B. erst mal anhand eines kleinen Feindschaftsspielchens gegen Kumpel oder Compi überzeugen kann. Oder man wählt die Modi "Best of 3" bzw. "Best of 7". Gans Ausdauernde dürfen sich auch von der zweiten bis n die Spitze der ersten Liga vorkämpfen, wobei sie es in Hin- und Rückrunde mit je drei Teams zu tun bekommen.

Höhepunkt der Veranstaltung ist schlie"lich die Teilnahme am Pokalwettbewerb, denn dort streben die acht Konkurrenten nach dem legendären Wild Cup.

Ehe jedoch der erste Tropfen Blut in den Boden sickert, wären ein paar Vorbereitungen zu treffen. Etwa, indem man den Inhalt der Vereinskasse gegen Schwerter, Schilder, Schrotflinten oder Mörser für seinen Kader (bis zu elf Feldspieler und drei Reservisten) eintauscht. Das Geld kommt dann in Form von Sieg- und Torprämien wieder herein, wobei sich die publikumswirksame Enthauptung der Kontrahenten als besonders lukrativ erwiest - rollen die Köpfe, rollt auch der Rubel!

Da natürlich auch die eigenen Jungens im Eifer des Gefechts bisweilen den Kopf verlieren, erweist sich die Wiederbelebungsoption als äußerst nützlich. So eine Auferstehung hat alledings ihren Preis, und wer es sich leisten kann, der investiert lieber gleich in neue Spieler, die in harten Verhandlungen gezielt von anderen Mannschaften abzuwerben sind.

Dabei stehen acht Arten von Muskeltieren bereit, das Spektrum reciht von kräftigen Rhinos über verschlagene Wikinger bis hin zu konditionsstarken Echsen. Die Transfersumme hängt wiederum von den fünf Charakterwerten ab: Intelligenz, Geschwindigkeit, Schußkraft, Aggresivität und Kondition.

Hat man schließlich dem nächsten Gegner seine Star abgeluchst, sich für eine der drei Formationen entschieden und die Aufstellung festgelegt, schlägt die Stunde der Chaoten. Wer die Arena hier als Sieger verlassen will, muß entweder mehr Tore als der Feind schließen oder dessen Reihen so lange lichten, bis die Begegnung wegens Spielermangel abgebrochen wird.

Steht es am Ende der regulären Spielzeit unentschieden, kommt es zu einem Elfmeterschießen, das hier allerdings ohne Ball, dafür mit doppelläufigen Schrotflinten ausgetragen wird. Apropos Ball: Mit Hilfe der neun auf dem Feld herumliegenden Extras kann das Leder vorübergehend in eine Feuerwalze oder eine Bombe verwandelt werden, was für zusätzlichen Nervenkitzel sorgt. Einen Schiri gibt's auch, jedoch nur, um ihm ab und an gegen Bares einen Freistoß abkaufen zu können...

Angefeuert vom Jubel des Publikums, metzeln sich die gut animierten Sprites auf einem flott scrollenden Iso-Rasen nieder, was man steuerungs-technisch recht bald im Griff hat: Schuß und Köpfer bereiten keine Probleme, auch wenn die Begriffe hier neu zu definieren sind. Und zwar bietet auch die vorliegende CD-Version eine Speicher-Option, bloß funktioniert sie nicht. Macht aber fast nix, denn elbst die Wettbewerbe sind wegen des niedrigen Schwierigkeitsgrades locker am Stück durchgespielt.

Das drückt natürlich kräftig auf die Langzeitmotivation, und auch der rabenschwarze Humor dürfte nicht jedermanns Sache sein - eine originelle Abwechslung zur Bundesliga ist Wild Cup Soccer aber allemal. (st)

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If you don't like the idea of Brutal Football because it's based around American Football, then Wild Cup Soccer could be the game for you.

On the other hand, all we've got here is the same game as Brutal Football but about real football instead. It's got the same mindless (and really not very amusing violence, the same slow and repetitive gameplay (just get the ball, and kick it up field a la late 80s Wimbledon) and some really bad and unconvincing animation just t round things off nicely.

Cam didn't like it very much when he reviewed it in issue 40, and even with the always welcome addition of a two-player mode, it still isn't very good.