Plataform: Commodore 64
Controller: Joystick or keyboard of the computer.
Later 80s, Europe has a certain variety of personal computers with comprises the main videogame platforms. So, in those lands, developing successful football videogames is fearsome providing different prespectives and features like managerial or realistic playability.
The company Microprose tries a not so common approach, even in current times, for the european market (not for asian ones, as you will see) with frantic action mixed with… chaotic elements which creates a funny and attractive atmosphere.
The videogame offers a bird’s view perspective, where with the controller it’s possible to move the virtual footballer with the ball, give a pass or shoot to the goal with the fire button, and while defending, the same button executes a sweep. So far, nothing outstanding.
But now, the innovations provided: the most remarkable one is the many effects you can perform when after pressing the button to shoot, inmediately push the joystick in a certain direction:
|Not moving||Over the head|
|Diagonal||Banana kick. The curve goes to the diagonal side.|
A “small” detail is that the previous table shows the direction respect the way the football is seeing. So, if the footballer is looking at the right, a banana kick to the left will be executed if the joystick is moved northeast. Which is the advantage? Consider that the curve goes and goes…
The videogame is clearly designed to be mainly played between two human players, competing in tournaments after customizing teams either the name and/or colors. However, there are one-player options available, being the most popular, competing in a simulation of the Football World Cup with 24 teams. There are quite a number of teams to choose from, being from the most obvious ones like Brazil, Argentina or Italy, to more curious ones like Omán.
When a virtual footballer loses the ball, automathically the focus goes to the footballer closest to the ball. Pressing the button will make the footballer to slide, or if the controlled footballer is the goalkeeper, it jumps trying to keep the rival from score a goal.
The main feature of the videogame, which makes it increadibly fun, either being one or two players, is the uncertainty and chaos in every match. You see, you can change certain conditions of the field before a match, one of them is the weather, which randomly causes rain, or snow, to fall on the field, with hilarious results. One of the first goals I was able to score was because the rival defense slided in a rain game and went too far. Consider that it can also happen to you. Other funny situations are when you try to change direction too sharply in those conditions, you can spin a few times before running again.
Basically, one of the most funny aspects of the videogame is waiting to see what can go wrong. And believe me, something will go wrong in every match, which can shift the balance of the match to favour either team. But, in one-player games, it’s more likely that the human player being the victim of those situations. Other things that can be modified are the duration of a game (5 minutes by half, recommended) and the curvature of the banana kicks (low to realistic effects, high to hilarious).
Finally, a nice touch is a replay after every goal, which includes a brief static in the screen, a mainstay of televisions at the time, giving the impresion to watch a TV show.
There are two field modes. The main one is an outdoor match with 11 players, but there is also the Indoor Soccer one (also called American Soccer) with only 6 players per team at the field, and played at an indoor arena. The action is more paced and the scores can be quite high, but at being played at a closed field, the players can use the walls to rebound shoots and passes, a skill you have to develop if you like this field.
This mode surely was added to ease the sell of copies in the United States of America, where the video game was known as Keith Van Eron’s Pro Soccer. The name of the star goalkeeper of the team Baltimore Blast, one of the most recognizables of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), the most popular league of indoor soccer at the time.
In this kind of match, there is not weather conditions, and the equivalent of World Cup is only with USA cities. Many of which did not have a team at the time, either in the MISL or the indoor soccer tournaments of the North American Soccer League (NASL).
For the North American market, besides of the Commodore 64, another popular option of personal computers where the compatibles with the MS-DOS operating system.
For this version, the game is slower and the graphics not as good, but the others features remian practically the same.
The DOS computers at the time had different video standards. The most common was the CGA with 4 colors, and the EGA with more colors, were the most common. We recommend playing with the most colors, otherwise, the options for colors of the teams are notorously more limited.
The version for this popular european personal computer compromised the playability because the monochromatic colors made me giving the pass to the wrong player a lot.
This personal computer, at least in this version of this videogame, handled less colors than its competitors, and as different colors is usually the main way to distinguish one team from the another, the lack of this feature makes it hard to play, in my opinion.
The control schema was practically the same, but slower than the version for MS-DOS.
Personally I don’t recommend it, unless you are fan of this particular personal computer.
Many times, porting a game to a more advanced platform either being a console or a computer, it feels obsolete or the platform fells not used at its fullest.
The situation here is very different, for good. Because this port was available the next year, 1989, and it had better graphics, the pace was faster, and was harder to score. Also, the sensation of watching a football match on a TV is kept, with the score appearing sparringly with the names of the teams in the lower part of the screen.
Some people says the success of this port, was a main factor to develop future sequels with similar playability to this one.
There were also ports to:
- Atari ST
- Sinclair Spectrum
The success of this videogame allowed the creation of more sequels, shining the classic Sensible World of Soccer.
Really funny football videogame for computers. It’s one of the first videogames I have played on the Commodore 64 where I can totally ignore the keyboard. It would have been suited for the failed Commodore Game System.
Sport Icon designed by Smashicons of FlatIcon licensed by CC 3.0 BY.
Console Icons taken from Retroarch.