Codemasters' first full-price game looks like four completely different games in one package with a linking theme - football - rather in the style of a compilation. In fact, what you get are three games that are exactly the same apart from a few minor differences, and a training section, which does prove to be marginally useful.
On the first side of the first of the two tapes in the packaging is the training. This incorporates a split-screen view of a gymnasium. To train your player you move the joystick in a way not unlike the Epyx sims to get your on-screen persona to do things. Move the joystick in the shape of an arch to get him to jump over a bar, pull down and then up to get him to do press ups, etc. After you've gone through the routine joystick wagglers, you do some real training, and are given the chance to participate in all manner of events to improve your skills in the other three games. You can practise dribbling and passing, and even try your luck at penalty taking and saving.
It would be pointless for me to describe the other three games separately, simply because they all look and play exactly the same. The only differences are the backdrops and the amount of players on screen. In Street Soccer and Five-A-Side, you have a quintet of players, while in full match, you get the full complement of 11-a-side.
As I've already said, the backdrops are different too. In Street Soccer, you play in a street, bouncing the ball off cars, houses, etc and 5-a-side has you playing inside a walled centre. Guess where you play the full match?
The graphics aren't bad at all. The players move quite realistically, and the backdrops are detailed, but the ball moves terribly and the screen flip-scrolls. Wouldn't it have been nicer to do smooth scrolling lads?
The controls are appalling. Fire both shoots and changes player when you don't want it, and doesn't when you do. Just getting your man to run in the direction you want to is an effort. The response is far too sluggish for a fast action football game, so in a way it's a good thing it's not fast action.
That's what ruins the game, the speed. It plays at an incredibly slow rate, which makes it unplayable. 4 Soccer Simulators is basically a package of four sub-standard games. If you want a good football game go and get Microsoccer or Emlyn Hughes Soccer.