Apart from having the most barf-making title of any of the hundreds of football games on the market, Gazza's Super Soccer has just one other problem; it IS one of hundreds of football games on the market. So what does it have which makes it stand out from the crowd?
Well? We re waiting. Oh, well, firstly it's endorsed by Paul Gascoigne, who, as I understand it, has one of the most exciting haircuts in First Division football. Secondly, you get a little sticker with it. Thirdly... er, that's it.
It not as bad as it sounds. You get a series of fairly simple menus, which allow you to choose a one or two-player game; to select League teams, or define your own teams with named players, each with their own skill and speed factors. If you do well in the league, the number of points available to be distributed among the players increase. Interestingly enough, team data saved from the Spectrum, Amstrad CPC or C64 can be loaded back into any of the machines; I think this feature of GSS is unique.
You can choose the length of each match, and the kicking style (whether the player stands still or keeps moving as he kicks) before entering the actual match. There are some good and some bad features of the gameplay here. The player in possession is indicated by a small arrow above his head; if the player you're controlling is off the ball, you have to press fire to change possession to the next player. To control the goalie you have to hit the Enter key. It's sometimes difficult to tell the players on one team from another, and it's practically impossible when you're tackling; the animation isn't good, with the characters tending to jerk from one position to another rather than move smoothly; and if you're up against a skilled player, you have to be very persistent with the fire button to get possession of the ball.
The strangest aspect of the arcade element is that the kick-off is seen from a sideways view, but once the ball moves towards the goal, the view changes to front-on. I can see the point of this - it gives you a better view of the goal, but you tend to lose track of what you're doing when the view changes, and I tended to lose possession every time it happened. Sick-making.
Kicking, corners, throw-ins and goal kicks are controlled using the Boot-o-meter at the bottom of the screen: this shows the increasing strength and amount of spin on your shots as you hold down the fire button and twist the joystick. But I must admit, I found it hard to get the results I wanted, though I did manage to get the ball in the back of the net a couple of times.
There must be someone out there who wants another celebrity-endorsed soccer game, but it certainly ain't me. GSS isn't a bad effort, but I'd rather have seen the effort put into something a bit more original. I'd also have been happy to go without the sticker and have the game a quid cheaper.
Label: Empire Author: Rogers/Pendle/Nichols Price: £9.95 Memory: 48K/128K Joystick: various Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
Here we go, here we go, here we go... again. Unexciting soccer sim for fanatics only.