Amstrad Action


Kenny Dalglish Soccer Match

Author: Trenton Webb
Publisher: Impressions Ltd
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #59

Kenny Dalglish Soccer Match

Liverpool are the undisputed champions. Champions, that is, of the licensing and marketing ploy. They have several footie games to their name, with this one attributed to their venerable Scots Manager. Its release is curiously timed, as there is a skip load of World Cup games around, and Kenny Dalglish Soccer Match has 'no such international aspirations. Impressions must believe that, as the sport has had such a high profile recently, people will still be interested in games about it.

You play as the Red team. You can change the name, ideally to Liverpool. The Blue team are the opponents. Their name you can also change, ideally to something grossly offensive (such as Luton Town).

You can choose a 10, 20, 40 or full 90 minute game. The 90 minute option is for masochistic insomniacs only. Next you choose the skill level of both your team and your opponent.

There are 10 levels, making little real difference to the gameplay. You then select either normal speed, which corresponds to slow motion, or fast mode, which merely seems lethargic.

Mr Dalglish makes his first appearance before kick-off. He offers timely and varied advice to you and your team. If the phrases chosen are representative of Kenny's real pre-match spiel, then the reason for Liverpool's continued success is a mystery.

The pitch is viewed from vertically above, but the players are seen at an oblique angle, as are the goals. This curious mix is worthy of Max Escher, and makes judging the perspective a hit and miss affair.

The game starts and a large, solid arrow indicates the man you currently influence.

Joystick control is OK, but your other players stand around idly, perhaps still confused by Kenny's pre-match pep talk. The computer's players advance mercilessly, sometimes past the goal and towards the stands. They aren't endowed with much intelligence, but as they look like the symbols indicating loo doors, this is perhaps to be expected.

The movement of the ball is the most annoying thing. It alternates from being a helium filled balloon to a lead-filled medicine ball. It occasionally swells to an alarming size, but this indicates that the ball is aloft.

As the frustration builds, you realise that fouls cannot be committed. Extreme violence against your on-field opponents has no effect, as the players run right through each other, confusing the area of play! A crowded goal-mouth can look like large mutant jellyfish, as it seethes with men. When the ball goes out of play, a peep is heard, and we are treated to a picture of a referee with a large bald head. This appears every time, and it soon loses its attraction (if it ever had any!).

When Kenny's team scores, another picture is displayed, this time of the Great Man himself, in a suitably jubilant pose. The roar of the crowd is heard. This is the best sound effect in the game. If a goal is scored against the Reds, Kenny appears once more, but slumped, with his face in his hands. I know how he feels.

Generally, the sounds are nothing special: a tune plays fitfully during the level selection procedures while during the match, the ball bounces with the sound of a pebble on a corrugated roof. Considering its behaviour, this is strangely apt.

A two-player mode exists, with up to four players in a tournament. Having a live opponent increases the fun (which isn't difficult), but means that someone has to play without the benefit of Kenny's pearls of wisdom. This might be an unfair advantage - to the blues. Unfortunately, in the two-player selection the pause mode kept being triggered by combinations of joystick and keyboard waggling. Several frenetic goalmouth clashes were unexpectedly frozen, and tempers in the Amstrad Action office were soon frayed.

Overall, the graphics are simple, but not very fast. The sound isn't special either. But worst of all is the gameplay. The matches bumble along with no smoothness, and the ball control and movement get annoying. The players are fairly responsive, but those not under your control make no attempt to help you out.

Kenny Dalglish Soccer Match is a disappointing game. It would need to be special to get noticed among the plethora of football games, but it doesn't get a result. In a game of two halves, it simply doesn't deliver, Brian.

Second Opinion

Disappointing. Italia '90 fever is bringing us a wide range of soccer software but unfortunately this one does no justice to the game. Graphics and gameplay are poor and King Kenny's pre-match advice really doesn't help matters at all.

Green Screen View

Looks like a 22-man team with no opponents.

First Day Target Score

Finish a 20-minute game.

Verdict

Graphics 37%
N. Small and disjointed men.

Sonics 34%
N. Just 'clunks' and 'peeps'.

Grab Factor 41%
N. Computer is easy to beat.

Staying Power 28%
N. Quirks get frustrating.

Overall 33%
N. Relegated to the fourth division.

Trenton Webb

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