Kick Off 2 (Anco) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

Kick Off 2
By Anco
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #63

Kick Off II

'Ere we go, 'ere we go, 'ere we go! The passion of the World Cup lives on in the football sim. A game format with the advantage that you don't even have to go outside and get muddy playing it. Footie games were in abundance last summer, when the World Cup was in full swing. So is Anco too late with the release of Kick Off II, or has it scored a last-minute goal?

Kick Off II is the follow up to Kick Off, a game released just six short months ago on the Amstrad. The new version promised to add many new features to the game, without losing the excellent playability of the original. There are plenty of options on the screen to choose from. The best thing to do is ignore them - at least for the first few goes - while you get used to the system and how to play the game.

On pitch you have a bird's-eye view of the action. The whistle goes, and they're off! The action is fast and furious. The ball is always central to the action, and the screen scrolls rapidly to accommodate it. The player currently under your control is marked with a white line that follows him around. When control switches to another of your team, the line jumps to that player.

You control to the player nearest the ball. The control remains with that same player for a while, but after a time switches to the near-est on your team once again. This system works well most of the time, but it can be annoying when there's a player just millimetres from the ball which you are unable to take control of.

All the rules of our national sport are included in the game - with the possible exception of the goal-robbing off-side rule. Corners, throw-ins, free kicks and penalties are all there, as are substitutions and fouls.

After you've recovered from your first few beatings, it's time to browse through the options. You can chose to play single matches, international friendlies (which is the same as a single match, just with big team names), a league, or the cup. The league and cup matches each place eight teams against each other in the different types of competition. The results can be saved for continuation later.

There are plenty of variables to be adjusted: four types of playing surface, five skill levels, four wind strengths, and a number of options that can be switched on or off.

Another feature that sets Kick Off II apart from the crowd is the individual players' statis-tics. Each player has a number of attributes that affect the way he plays - even though you're in control whenever he has the ball. For instance, a slow player will be easily caught, and you'll need to make sure that you pass before it's too late!

The greatest criticism of Kick Off 1 was the dismal graphics. Ported directly across from the Spectrum, and using a dire choice of colours, the game just about scraped a measly 13%. Thankfully, great improvements have been made in KOII. The graphics are designed for the Amstrad, and while they don't exactly set new standards, they look a hell of a lot better than they did. The players are still quite small, but are now multi-coloured. The pitch - not surprisingly, really - remains green, with white markings.

The two teams are always red and blue, despite the country that they hail from. Curiously, the red team's goalie is also in blue - though the blue's keeper retains the true team colours. This can confuse things when the action reaches the goal area.

There's no tune, and the fx are limited to whistles and bouncy-ball sounds. In fact the bouncing ball gets irritating as it's constantly happening, and you soon feel that it'd be better if there were no sound effects at all!

Kick Off II is simply the most playable footie game to date. While it's still not as polished as other soccer games, it represents a big improvement over the original version. If you somehow managed to miss out on buying a soccer sim over the summer, then it's not too late. If you did, then it's worth considering anyway!

Second Opinion

Kick Off on the 16-bits was a truly excellent game, so KOI, when it appeared on the Amstrad, was a bit of a disappointment. Anco has put right the graphics with II, though, and produced a fast, playable and fun footie game to rank with the best.

First Day Target Score

Beat the computer at its own game!


Graphics 67%
P. Huge improvement over the original.
N. Still not state-of-the-art.

Sonics 24%
N. Spot effects which are more annoying than anything.

Grab Factor 79%
P. Control is easy to pick up, but there's much to master.
N. The computer will thrash you at first.

Staying Power 90%
P. Two-player mode keeps you coming back.
P. Lots of options, and plenty of control subtleties.

Overall 86%
P. All the playability you could ask for in a soccer sim.

Adam Waring

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