The name "Liverpool" has been synonymous with all that is best about English football for more years than anyone cares to remember. Some of the world's best players are either on the club's books or have been at some stage, and the team have won more Division One championships than any other in the League. So, at a time when the world and his wife are going soccer crazy now that the World Cup is underway, it seems only right that there should be a computer game based on the Anfield crew.
After being greeted by a rendition of the club anthem - You'll Never Walk Alone - the player can choose from a menu screen to start a new season, continue an old one, compete against the computer or a friend and either load or save a current game. Another menu gives the option to view the week's fixtures, the league table and the highest scorers in Division One, as well as the opportunity to pick your side, and play a friendly or a league game. The match itself is displayed in horizontally scrolling 3D, similar to that used in Emlyn Hughes International Soccer, with each half lasting around five minutes. The aim? To score more goals than the opposition, of course, and ultimately, to secure your team's place at the top of the table just like the real Liverpool have done so many times before.
Being an avid supporter of the Kop, I've been eagerly anticipating the release of the official computer game. Now it's arrived, all I can say is... deary, deary me, Brian. The boys certainly haven't done good with Liverpool, combining outrageously poor graphics with unbelievably sluggish gameplay, resulting in a product which doesn't deserve to be in a local pub league, never mind the first division.
The players are atrociously designed, the pitch is jerky beyond belief and scrolling is mind-numbingly slow. Controls are unresponsive, players get stuck together when face-to-face, and it's possible to score from some very dodgy positions.
And if that's not bad enough, there are some extremely annoying "features" such as, when the ball is kicked into touch, all the players run away as if the thing were booby-trapped, then several seconds later, a man who's positioned miles away saunters along to take the throw-in.
Never before has there been such a travesty in the computer footballing world as Liverpool: The Computer Game; it's a game of two halves, both of them absolutely dire.