Amstrad Action1st September 1986
Published in Amstrad Action #12
There are several football games already out on the Amstrad, so this offering from across the Channel has plenty of competition most notably from Ocean's Match Day. It's a simulation along similar lines in which you can play six-a-side football with four of Europe's top nations on a horizontally scrolling pitch.
The pitch is about four screens long and scrolls rather jerkily as the players move about. The only markings are the goals, centre line and the six yard box. Each team has five outfield players and a goalkeeper, and their are four choices of team: England, France, Germany and Italy. You control the outfield player who is either in possession of or nearest to the ball. The goalkeeper is operated automatically and is good, but not perfect.
You can play against the computer or against another player, but you are limited to one game since there is no cup competition system. The computer opponent plays well but, as with all these games, it is best played with two players. The computer can be set at different skill levels but a bit of practice should master any of these.
The five outfield players are allocated power ratings that determine their speed in the game. There are 100 units in all and a player can have a maximum of 30, so you can have the teams strength up front or in defence. On the pitch the controls are simple: just directional for where you want the player to run and the fire button to kick the ball in the direction you're facing.
Soccer 86 recognises throw-ins, corners and goal kicks (and goals of course), and also allows players to head the ball if they position themselves correctly. The teams change ends at half time, each game lasting about ten minutes. There's no unseemly colour clash when players overlap and you can't run 'through' them. There also isn't too much skill involved - it's mostly just a matter of hoofing the ball up field and chasing after it. Passing is possible but plenty of practice is needed before you can expect any sort of accuracy.
I don't think there's much between this and Match Day, except that this doesn't have a cup competition or as many options as the Ocean game. If you haven't got Match Day and fancy a football game (without colour clash) then this is better than most.
Considered on its own merits this one's quite fun and pretty reasonable value. Put it up against Match Day though, and it looks a bit shallow - a bit too short on variety, really. It's nice, but I'm not sure it'll last the 90 minutes.
I'm not that into football anyway, let alone a small-screen version, so I'm afraid this one left me a little cold. Not enough action for me.
First Day Target Score
Beat computer by three clear goals.
Green Screen View
I'm over the moon about the visibility on this one, Brian.
P. Quite good player movement (no colour clash).
P. Fun two player action.
P. A reasonable computer opponent.
P. Can vary the strength of the outfield players.
N. Mostly just 'kick and run'.
N. Match Day is better, despite the colour clash.