Sinclair User29th June 1989
Published in Sinclair User #91
The Soccer Squad
You're really going to have to be a football fanatic to survive through this package.
This is a compilation of four old Gremlin titles, Footballer of the Year, SuperStar Soccer, SuperSkills and Roy of the Rovers. Two of the are tied in with Gary Lineker, so his ugly mug stares out from the packaging of SuperSkills and SuperStar Soccer; Footballer of the Year is a sort of strategy game and Roy of the Rovers is a weird mix of adventure and simulation.
The package comes on two cassettes in a library case, and the instructions are all boiled down onto one difficult-to-read sheet.
Footballer of the Year is an icon-driven simulation in which you start out as a spotty 17-year-old apprentice with £5,000 in the bank, and have to make your way through the sport until you're voted Footballer of the Year.
By selecting different icons you can access your team's status/player status; play a match, where an arcade sequence gives you the chance to score penalties; transfer to another team, save or load a game, and, the most interesting bit, pick a random incident Card which can be anything from a free goal to a fine for spitting.
SuperSkills is a bit like Daley Thompson's Push-ups, or whatever it was called, because it's more to do with doing your exercises than with actually playing football. Lots of joystick-waggling fun as you practise pushups, ball juggling (Fner!), dribbling (on the pitch, not down your chin), and finally shooting through tyres. Not bad, but a bit futile if what you really want is a soccer game, try SuperStar Soccer, which has all the facilities of a management simulation - trading players, training, setting leagues - but which also has a nifty match simulation which can played at normal speed or up to ten times normal.
Last in the list is the strange Roy of the Rovers (not that Roy himself is strange, you understand). This is an arcade-adventure in which the Manchester team are kidnapped the eve of the big match - shock horror! Using a menu system you can make Roy walk, run, pick up and drop objects, smile or fight. What he can't do, like most footballers, is walk and talk at the same time, hee hee.
It's all rather clever and ends with a decent five-a-side simulation, so in many ways Roy is the best of the bunch, top of the league, big banana or whatever they call themselves these days.
Odd that this collection doesn't actually feature a full-scale, no-nonsense, whack-it-in-the-back-of-the-net match simulation, but this lot should keep any soccer fan over the moon for many a season.
Football feast will burst your laces with excitement.