Commodore User

Super Soccer
By Imagine
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #44

Super Soccer

There's no reason why we shouldn't all be looking forward to a new football arcade game, no reason unless it happens to be a completely unplayable conversion of a poor Spectrum game.

Read the instructions and your hopes, like mine, will be instantly raised. The talk of 'controlled chipping', 'lob at 45 degrees' and 'low straight drive' suggests that you are just about to play a pretty sophisticated video representation of our national game. Loading up reinforces the impression. You get a rousing version of "Here we go" from SID, the game's most loyal supporter, and some neat, easily-used options screens. But just to try and have a thumping good game of togger on it. Someone ought to warn the Pools Panel that they should be sitting.

It all comes as a shock when, after following all the neat options bars that allow you to select a team, overwrite other teams, change strip colour, pitch conditions and choose how long you want to play by toggling the F keys, you are presented with several rather crudely drawn coloured blocks standing on a pitch which slopes more steeply than the one at your local park.

Super Soccer

You persist in the hope that none of this matters and you'll still have a good kickabout anyway. So, feeling grand you enter the tournament only to find that most of the games don't get played, they simply fill themselves in when you press F7. Still, you struggle on, only to find that the approach is far below the standard of that old vet Andrew Spencer's International Football.

Despite all the promises of close ball control and ability to kick the ball in different ways, the game degenerates into a shambles in which even the computer doesn't quite seem to know what's going on. Players stand still, clearly dumbstruck by the problems thrown at them by the programmers.

Above the pitch, a panel displays the team's names and three indicators which show you how much speed and force you're using. This is crucial to the game, because as you push the joystuck and make the player run in one direction with the ball, the meter builds up. The effect of this is that, when you try to stop, your player simply continues charging across the field belting the ball ahead of him like a lunatic whilst everybody else watches him in disbelief. That might do for Wimbledon but it's no good to me.

Super Soccer

The controls are so utterly fiddly that you may spend a long time simply trying to pick the ball up and go anywhere with it. In days of old on International Football the computer would simply whip the ball off you and stick it away at the other end - Super Soccer's side seems quite bored with the whole thing. Perhaps Imagine bought the Ninja Master squad.

When the ball goes off for a corner the screen changes to a diagramatic aerial view of the pitch and you can move players Subbuteo-style to take advantage of the situation. It's a nice idea, but in practice, it seems to make little difference to the gameplay.

Another nice touch is the penalty shootout that takes place if the game fails to produce a result (and it often does due to the incompetence of both sides). Whether you'll be able to belt the ball home like Ray Stewart is another thing. That requires a very special skill.

Super Soccer is a footballing tragedy, the kind of game that makes you wish that David Bulstrode would turn his greedy attention away from Craven Cottage long enough to buy Imagine and build a supermarket in its place. Seriously, though, it's a very poor copy of International Football and one that fails to improve on that four-year-old game in any way. Save your money for the turnstiles.

Mike Pattenden

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