Amstrad Computer User

World Cup Soccer '90

Author: Adrian Pumphrey
Publisher: Virgin Games
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Computer User #68

Lace up in time for Italia.

World Cup Soccer '90

Lace up in time for Italia.

Sweaty palm time again as the tribes take to the pitch for the official World Cup Soccer game, (although being British I think football would have been preferable).

The deluge is upon us as the football games come out of your ears until the mere sound of a whistle sends you for the throat of the nearest person. In the past the football game has seen many an incarnation, but few were a joy to play. Hopefully, the latest batch will have learnt from the many mistakes made but then again you never know. The first. football offering to fall under our critical eye is the official offering from Virgin Mastertronic, World Cup Soccer - Italia '90. The emphasis is on fun and a smattering of reality.

World Cup Soccer Italia 90

There is no management side to the game, you pick your country (Spain, England, Italy or Belgium) and away you go. The first of your qualifying matches is against the good old U.S. of A.. You view the pitch from above but the players are angled so you can see their full torsos (not very kinky when done in pixels). You always have the kickoff and start going up the pitch. Come to think of it you end the game going up the pitch as well as there is no half time, just a four minute match limit, unless it is a draw then the first player to score wins the game.

Charging around the pitch with little regard for life or opposing players' limbs will see the ref waving the red card and your player will be invited to leave the field. It is however often a good tactical move to bring down an opposing player when approaching the box and a clean shot ahead of them.

When a player reaches the inner area of the penalty box the perspective changes to a forward view of the goal. You have a limited amount of time to make your shot as you and goalie weave from side to side seeking that elusive opening. Sometimes a shot looks as though it has missed but goes in, this is balanced by the shots that go in but miss. When controlling the goalie you will find him remarkably nimble, often making several dives to save one shot.

World Cup Soccer Italia 90

The battle for control of the midfield is often a bloody affair (the offender usually being the human controlled player) and sometimes frustrating. You control the player with the arrow above his head and to change players you hit the tire button. The frustration occurs when the player you wish to control refuses to respond and you end up with an arrow above every player except the one you want. There are no sliding tackles but you can kick your opponent firmly in the shin.

Corner kicks and throw-ins are implemented but the ball is always thrown or kicked to the player with the arrow above his head so it is easy to intercept the computer shots.

After the two preliminary rounds against the USA and Japan, you will face Mexico, the USSR and West Germany in the first, second and third preliminary rounds and then Argentina in the quarter finals. The teams do become more skillful as the game progresses with players becoming harder to tackle and goal keepers harder to beat. After Argentina come Holland and then in the final you face the once fabled Brazil. Beat this final team and win the cup and you find yourself back in the qualifying rounds without a cup presentation, shock horror.

World Cup Soccer Italia 90

If you have a friend who is handy with a keyboard, two player games are possible and if this two player game does come to blows make sure you are the one with the joystick, (a joystick makes quite a handy ball and chain if you stick a few nails through the handle).

Sound effects are minimal, the crowds only cheer at the end of the match and the players don't even scream as you hack off their legs - the only accompaniment to a grievous foul is the toot of the referee's whistle. And of course a rather dull thud when the ball is kicked.

Despite the many departures from reality or perhaps because of them, this is a very playable game. Two players mode may cause the odd squabble as you fight over which direction you wish to play (there is no changing over at half time, there is no half time). Let's hope the many football games to follow achieve such standards of playability.

Adrian Pumphrey

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