Euro Soccer logo

Flair Software * £25.99

MANAGER: OK team, I want you to go out on to the pitch today, and give it your best shot. This time, I want you to run like realistic footballers, instead of flickering and wobbling around like you did against Sparta Rotterdam in the last game.

PLAYER 1: But guv, we have to run like that, it's the way we've been programmed.
PLAYER 2: Yeah, and seeing as you're only paying us £25.99 I think you've got a nerve asking for realism.

MANAGER: I'll have you know that £25.99's the going rate nowadays. Those Sensible players are paid the same amount, and look at the way they play.

PLAYER 1: Yeah, but they've got a decent pitch. They don't have to hang around for the scrolling to catch up with the ball - and anyway, we play a rougher game.
PLAYER 2: He's right, guv. The ball just seems to be glued to our opponents' feet - we have to take their legs away from them just to get the ball.

PLAYER 1: We do have a reputation to live up to, though. After all, each team in Europe seems to be made up of Vinnie Jones clones - including us. The only way you can tell who's who is by the colour of their kit.
PLAYER 3: Anyway, the gameplay's immaterial - at least we look good. We're drawn in realistic 3D, not like those Sensible guys who are stuck in their two-dimensional world.

MANAGER: That's just where you're wrong, Player 3. Gameplay comes first, and pretty 3D graphics should be an added bonus, not the other way round. The Amiga doesn't need another 3D footy game - they're just too ambitious - so I'm afraid we're being relegated to the lowest division.

PLAYERS 1, 2 & 3: But guv, we're...
MANAGER: Amiga Format thinks it'll be best for all of us.
PLAYERS 1, 2 & 3: But...
MANAGER: Sorry lads, but that's football. I'm as sick as a parrot.

Euro Soccer logo

Mit "Elvira - The Action Game" erzielte der relativ unbekannte Hersteller Flair auf Anhieb einen schönen Achtungserfolg mit dieser lustlosen Balltreterei nur ein böses Eigentor!

Der Newcomer-Kredit ist also wieder verspielt, denn gegen Genre-Highlights wie "Kick Off 2" oder "Sensible Soccer" wirkt dieses Game wie ein vom Abstieg bedrohter Drittligist.

So wird man mit einer Optionsauswahl abgespeist, die bereits das originale "Kick Off" locker überboten hat: Acht europäische Vereine balgen sich um den Europa Cup, wahlweise auf trockenem oder nassem Rasen, mit oder ohne Elfmeter schießen und zwischen zwei und acht Minuten pro Halbzeit.

Bei einem Freundschaftsspiel dürfen sich bis zu zwei menschliche Kicker warmlaufen, im Turniermodus steht man dagegen immer allein auf computergesteuerter Flur. Tja, und damit hat die "Vielfalt" auch schon ein jähres Ende gefunden.

Der Actionteil erinnert stark an "Manchester United Europe", vor allem durch den Platzaufbau und die Kennzeichnung des aktiven Spielers. Immerhin sieht man den Torwart mal aus einer anderen Perspektive als üblich, außerdem gehören die Jungs im Kasten zu den "intelligentesten" Team-Mitgliedern.

Keine Ahnung, was sie also in diesem Spiel zu suchen haben, denn in der Praxis wirken sich die "speziellen Eigenschaften" der einzelnen Mannschaften genauso wenig aus wie die drei angebotenen Taktiken.

Technisch kriegt man eine durchschnittliche bis langweilige Standard-Präsentation mit kleinen Grafikeinblendungen ("Tooor!") und eine ganz passable Stick-Steuerung geboten. Pässe finden zwar kaum je statt, zum Trost gibt's nach jeder Begegnung ein paar Statistiken zu sehen. Naja, Hauptsache, der Ball ist rund...(mm)

Euro Soccer logo

It's all here - vicious fouls, random goal keeping and real referees.

Until the point when I scored my first goal, Euro Soccer seemed fine. I must admit to being miffed when - As I was preparing to kick off - upon hearing the whistle, three members of the computer's team ran up to my centre-forward, kicked him in the shins, relieved him of the ball and proceeded with it towards my goal line.

But I'm no stranger to injustice, and the incident was quickly forgotten as I warmed to the Euro Soccer way of doing things. The players, while a little gangly, have a splendid repertoire of smoothly animated leaps, slides, lunges, headers and, er, whatever it's called when you bounce the ball off your chest - those things. There's a proper referee running about, too. And the crowd seemed wonderfully enthusiastic, chanting, roaring and cheering as appropriate. I was in a buoyant mood therefore, as I re-acquired the ball, dribbled it up the pitch, dodged the defence, reached the penalty area, lined up and shot, kicked, and...

And it was then that, deep in my subconscious, a little alarm bell began to ring. Although I did, in fact, appear to have scored - the crowd were hysterical, and the score was 1-0 - the ball hadn't technically entered the goal mouth, actually having become lodged in mid-air just above the line.

More to the point, what had happened to my goal keeper? My shot had merely been of the probing, testing-the-waters variety, taken from a fair distance out and gently arcing towards the goalie - an easy catch. But he'd just stood there, oblivious. It transpires that, apart from the occasional movement of inspiration (I'd love to know how, for example, every once in a while they're able to stop a ball that's a good five feet away from their fingertips),

Euro Soccer goalkeepers are uniformly useless (It's a kind of Zen thing - Ed). This is all very fine and dandy when they belong to the opposing team, but a real bummer when they're all that's between your goal and the ball, and they certainly make you appreciate the faster-than-lightning reflexes of the keepers in that certain other football game.

Your team stand around like garden gnomes

Then there's the air of bad sportsmanship that pervades the game. I was prepared to put that first foul down to boyish high spirits, the excitement of the opening minutes, but they just went on and on doing it. And the ref didn't bat an eyelid. My players were falling like flies, so I decided to return fire, and soon discovered that the only way to take the ball from another Euro Soccer player is to bring him down with a hard kick in the back of the knees and trample over his recumbent body. There's no such thing as a fair tackle in this game, so perhaps it's just as well there are no free kicks or penalties either.

And how on earth does Euro Soccer decide which player to give you control of at any particular instance? The first choice generally seems to be the chap who's lying on the ground, clutching his shins from the last time he dared to take possession. Then, if that doesn't seem to work out, control most likely passes to the fellow who's some distance behind the opposing player (who, by this time, is well into your penalty area) with no reasonable chance of catching up with him.

And finally, as an absolute last resort, you might just (just) be allowed to make use of the guy who's standing directly in the path of the oncoming player, though usually by now it's too late for that and it's all up to your goalie (i.e. you're another goal down). Needless to say, while all this is going on, the rest of your team are standing around like garden gnomes.

There are loads of other things I want to get off my chest (like the way the scrolling rarely keeps up with the ball, or the huge amount of disk accessing between matches - inexcusable in a game that demands one meg of memory, or the silly cartoon drawings that crop up from time to time and are completely out of keeping with the rest of the game) but space is tight, so I'll just point that, if it's a side-view football game you're after, Man United Europe would be a far more sensible choice.