Gazza 2 logo

Empire * £24.99 Joystick

The original game based on the lad Gascoigne appeared before all the media hype surrounding the 'Spurs hero', so it comes as no surprise that a sequel should be released to cash in on his new-found fame.

Gazza II is basically a Player Manager style game, in that you take the role of manager to set up tactics and make team decisions, while the match sections have you controlling the field team when actually on the field.

Up to sixteen people can play in a European Superleague competition, with each person managing their own team. The game begins with each player entering their name and selecting their choice of team. Once everything has been set up, the game moves on to the management section, this is where players are bought and sold, and the coach decides on the training for the week.

When your team is ready for a match, you can call up the fixtures to find out various statistics on the team you are due to play. Then it's off to the match!

Division One?
Once all the week's games have been played, the results are compiled and a league table is drawn up. At this point you can review your team and tactics to improve your performance. New tactics can be learnt by the team through entering the training section. Here you can alter player positions in set pieces, set up man-to-man marking or train the players to follow and trap the ball.

Once you have designed your tactics you can elect to send your team into the gym to improve their fitness, or refine their techniques by giving them extra training tactics.

While the team is getting fit, the manager can get on with the serious business of running the club, using scouts to keep an eye on the other teams and keep a watch out for possible worthy transfers. It's also a good idea to keep on the good side of the bank manager, since flagging funds can be boosted with a quick bank loan!

Despite the ability to include a number of human players and the wide range of option screens, Gazza II has surprisingly little depth. The management side is limited, with the basic functions of transfers, training and a few tactics the only things really covered.

But it's the matchplay sections that really let the game down. The animation of the sprites is extremely jittery, making it a chore to move the players around the field. The control over the players seems to be minimal, with frequent portions of the game being played without any of your team members on the field. Trying to piece together a coherent attack is rather tedious, usually leaving you frustrated and lying on the pitch when the opposition put in a rather unfair tackle.

The proceedings are broken up by some terribly unfunny dialogue between Gazza and the match commentator - an option which invariably results in the space-bar being hammered to move on to the next screen.

If you're an ardent Tottenham fan, or simply worship Gazza like a god, then you'll probably want to boost your collection of Paul Gascoigne memorabilia with this, but for anyone else... well, it's enough to make a footy fan blub!

Gazza 2 logo

Die Weltmeisterschaft ist zwar schon ein Weilchen her, aber an Englands bulliges Fußballidol Paul Gascoigne erinnert Ihr Euch bestimmt noch - dies ist "seine" Soccersimulation...

Der Vorläufer erschien in Deutschland unter dem Namen "Bodo Illgners Super Soccer" und war ein reines Actiongame für ein oder Zwei Spieler.

Beim Nachfolger wurde nun ein Managerteil integriert, das Geschehen auf dem Rasen wird jetzt in typischer "Kick Off" Manier präsentiert, und es können bis zu 16 Spieler teilnehmen (als Manager und Trainer, bei den Matches dürfen maximal zwei aktiv mitmischen).

Der Managerteil bietet so das Übliche: Man kann Teams zusammenstellen, aus vier Ligen Spieler an- und verkaufen, Taktiken (sehr detailliert) festlegen, verschiedene Plätze auswählen, Kredite auftreiben, die Windgeschwindigkeit bestimmen, Tabellen editieren usw..

Grafisch sind die Menüs sehr hübsch, nur an die unendlich vielen Icons muß man sich erst gewöhnen - dann kommt man aber problemlos zurecht. Ungeduldige können das Managen auch sein lassen und sich gleich in die Rasen-Action stürzen; dort geht's ähnlich wie bei "Kick Off" zu (Draufsicht), nur daß horizontal und nicht vertikal gescrollt wird.

Gesteuert wird immer der Kicker, der gerade am nächsten zum Ball steht, zur Gesamtübersicht dient ein eingeblendeter "Radarschirm".

Im Gegensatz zum Managerteil ist die Grafik am Feld eher kläglich: Die Sprites laufen ziemlich zappelig herum, und das Scrolling ist nicht gerade augenschonend. Dafür gehen Steuerung und Sound in Ordnung - insgesamt also kein Spitzengame, aber gehobene Durchschnittskost. (C. Borgmeier)

Gazza 2 logo

Everyone's favourite Geordie Boy, that tearjerker Gazza, returns for a second stab at the footy sim market. Looking like a horizontally-scrolling version of Kick Off II, the game promises a full range of kicks, passes and skills, yet delivers none.

On loading, a variety of options allow you to select a managerial stance or get straight into the action, and on selecting either option you are given a choice from a number of European teams. Once selected, the players assemble on the pitch and the game duly begins. It's here that the first gameplay faults become apparent.

For some reason, the programmers have opted for an odd control system which gives you control over the player nearest the ball, but not necessarily when you need it. After that, it's just a matter of attempting to gain possession of the ball and running it towards the goal.
OK, so that's all you have to do in any footy game, but the skills and tactics that the packaging boasts never really come in to play, and this results in boredom creeping in rapidly.

An attempt to spice things up appears at half-time when caricatures of Gazza and Jimmy Hill discuss the match in the interlude, but this is about as funny as realising how much you have spent on the game.

If it wasn't for the photo on the box, the shiny metal badge and the odd caricature, this could be 'Kevin Keegan's Footy Travesty' or 'Mick Mill's Balding Boot Around'. I would have thought that it was possible to base a game around Gazza's skills, as you could add an arcade training sequence and flair and skills, but no attempt has been made to raise Gazza II from being another substandard kick around.

Gazza 2 logo

Empire, C64 £10.99 cassette, £15.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

After storming the pop charts with his 'unique' brand of music, Gazza returns to the pitch for some more tear-jerking footy action.

Instead of the changing perspective of its appalling predecessor, Gazza II sticks to a scrolling overhead-view, left-to-right pitch like that in C64 Kick Off. Strangely although the C64 version has intelligent dribbling, on the Amiga the ball is simply stuck to your foot. Kick power is controlled by holding down fire; the position of the joystick when fire is released determines the type of kick (drive, 90 degrees cross, swerve, chip). When the ball's in the air, pressing fire results in an attempted header. Press fire when the opposition have the ball and your player attempts a slide tackle. However, if mistimed this can cause a foul - possibly resulting in injury, a free kick/penalty and a booking/sending off.

C64 Gazza II incorporates some management. Before a match you can pick your team from a squad of real players. Also, at any set-piece during the match you can call up the tactics screen. This allows you to substitute players, change formation (64 only) and view detailed match statistics with figures for each individual player.

The Amiga game also allows up to 16 managers to compete in a four-division European Superleague, and has extra management options including a transfer market, league, and Player Manager-style tactics editor.

Match options for both version include one or two players, choice of teams, computer skill level, match length, playing surface and wind speed.

Phil King After seeing the very dodgy Spectrum version, C64 Gazza II comes as a pleasant surprise. The action is a bit sluggish with the tiny players limping around the large pitch, but with Kick Off-style dribbling, a shotpower meter and the ability to swerve and chip shots, Gazza involves much skilful play. One niggle is that it's very difficult to slide-tackle opponents without fouling them. However, realism is heightened by deflections, injuries, yellow/red cards and real players' names. There's also a limited management aspect in picking the team, making substitutions and changing formation - though it's strange that you can do this for the computer team!
The real pity is there is no league - a situation remedied in the Amiga game which also boasts sophisticated management options. To complement these I was hoping for a good, speeded-up version of the C64's match action. I was severely disappointed. The players run surprisingly slowly and can actually move faster by continually slide-tackling! Skilful play is lessened by ball-stuck-to-foot dribbling, an extremely sensitive shotpower meter and easy tackling from any angle, hardly ever resulting in a foul. It's enough to make you swear at the ref!
Stuart Wynne C64 Gazza II is a lot better than its awful predecessor with some reasonably intelligent computer players, an effective kicking power meter and a good choice of tactics, complete with squad selection and substitutions. The radar scanner is useless, but the main problems are the lack of a league for long-term challenge and, most seriously of all, sluggish speed which can make games a bit dull. It's better than C64 Kick Off II though and worth a look if you really are a footie fanatic.
Given the speed of the Amiga, one expected the 16-bit version would be extremely playable. It isn't though; it's only marginally faster while computer players are much too stupid (the defence frequently wanders off when you're in the penalty box), kicks routinely cover half the length of the pitch, the graphics are dreadful and on top of all that there's Kick Off II to compete with. Abysmal.