Subbuteo logo

Publisher: Electronic Zoo Price: £24.99

The game's strength is also its weakness. It slavishly replicates the original sticking grimly to the rules of FISA - Subbuteo's ruling body. Real aficionados will no doubt be totally happy with this attention to detail. But beginners may be in for a surprise concerning the degree of seriousness with which the game is taken.

The graphics are generally very good, sporting a sweeping 360-degree view of the pitch, not dissimilar to that used in most pool or snooker simulations. Optional team colours are available, plus the ability to zoom in and out of action as required.

Game control takes the form of flicking your figure's base with a large digital digit that scrolls back and forth behind the player. Simply hit the fire button to select the flicking position and once more select the strength. Your animated plastic counterpart should then make a perfect play. Even swerves and trick shots are possible with a little practice.

The main complaint levelled by experts concerns the lack of speed with which the game is played. Indeed, in comparison the real game it is painfully slow. On the other hand, you do not have to spend the entire day picking up the ball up from dining room floor.

And of course you won't need to pack everything away before putting the dinner out.

Basically, if you were a fan of the tabletop game you may well be interested in this computer version. If you hated the original the same will probably apply to its latest descendant. The choice is yours.

Subbuteo logo

Seinen etwas merkwürdigen Namen verdankt das Game einem der weltweit größten Hersteller von Tischfußball-Spielen. Hierzulande kennt man die Sache am Tisch unter "Tip-Kick" und am Computer noch gar nicht...

Vorbei die Zeiten, als man noch kleine Figürchen mit den Fingern über ein Filztuch geschnippt hat - wozu haben wir denn einem Amiga? Gespielt wird aber nach wie vor nach den alt-bewährten Kickerregeln, einschließlich Tischerweiterung, Einwurf, Ecken, Elf-metern und sogar Fouls.

Die Steuerung erfolgt nunmehr nagelschonend per Maus, entweder direkt auf dem Spielfeld oder über eine Iconleiste. Zu sehen ist das Geschehen aus einer schrägen 3D-Perspektive, die auch in eine Draufsicht geschwenkt werden kann. Dazu läßt sich das Spielfeld um volle 360° drehen, und eine Zoomfunktion wurde auch noch eingebaut.

Man darf sich bei Subbuteo kein hektisches Actiongame im Stil von "Kick Off" erwarten, es handelt sich dabei viel eher um eine strategisch orientierte Sportsimulation, etwa vergleichbar mit "Leaderboard" (mit Kraft- und Richtungsanzeigen).

Auch an Optionen herrscht kein Mangel: Die Spiellänge ist ebenso einstellbar wie der Schwierigkeitsgrad, man kann Einzelspiele oder Liga-Modus wählen, gegen den Computer oder mit bis zu sieben Menschen spielen (dazu das übliche Save/Load, Figurenfarben ändern usw.).

Die Grafik ist schlicht, aber schön gemacht, der Sound düdelt unaufdringlich vor sich hin (wenige FX), und die Handhabung geht im großen und ganzen ebenfalls in Ordnung.
Subbuteo ist ein ungewöhnliches Sportspiel, das sicher nicht jeden begeistern kann - aber anschauen kostet ja nix! (mm)

Subbuteo logo CU Amiga Superstar

PRICE: £19.95

With two number one games in Tracksuit Manager and World Championship Boxing Manager, Goliath Games have built up a reputation for producing quality software. And all this with their first two releases. Now they are back and kicking with Subbuteo which we previewed last month.

In our insight feature, I described Subbuteo as just '... another football game...'. Since then, I have been given an exclusive preview of the finished game by Amiga programmer and Goliath partner, John Jones-Steele. I now realise that Subbuteo is not football - it is a totally different ball game. To the first-time player, it may look like footy, but that is where any comparison ends.

If you have ever played the 'most popular table football game in the world', you will know that there are a myriad number of rules that differ between the game on the green cloth and the game on the turf. For example, if you slightly touch any player in Subbuteo, including your own team, a foul is automatically called. If you hit the ball when your opponent holds possession that is a foul too. So is leaping on the table, standing on your opponent's goalkeeper, breaking his back and scoring a goal while he lies in a heap of broken plastic.

If you have taken a look at the rolling demo on the coverdisk, you will have an idea of how the game works. The major feature of the game is the pitch, which looks impressive, but not half as good as it looks in the finished game where it rotates and flips twice as fast and twice as smoothly as the version in our demo.

Of course, with any product from the Goliath stable, there are a million and one options, and you have to decide whether you want to take part in a league with up to seven friends (any empty spaces filled by computer opponents), or just go for a friendly one on one. You know you are on to something when you see how the options are presented. For example, the colour menu allows you to choose they Day-Glo outfits your team will wear. A Subbuteo box of players is shown, and if you do not like their strip, click on 'no' and watch the box spin away into nothingness, only to be replaced by another box, featuring another set of colours. Now that is what I call style.

Playing the game is as easy as oversleeping. After walking around the table and having a good look, you then select the player you want to 'flick', who becomes the centre of rotation, as demonstrated on our cover disk. Then, as with 3D Pool, you rotate the pitch to set the direction of the flick. The ball will always travel into the screen. Unlike the pool game, elevation has no bearing on the shot. It is there to help you plan some of the trickier moves. Once direction is determined, you have to select how hard to flick the player and how much spin, if any, you are going to use.

This is where skill comes in. Learning to gauge the two levels comes with practice. A novice player, such as myself, will be lucky if they hit the ball without sending it careering off the pitch or fouling another player. However, an experienced player can do almost anything he wants to, as Goliath's programmer, Richard Walker, demonstrated on my visit to Goliath Mansions. When I thought I had safely stopped his chance of scoring, by placing two defenders in his way, he managed to swerve his attacker around them both, hit the ball and score, all in one move. I was devastated.

The graphics are nothing short of astounding and they match the feel of the game. The use of still screens and short animated sequences stops the game from getting boring, and the frequent use of tie-in screens is impressive. All these features help give the impression that you are not playing a computer game, but a real game of Subbuteo.

That is what sets it apart. Goliath have managed to distil the essential elements of the original game and transfer them across to the Amiga. If every game was as good as this, piracy would die out. Who would object paying £20 for a game that is going to last you months. Get your flicky finger raring to go. This is going to number one.

40 Fantastic Finger Flickin' Years

Over forty years after the game made its first appearance under the name Subbuteo, interest in the world's most realistic table top football game is keener than ever. Today more than five million people in every corner of the globe flick their way around the table size pitch.

For the 1990's the range includes over 150 different strips, representing all the top footballing nations in the world. With new packaging and the Italia '90 logo, this decade will see the best sales in Subbuteo's history.

In the UK alone, over 500,000 teams are sold annually, and throughout the world the figure reaches a million. National Leagues, National Championships and the thrill of international competition, organised since 1979 by the Federation of International Subbuteo Associations (FISA) means that for many players, young and young at heart, Subbuteo is more than a game - it is a sport in its own right.


Of course, there is more to good programming than pretty pictures. What goes inside the program is often far more impressive than "how many colours are on screen". For example: On a regular A500, the pitch updates at 20 frames per second. Upon loading the game checks if it is running on a 68000 (A500) or a 68020 (A2000) processor. If it finds the A2000, it then updates at a staggering 50 frames per second, which is the same as your average TV display!

Another part of the software diagnosis is to check the video chip. Most Amigas are now fitted with a Fatter Agnes chip, which works on the American standard NTSC display, which has much squarer screen dimensions in comparison to the rectangular PAL British display. That way you always get a full screen picture, regardless of your machine.