World Championship Soccer logo

Elite £24.99 * Joystick

Assuming you know everything about the inflated bovine bladder and the Colin Moynihan Identikit, I will skip the rules of soccer and get on with what this game has to offer. World Championship Soccer offers a choice of one-off and one or two-player games (test matches) of football between international sides or a competition series not dissimilar from the World Cup itself. It is an elimination league split into six groups. Teams take part in three days worth of qualifying games. Extra time is never added on. In the event of a full-time tie, penalties decide the winner.

Whether you are playing a friend or the computer, you can always check on the progress of other teams between matches and this is where WCS scores highly. Where it does not show ingenuity is in its striking similarity with Kick Off 2.

Kick off
The inevitable comparison comes from the fact that Elite's new soccer game uses a free-scrolling overhead display of around one sixth of the pitch, uses floating arrows to indicate selected players and boasts a superimposed inset of the whole pitch to display the positions of the players, not to mention similar joystick control features. For gameplay alone, the comparison is unfavourable to WCS. Tackling and dribbling the ball seems more difficult, as does taking a corner. Passing is easier but the old one-two still takes some practice to pull off.

The twenty-four teams you have stored seem to have something in common with their real-life counterparts. In other words, do not take on Italy in your first test match or you will lose eleven-nil.

It is nice to be able to pick out a team of players whose names you will recognise from a full-size squad, even if you cannot be certain that the Lineker and Gazza you get on the pitch will play like the men themselves. It is a shame though, that you are limited to two forwards, four mid-fielders and four defenders, no matter which team or which squad you pick. Surely, along with the rest of the selection process, this would have been one of the primary reasons for choosing WCS as opposed to one of the many other contenders in the football-simulation field.

But the game is eminently playable, slickly presented and adequately documented. The gripes listed though, are inevitable. From Elite's point of view, they have converted a Sega game and could not therefore bolt on anything they might have liked to. But from the buyer's perspective, you would have to be seriously interested in soccer games themselves to add this to any similar titles in your collection. If you have not got a soccer game yet but are thinking about it, Kick Off 2 has the better gameplay, but WCS's competition features offer the solo player a considerable challenge.

World Championship Soccer logo

Wer sagte eins Jupp Derwall: "Fußball ist das halbe Leben - und die andere Hälfte auch!" Bei Elite nahm man sich die weisen Worte zu Herzen und setzte dieses WM-Spielchen vom gleichnamigen Sega-Automaten um. Besser spät als nie?

In diesem Fall wäre wohl nie besser gewesen, denn anscheinend waren die Lizenz-gebühren so teuer, daß für das eigentliche Game nicht mehr viel übrig blieb. Wo soll ich nur beginnen? Vielleicht bei der enormen Menge der Optionen? Immerhin darf man sich eine Mannschaft aussuchen, sogar die Spieler sind anwählbar!

Was macht es da schon, daß es nur die 2-4-4-Taktik gibt? Möglicherweise sieht es ja bei der Grafik besser aus? Nö, man steuert einen Haufen Farbkleckse, aus denen gelegentlich ein Bein oder ein Arm herausragt, über einen ekelhaft giftgrünen Rasen - einziger Pluspunkt: Die Mannschaften lassen sich gut auseinanderhalten. Geht wenigstens der Sound in Ordnung? Naja, soweit vor sich hindüdelnde Musik und ein paar Effekte halt in Ordnung gehen...

Die Kicker selbst scheinen von ihrer Aufgabe auch wenig begeistert zu sein, denn sie drängen sich nicht unbedingt in Ballnähe. Wenn es der Joystick unmißverständlich fordert, ruckeln sie höchstens mal ein Stück heran - oder auch nicht. Einzig der Ball läßt sich halbwegs vernünftig steuern, so man ihn denn mal hat. Der sowjetische Torwart erheiterte uns dann mit ein besonders gekonnten Einlage: Das unter die Latte gehämmerte Leder hielt er dort solange fest, bis der Halbzeitpfiff ertönte!

So nimmt das sportliche Verhängnis also seinen Lauf, uns bleibt nur, den beteiligten Mannschaften das Beste zu wünschen - nämlich, daß sie schon in der Vorrunde ausscheiden... (jn)

World Championship Soccer logo

After a quiet spell, Elite return with another entrant to the footy genre. Converted from the MegaDrive, World Championship Soccer uses the usual overheat view to depict the action, and sports massive sprites similar to those in Activision's Fighting Soccer - unfortunately, though, Elite's Soccer plays and looks every bit as badly as Activision's toady.

The game opens with a menu system that allows you to choose which team you wish to guide to glory and who you want in your team. Each player and team has a number of statistics relevant to certain skills, and these must be placed in order of preference to create a balanced team. Once selected, the game begins.

As mentioned, the game uses an overhead view, and the match is played on an eight-way scrolling pitch. You are given control over the player nearest the ball, and via a combination of the joystick's directional controls and the firebutton, a variety of shots and passes can be accessed. In theory, this system should make for a fast and playable game, but the controls over the players are so finicky and annoying that any speed is lost as soon as a player comes into contact with the ball.

After being spoilt by Kick Off and its sequel, reverting to the primitive 'Super Glue' ball (i.e.: it sticks to your player's foot the moment he touches it), was a real nuisance. Similarly, another annoying fault is the goalie. Whenever the opposing team makes a break for your goal, control doesn't swap to the goalie until it is too late, resulting in the other team scoring nearly every time.

Needless to say, compared to Kick Off and most of the others in the genre, World Championship Soccer is non-league fodder, best left relegated to the software shop's shelves.