Sensible Soccer (Amiga) review
"It's 1992 and I'm round at a mates house. He owns an Amiga, but I do not care. I have given up on videogames for far nobler things (ie. Star Trek fandom). I lounge on his bed watching some rented videos of the latest Star Trek series Deep Space Nine. He looks restless. He boots up his Amiga and looks at me expectantly. "
It's 1992 and I'm round at a mates house. He owns an Amiga, but I do not care. I have given up on videogames for far nobler things (ie. Star Trek fandom). I lounge on his bed watching some rented videos of the latest Star Trek series Deep Space Nine. He looks restless. He boots up his Amiga and looks at me expectantly.
Him: ''c'mon I got this cool new game called Sensible Soccer. It really needs two players to be any good, will you come and play?''
Me: ''I don't know why you are asking me, first I don't like football and have given up on videogames. Second after the last game we played ended with me snapping your joystick and kicking you in the groin, why would you want to play with me?
Him: ''Um, cos no one else will, dunno why.''
Me: ''Maybe it's cos you are a complete and utter gaming bastard. Now shut up, I want to watch Star Trek.''
But he moaned and whined for another 15 mins until I snapped and agreed to a game. Actually I glad he did persuade me because I became utterly captivated by this simple yet very addictive little soccer game.
Sensible Soccer was released for the Amiga in 1992. It used a top down perspective and simple ball mechanics to allow you to compete in the European Soccer League Championships. The soccer pitch was viewed from above and the players were tiny little sprites only 12 pixels high. The game was simple enough. You would take control of whichever player was nearest the ball and try and gain possession. Then you would race your player down the pitch and try and score as many goals as possible. The intelligence of the rest of your team was well programmed so it wasn't just a case of you trying to keep the ball in one players possession. If you passed down the pitch you would always find another of your team ready to take control of.
The speed of the game and the size of the players actually make the overall game feel like that of a game of pinball sometimes, with the ball rocketing backwards and forwards at lightening fats pace. Luckily the superb control system meant that you always felt in control of what was going on. The joystick steered your character, tappping one fire button would kick (a quick double tap could result in swerve balls and other cool stuff). Running towards an opponent and tackling could be livened up by tilting the joystick for sliding tackles that could direct the ball to a waiting teamate. But run too fast and the ball could slip out of your control. It was fantastically easy to get to grips with and made getting into the game extremely easy.
The graphics were great to. Although the tiny players were only 12 pixels high, they would turn and open their mouths after a foul,appealing to the ref. When taking corners they seemed to look around checking where to shoot. The screen always scrolled smoothly, and the players were (I'm told by someone who knows about these things) all kitted out in the correct team colours of the time.
The game would offer replays of goals, the ability to change the formation of the team during half time and the ability to call subs in off the bench. All the player names and teams were correct for that European Championship season and it all combined to give a game that was brilliant for the soccer fan, but also easy an accessible fun as a game in its own right for the non soccer fan.
In way, maybe it was too easy and accessible to get into. Having chosen Arsenal to play against my friends Manchester United I proceeded to thrash him 15-3. A memory I treasure, as he got increasingly annoyed during this, my first ever go. When the final whistle blew and I did my victory lap of his bedroom while the match highlights replayed, he stormed off in a right batey mood, leaving me to have fun playing through a Championship season.
I never again found a sports game that ever matched Sensible Soccer for sheer fun and playability. There was a great sequel called Sensible World of Soccer that added lots of new teams and lots of single player career modes. There was even a disappointing semi-3D update for the psx, which was lame. I just stick with the Amiga originals. Even today its a joy to play and the only soccer game this sport-hater will ever admit to enjoying.
Community review by falsehead (March 08, 2004)
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