Commodore User


Microsoccer

Author: Steve Jarratt
Publisher: Microprose
Machine: Commodore 64/128

 
Published in Commodore User #61

Microsoccer

In what has to be the most unusual pairing of the year, MicroProse has teamed up with Sensible Software (Cuddly Crix and Jovial Jops) in order to bring you Microsoccer - a footballing simulation which provides both indoor and outdoor soccer action.

There are two versions of the sport included in the package, both of which are loaded separately. A standard eleven-a-side game is played over a multi-directionally scrolling grass field, which an American Rules game six-a-side game takes place on a smaller indoor pitch which simply scrolls vertically.

Normal rules apply, with the exception of boring things like offsides [Should disappoint Spurs and Arsenal fans! - Ed] and each game can be set between two and twelve minutes in length.

Microprose Soccer

Players may challenge each other in a friendly match, or enter into a World Cup competition with up to sixteen competitors. This option follows the usual World Cup draw, and includes 29 teams from which to choose your preferred nationality. The remaining countries are represented by the computer when drawn against human layers, and each team is graded in difficulty with Brazil being the team to beat. Well it wouldn't be England, would it? This also acts as a skill level selection, since it's easier to win playing as Italy, for example, than it is when representing New Zealand.

There's also plenty of scope for the solo player, though, who can enter the World Cup on his own, or take part in the Sensisoft International challenge. This is a table of sixteen teams who are played in succession and are increasingly more difficult to beat. If you win, you go up the table - if you lose, you go down. The ultimate aim is therefore to beat the top team, Brazil.

Programs in both leagues can be saved to tape or disk, allowing major competitions to continue over several days' play.

Microprose Soccer

The On-field control method is similar to most games of this sort, and is more or less identical for both the indoor and outdoor versions. Although the whole team is represented on the pitch, only one player comes under your direct control at a time - normally the one closest to the ball. The player constantly dribbles the ball while in possession, and only kicks it once the Fire button is pressed. The strength of the shot is determined by the length of time that the button is depressed, and the style of shot is selected by the position of the joystick. You have several shots at your disposal: lobs, volleys, banana shots (which can be set at low, medium and high) and an overhead, back-kick, Pele style.

When the opposition have possession of the ball and approach near the goal area, control switches to that of the goalie, signified by a buzzer sounding. The goalie is moved as normal, but on pressing the Fire button, he dives left, right or upwards as required.

Tackling is accomplished by running into the opposing player and pressing Fire. The player then attempts a sliding tackle and either puts the boot in Norman Whiteside style and gains the ball, or goes whizzing past. This is especially tricky when the rain starts falling (accompanied by thunderclaps and lightning flashes) since the tackling player can go spinning around the field if his attack is mis-timed.

Microprose Soccer

Control of your player is quite tricky at first but it doesn't take too long to get to grips with. However, becoming proficient enough to thrash the computer-controlled foreigners should take some time.

Microsoccer is also great to look at: the graphics are extremely clear and the animation on the players effective. There are plenty of nice touches throughout, such as the rain falling on the pitch, and the amazing action replay; whenever a goal is scored, it's followed by an accurate replay, complete with VTR rewind and noise bars!

The game manages to cover all aspects of the sport, including corners, goal kicks and throw-ins plus penalty shots and out-of-bounds shots for the six-a-side version, but combines fast arcade style action in what must be the most complete, if not the best, football simulation on the C64. One-nil to the Sensible boys.

Steve Jarratt

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