if you could combine the brains of Eric Cantona, the physical
strength of Les Ferdinand and the tree-like legs of Stuart Pearce?
Now you can, thanks to Eidos Interactive's ground breaking new
football game All Star Soccer.
Not another soccer sim? I hear you say. Well, not really as All
Star Soccer is more of a tongue in cheek look at the worlds most
popular sport. In fact I would go as far as saying that it actually
takes the piss out of the game. So if you fancy a bit of
light-hearted fun, then read on.
Star Soccer allows you to create your very own dream team in terms
of both physical appearance and playing style. The choice of the
players head, some of which are caricatures of top sporting stars,
determines mental attributes. Physical attributes are affected by
your choice of body and legs which affect speed, acceleration,
shooting, heading, tackling and stamina. In addition, you can
configure almost every aspect of the teams tactical play. These
include team formations, set-pieces, playing styles and player
marking. Once you have constructed a team you can move them onto the
field and take part in various modes of cup and league play.
game opens with a digitized intro that depicts a day in the life of
top TV sports presenter Des Lynam as he prepares to present his
regular Saturday football show, All Star Soccer. Poor Des has
overslept and must get a move on if he is to reach the studio in
time. His journey involves crossing the globe by various modes of
transport including train, bus, airplane, rocket (obviously a wind
up), and finally a taxi. Who should be sitting next to him on his
train journey but former European footballer of the year Monsieur
Cantona who rambles on and on about sweet F.A. (just like that train
commercial). A quick costume change, a visit to the toilet and he is
on air with only seconds to spare. The intro sets the scene for the
whole game - very humorous, but more importantly, very British.
In-game the graphics look a little dated with Eidos opting for
sprites rather than the smooth polygon appearance of rival soccer
games. However, the use of sprites offers one major advantage in
that they allow an extra amount of detail to be used to customize
individual players. All of the game sprites have been modelled and
rendered in a 3D studio to ensure that they are of the highest
quality. Most of your time will be taken up moulding your very own
team but this leaves the game itself appearing to have been an
Once you take your customized player onto the field they will
be instantly recognizable, but check out your opponents for a few
well known soccer celebrities. "There's Ruut Gullit, the
Chelsea player/manager and that must be Eric Cantona, but who's that
lad with a pineapple on his head? It has got to be Jason Lee".
The loading screen should offer a wry smile as it shows a test
card with Desmond Lynam posing as a female teacher while Jimmy (the
chin) Hill lies on the couch taking in the tactical plan.
I mentioned All Star Soccer takes a humorous look at football and
this is highlighted by the sparkling choice of match commentators
and summarizers. Big Ron Atkinson, Trevor Brooking, Brian Clough,
Alan Hanson, Jimmy Hill and John Motson to name but a few. In fact
everyone who has ever uttered a single word in the commentary box is
here.... Actually they aren't.... but top sports impressionist
Alistar McGowan is and he picks up on their mannerisms perfectly.
"Eeef un eel-ee-phunt nevur forgets, den why don't dey all
win Mastermind" - Eric Cantona.
"Huh huh, like, Terry Venables use'ta, like, play thuh
Chris'mas Tree for-may-shun, ya na. This is moor like thuh
lavor-tree for-may-shun, cos it's shite" - Words of wisdom from
the one and only Gazza.
Stuart Hall provides his nonsense monologues. Peter Beardsley
(bless him) struggles to put into words exactly what is on his mind.
Jack Charlton gets his oar in and Ruut Gullit speaks the English
language... almost. Many sports games fail miserably because of
repetitive commentary but there's reels of this stuff. Superb.
are a wealth of option menus to wade through which allow you to
tinker with every aspect of the game. Rules of play, leniency of the
ref, injuries, fouls, there is even an option to turn up the
There are four game types which are a Friendly, Knockout Cup,
Customized Cup and Custom League. To enter the Custom competitions
you must first create a squad of players. Dabble around with the
players hair color, head selection, skin color and choice of strip,
right down to the boots. Body and leg size will affect your players
performance. If a player is muscular then he will be slow at going
forward but a rock in the heart of the defence. Slim players are
ideal as wingers but will be more injury prone because of their
There are 12 styles of head available ranging from Cantona and
Gullit to a grandpa and an ape.
Eventually it's kick off time. A chance to put your band of
misfits through their paces. The controls are fairly basic with the
face buttons used for high and low shots, pass/tackle and sprint.
The longer the button is held down the more powerful the shot or
pass. Two of the shoulder buttons are used for violent play and
The action is fast and furious with little time allowed on the
ball. In fact your only hope of scoring seems to be if you launch
the ball upfield and then volley it straight into the back of the
net or collect the ball from your own half and then dribble past all
of the defenders before striking a shot at goal. This is because
passing is often inaccurate. With a little practice it is
manageable, at best. The most frustrating part of the gameplay is
the slow speed at which you switch control between players. When
your opponent threatens to score I can think of nothing worse than
being unable to control the nearest defender to their striker, but
this happens quite often. What a shame the gameplay could not have
been better. This could have been a classic.
Star Soccer is more about having a giggle and a laugh at the lighter
side of the sport rather than providing a serious soccer sim. As
long as you understand this point, then go for it. It may not be ISS
Pro but it's a hell of a lot funnier.
intro, tons of options and some of the funniest commentary you will
ever hear. A nice idea that fails on gameplay as it never really
feels like you are fully in control of the players and if a goal is
scored, it is often difficult to work out exactly how you did it.
After saying all of that the younger kids will love it.