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ALL STAR SOCCER
S.SHOT
Developer Eidos Interactive Options
Distributer Eidos Interactive 1-8 Plyrs
Game Type Sports Simulation Mem. Card
Review Date November'97  ?
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SCENE
GENRE
GRAPHICS
SOUND
PLAYABILITY
VALUE
OPINION
 
 
REVIEW INDEX
Setting the Scene
What 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.

Genre
All 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.

Graphics
The 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 afterthought.

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.

Sounds and Effects
As 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.

Playability
There 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 on-field violence.
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 slight physique.
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 trick moves.

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.

Value for Money
All 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.

Opinion
MARTIN
GRAPHICS: Average Tremendous 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.
SOUND: Brilliant
PLAYABILITY: Average
VALUE: Good
OVERALL 75%

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