the European soccer season approaches the mid-way stage Mindscape
unveil a further addition to the ever growing list of Playstation
football games with Taito's smash arcade hit, Super Football Champ.
Over the last 12 months I have witnessed foul play with FIFA
'97, the challenging gameplay of Soccer '97, the motion captured
splendor of Actua Soccer Club Edition, and the best soccer game on
the PSX to date, ISS Pro. I was a little tentative about loading up
Mindscapes review disc of Super Football Champ as the preview I
played about four months ago appeared to be heading in the opposite
direction from all other PSX soccer titles. While rivals were
striving for the ultimate next generation sports sim with silky
smooth motion captured graphics, multiple viewing perspectives,
tight gameplay and top celebrity commentators, Super Football Champ
was going back to the basics with chunky arcade graphics, single
camera angle and goals galore. Where would this road lead? Let's
I mentioned, Super Football Champ is different. It is pure arcade
action that deflates the idea that all video soccer games must be a
serious simulation of the sport. SFC is the type of football game
that you would spend your loose change on for an hour or so in the
arcades before scoffing a packet of chips on the way home.
intro looks promising enough. Each of the games star players are
featured as they display their repertoire of skillful moves before
powering the ball into the back of the net.
The in-game graphics are typically arcade with bulky polygon
players plodding around the pitch, pushing and shoving for
possession of the ball. Although they appear as a squad of numbered
clones, your star player does stand out from the crowd with his
individual features and hair style (not forgetting to mention the
flashing 'Ace' arrow over his head).
Many mannerisms have been coded into the game. When subjected
to hard tackles the player will roll across the pitch clutching his
injured leg before slowly heaving himself back onto his feet. If
tripped from behind he will stagger for a few strides before
regaining his composure. The most impressive actions have been saved
for the after goal celebrations as scorers perform cartwheels,
somersaults, sliding dives and a selection of synchronized team
formations that have become part of today's game.
Super Football Champ slips up in the viewing department with
it's lack of camera angles. I would have preferred if the camera had
been a little further back but the default setting is the only one
available and passing proves difficult in this close up mode. There
is an on-screen radar but I find those things more of a distraction.
music is only just bearable which is more than I can say about the
commentary. Whenever you are tackled you are subjected to the
commentators (if that's what you could call him) sarcastic ridicule
as he croaks - "He gives it straight back". Fair enough,
but surely not every single time that you lose possession of the
ball. In fact you begin to lose the will to score when every effort
is accompanied by -"He shoooots, he shoooots. Gooooal, gooooal,
goal". I can't say anymore about this fellow as I am getting
annoyed just thinking about him.
Luckily there is an option to turn this crap off but that only
leaves you with the mind numbing repetitive chants from the crowd.
Look, do yourself a favor and turn the volume on your set right down
before you even think about playing this game.
your in the options menu (turning the sound off) you may tinker with
the game settings. The duration of the match may last from 2 - 18
minutes with the difficulty level ranging from easy to very hard
when playing against the computer. The offside rule may be switched
off for a more flowing game while extra time may include the sudden
death rule for a definite outcome.
There are 30 International teams to choose from with the skill
set at the level of their real-life counterparts. Each player will
perform to the positional strengths of their team - apart from the
'Ace'. Before a match begins you must first select your team from
the mighty Brazilians to the Japanese minnows. Then you must select
one Ace player from a choice of eight. Each has an individual flair
or skill. He may possess a super power-shot, expert dribbling
skills, a master at disguising his rough play, a lightning fast
runner, a free kick expert or a genius of the feint. If your Ace
player receives the ball during play then he will perform to his
capabilities and probably run rings around the opposition before
powering a shot into the top corner of the net. This leads to more
goals and scores of 11-9 will not be uncommon. This makes a pleasant
change from developers producing an error free game that usually
ends up in a 1-0 win or a boring goal-less draw. SFC is about
scoring goals, lots of goals.
The controls are similar to other soccer games with long and
short passes, one-twos, shooting and sliding tackles, but it's the
inclusion of a 'rough play' button that adds a further element to
the gameplay. If the oppositions star player is running rings around
your defenders then a press of the appropriate button will see your
player shoulder charge him off the ball or stick out a leg to trip
him up. Better still you can actually grab hold of him, lift him up
and then throw him off the ball WWF style. This will probably lead
to a booking, but what the Hell. SFC is about fouls, vicious fouls.
Super Football Champ feature four modes of play. Exhibition is
a single player game against the CPU, a head to head against a mate
or a cooperative partnership against the CPU. Worldwide Tournament
begins with group matches before entering the quarter finals for a
straight knockout. District Tournament is a straight KO competition,
while the inclusion of a Penalty Competition allows practice for
those sudden death situations.
Football Champ is a 'back-to-the-basics' arcade soccer game rather
than the simulated precision football package that other developers
are aiming for and this makes a pleasant change. It is simple enough
for the kids to pick up and play and who knows... they may even
enjoy the commentary (take them to a specialist, they desperately
the kids should enjoy this, it is may not be to the liking of the
soccer purist. There were many things that annoyed me about this
game. The sound effects were damaging my health, the players
responded late to the instructions from your joypad and the game
generally chugged along rather than smoothly flow, as we know this
'sexy sport' can. If you prefered the days when soccer games were
simple to play then SFC should be to your liking. If not, try before