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Silicon Dreams




1-2 Player

Game Type

Sports sim

Mem. Card

Review Date

May 1997

Setting the Scene

During '96 there was a plethora of new soccer games released on the Playstation of which most where a breath of fresh air compared to the previously available 16-bit renditions of this immensely popular sport.

This year sees the dawning of the soccer update as in the coming months we will receive Adidas Power Soccer International and Actua Soccer Club Edition which are not new games, but tidied up versions of last years product. Improvements promised are tweaked gameplay, updated statistics and hopefully devoid of bugs.

Eidos get the season underway with Soccer '97, their updated version of Olympic Soccer. The first obvious change is the title, I mean whoever decided to name a football game after the Olympic Games. First of all the Olympic Games is a sporting contest that raises it's head every four years, hardly going to be on everyone's minds for three quarters of their lives. Then the event is supposed to be an amateur contest, although recent rule changes saw the likes of Argentina and Brazil parading their star players. Finally, the sport of soccer is not exactly synonymous with the Olympic Games and, in my opinion, should be removed from this occasion, leaving the spotlight on athletics, ten pin bowling and synchronized swimming.


Soccer '97 now holds a PFA licence which allows the use of Premier and selected First Division teams, each with a full updated squad of pro players. So you can now tear down the wing as Ryan Giggs, save those almost unstoppable shots with David Seaman or have Alan Shearer score 50 goals a season, but I doubt you will. You see Soccer '97 turns the difficulty setting up an extra notch that makes goal scoring no longer a formality but a tactical reward for prizing open the oppositions defence. This makes the game playable for a greater length of time although you will miss out on the enjoyment of putting ten past your neighbors in your local Derby.


The game opens with a neat, but short intro showing a young footballer displaying his ball controlling abilities in a street setting. This should act as a reminder to budding young stars of the future exactly where the grass routes of a playing career begins, on the streets, not in your bedrooms.

The in-game graphics of Soccer '97 are similar to it's predecessor with the players represented by polygon figures that are simplistic, but effective. The teams adorn their famous colors with an away strip available for similarity clashes. The players goal celebrations are a mark on modern times as the players skid across the grass in formation, on their knees with arms aloft, while a victory results in a never ending lap of honor.

The games are played to capacity crowds in multi-tiered stadiums, while all of the action can be viewed from a selection of camera angles that range from pitch level to top down. The cameras are positioned on the sidelines, at the corner flag or behind the goal.

Sounds and Effects

Alan Green once again provides the ball-by-ball commentary with each player in possession named. There is the usual array of quips that provide a wry smile the first time heard but can grind on your nerves after several repeated mentions. Unfortunately, that's it as far as the sound effects go.

I hope developers of soccer games will take note of the sport sim Jonah Lomu Rugby where the crowd bursts into 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot', which creates a little thing called ATMOSPHERE to the proceedings. Have you lot never been to a soccer game before. So there is still no rendition of 'Who the f*** are Man United?' from the Kop, or the Manager politely informing his defender to mark a little closer, even the odd Geordie accent of Shearer calling for the ball would make a pleasant change.


The game options include a 1-2 player Exhibition game, where two teams are selected to play in a one-off friendly match. Arcade is a 32 team KO played over six rounds where only one team may be entered, but two players can join forces against the computer. A four group tournament can be set up by highlighting the teams that you wish to take part, with the group winners fighting it out for the trophy. Soccer '97 also gives you the option to play a season in your own custom built league of between three and twenty teams.

The in-game options are plentiful with the games duration lasting from 3 mins to a breathtaking 90 mins, with an option to play extra time and penalties or the new new Golden Goal rule where the first team that scores, wins. Each of the players characteristics can be customized from winger to man to man marking, giving each his own individual style of play. Substitutes can be requested during a match, while the games conditions may be set before play commences.

The control pads functions can be selected from twelve set configurations. Most of the buttons have a duel purpose giving you control of up to sixteen different actions from chips, volleys and bicycle kicks to chest control and one-twos.

There are not many soccer games around that are devoid of those easy goals, such as Power Soccer with it's chip goal straight from kick off or indeed Olympic Soccers goal line header from a corner kick, but I have yet to find the perfect angle to beat the goalie every time, which is great. I mean, what is the point in gradually moving the ball up the pitch with some sweet passing moves when you could hoof the ball up the field to your centre forward, who will strike an unstoppable shot that will hit the back of the net every time?

To win a game of Soccer '97 requires your defenders to mark tightly and tackle precisely with correct timing. Your midfield should cover your backs and provide through balls for your forwards, while your attackers must pressurize the opposition with accurate crossing, instant ball control and split second shooting. The goal keepers AI has been increased so they will dive down and smother the ball if an attacker gets too close to the target and a defensive back pass will see him race off his line to clear the ball way up field. In fact the only way you are going to win at this game is through skillful passing and sharp reactions in front of goal, which is how the game should be portrayed.

Value for Money

Soccer '97 is a difficult game to judge as there are many out there who will already own Olympic Soccer. If you do own the original then this game now offers you Premiership teams and those spoiling bugs removed. If you are a connoisseur of footy games, then the challenging gameplay may be just up your street. If you are looking for your very first console soccer game, then be warned, Soccer '97 is quite tough to beat.

Overall, Soccer '97 is a great two player game with an option to handicap teams which can be a great leveler.





I found this game a little frustrating at first as the quick passing movements and clinical finishing of the top teams left me with a mountain to climb before reaching half time. However the two player mode allows you the time to build up your skills before facing the mighty forces of the Premiership elite teams, especially when second player is your pet dog. Soccer '97 is the most challenging footy game I have played and even the most skillful players will not win the league on their first outing.











There are two type os soccer game - The first is a slow and realistic paced game that gives you enough time to plan accurate crosses into the box, followed by a beautiful diving header into the net. The other is a more fast and furious game that relies on fast reactions and pin-point timing for success. Soccer 97 is of the latter type and is easily the best in this field. So if you like it FAST, then this is for you!








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