Actua Soccer: Club Edition
The original Actua Soccer broke the mould into thousands of pieces in terms of graphics and playability, successfully bridging the gulf between the super-slick presentation of FIFA Soccer and the instant accessibility and playability of Sensible Soccer.
Sporting fully motion-captured players, an instinctive control system and a match commentary by Barry Davies, even the most die-hard Sensi addict couldn't fail to be impressed. Sure, it had its problems - the goalkeepers made even David James look good and although the AI had one or two interesting little quirks that left you feeling more frustrated than Bryan Robson, it soon became the benchmark footie game by which all others were judged. Gremlin did their best to address most of the criticisms levelled at Actua when the game was released under the banner of Euro 96, but it still failed to live up to the massive expectations. The AI had been quirked, the keepers had obviously had their gloved knuckles rapped and the players stayed on their feet just a little longer, but it wasn't perfect. Actua Soccer Club Edition uses the same engine and AI as Euro 96 which means it still suffers the same problems. However, the fact that you can now play as your favourite English club side and that Actua Soccer is still the most playable and best-looking football game available for the PC makes this something of an essential purchase if you don't already own Actua Soccer or Euro 96. If you do, wait for Actua Soccer 2 (which looks awesome, incidentally) - it's due for release in the autumn.