Empire Soccer 94
Empirh Soccer - so called because it's from Empire, and not because it harks back to the days when footballers were arrested for showing a knee - takes a very different approach to US Gold's official number. Throwing all thoughts of simulations out the window, Empire has gone for arcade action, pure and simple. Comical arcade action with humorous pictures of cartoon-style characters flashing up at appropriate moments during the game. I know, I know... comical arcade action games usually provoke about as much light-hearted mirth as an episode of Casualty, but give them a chance. I'm not saying it's going to be the new Hancock's Half Hour, but it might add a little something to yourjaded existence. Who knows? Or cares, for that matter.
Again, it's based around the World Cup with all of the 24 teams who qualified, represented and again, it's got another eight teams that can be added for those whose national teams were too crap to make it there legitimately. Teams are 'loosely* based on the real thing, with all the essentials like passing skills, tackling, fitness and haircuts designed to accurately reflect those of the real teams. While we're on the subject of haircuts, isn't it about time Roberto Baggio did something about that ponytail thing? I mean, he's a superb footballer and all that, but he looks like a bit-part actor from Eldorado. He should have a word with Lee Clark, if you ask me. Or Attilio Lombardo.
The options are much as you'd expect if you've ever seen any sports game before. You can play one-off exhibition games and the full World Cup. and this, just like the World Cup '94 game, also has a training mode. I'm beginning to wonder whether these programmers all eat in the same restaurant or something. Or maybe somebody's been looking over somebody else's shoulder in class. Whatever the reason. Empire Soccer also boasts variable period lengths and selectable levels of difficulty - five of them, in fact.
Perhaps the most interesting feature that's to be included is the Team Super Powers: special abilities to add that extra air of devil-may-care adventure to the whole thing. Among the powers are the Speed Burst, which Jan Molby fans will already be oh-so familiar with, and the Super Barge, which knocks an opponent over and puts them out of action for up to ten seconds at a time.
The latter is not to be confused with the Bryan Robson Barge, which puts Teddy Sheringham out of action for up to six months at a time. And doesn't even get a booking. Not that I'm bitter. Again, it's nowhere near finished. The sprites are pretty darned big for a football game, which doesn't leave that much room for a great deal of the pitch on-screen at once, and apparently there will be no radar facility. How this affects playability remains to be seen, but it seems to scroll pretty well when we played it. The chaps at Empire would solve their problems with one glorious gesture if they decided to pioneer the fish-eye lens, of course, but that might be a little avant garde. Perhaps it'll be in the cd-rom version.
Download Empire Soccer 94
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP