Hooligans: Storm Over Europe
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With The obvious exception of girls kissing, there is no finer sight than grown men of limited intelligence punching each other hard about the face and neck in the name of association football. Admit it. If there's ever a sniff of football-related scandal on the news, you're glued to the screen, revelling in the sight of drunken youths running amok in some foreign land. It's great television, and the media are only too aware of this, giving heavy rotation to the slightest hint of bother. The papers fill countless pages with it, generally describing a bit of chair-throwing as an unstoppable orgy of violence. Those same newspapers that whipped up a frenzy during Euro 2000 have been frothing at the mouth about Hooligans: Storm Over Europe, expressing their moral outrage by effectively providing free advertising for the game.
We've finally played it, and ethical validity aside, we can confirm that it's not a documentary. Without condoning it in any shape or form, the majority of football hooliganism involves pissed blokes running in random directions, hopping on the back foot, limbs flailing wildly, occasionally landing the odd rabbit punch amidst a flurry of windmilling. Clearly, there have been more serious incidents, and it is these that provide the inspiration for Hooligans, a ludicrously over-the-top, allegedly comic take on the scourge of football.
A mission-based affair, various scenarios are played out in a series of unspecified European cities. Troops are assigned to leaders, and more can be recruited in local hostelries. Looting shops provides revenue, and this can be spent on weaponry, with traditional clubs and knives augmented by Molotov cocktails, fireworks, and even guns and bombs.
Smash It Up
The leaders aside, there are five basic units, and they bear very little similarity to the Burberry-clad pond life that regularly sully England's overseas engagements. Hardest of the lot is an 18-stone bovver-booted skinhead - a Daily Mail cliche - and he is joined by a balaclava-wearing pyrotechnics expert, a biker, a burglar, and curiously, a shell-suited raver, directly contradicting the theory that Ecstasy culture brought about a momentary outbreak of peace on the terraces. Each has a particular skill, and these are used, by and large, to kill or maim rival supporters and the police. It genuinely is an unstoppable orgy of violence. Throw in beer, drugs and prostitution, and you get the general idea.
As a game, Hooligans leaves a lot to be desired, and much of the challenge comes from grappling with the limitations of the interface and Al rather than the complexities of the missions. There are few concessions to modern technology such as zooming in or rotating the screen, and the whole thing looks very dated - hardly surprising considering they've spent the last two years trying to get it published. But it's finally here, and we now know that not only is it in bad taste, it's also quite a bad game.
Download Hooligans: Storm Over Europe
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP