Kick Off 3: European Challenge

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a game by U.S. Gold, and Anco Software
Genre: Sports
Platforms: PC, Sega GenesisGenesis, SNESSNES
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Kick Off Games

Well, I think wc can all agree that the less said about the original Kick Off 3 (KO3) the better. It was. well, not quite up to expectations and seriously damaged the otherwise glistening reputation of the Kick Off series, leaving footie fans across the land feeling as gloomy and frustrated as your average Ipswich Town supporter. (You know who you are!)

However, unperturbed by this momentary lapse of programmer's block, the peeps at Anco have decided to put it all behind them and right their previous wrong in an attempt to win back those fans of fast and furious footie games, who after purchasing KO3, hurriedly absconded to the Sensi side of the terraces to lick their wounded wallets and seek solace in the pixelled bosom of the mini-sprite. Kick Off 3 - European Challenge (KO3 - EC) can. therefore, be considered as a desperate attempt to win back original fans who favoured speed over, sometimes, cumbersome cuteness; a ball that stuck to your foot; and more menus and options than your average Pizza Hut restaurant.

Always something there to remind me

With this in mind. KO3 - EC doesn't really disappoint, but that's not to say that it's full of surprises either. Like all the previous Kick Off's, it boasts a quite extraordinary and diverse number of options, ranging from sprite detail, speed, skill, ball "gluey-ness", offside, as well as the more usual switchable factors, such as weather, pitch type etc. So you can tailor the game to play just how you want it to (in theory, at least) and make it as difficult or easy as you like. There are numerous different game options to choose from, including various Cup matches, leagues and custom competitions, whilst you can arrange friendlies with teams from all over Europe and get your players a nice sun tan by playing in Spain every week.

In keeping with the rather absurd belief that the more teams your game has the better it is, you can opt to play for any one of the 24 international sides or 96 European club sides, and each have their own particular brand of tactics, strengths and weaknesses. If you're not amply impressed by having to play with a team with made-up names (Anco had to change the names slightly to avoid copyright hoo-haahs, although they are still quite recognisable to anyone with a modicum of footballing knowledge), you can edit in your own names and play some of the great matches the world is never likely to see i.e. Albert Square Athletic Coronation Street United; Summer Bay Albion Ramsay Street Rovers; an FA Cup Final Match between Fulham and Northwich Victoria, etc. Play it again and again...

As far as gameplay and presentation go. KO3 - EC is better than its predecessors, but there's still room for improvement. Yes. there may be loads of different options, but thanks to the rather scrappy and unhelpful menu system and the lack of any detailed instructions, it's very much a case of trial and error at first. Consequently, you'll probably find yourself in a bit of a tangle until you've gone through the game and familiarised yourself with exactly what's available and how you select it - you might even want to take notes.

On a more positive note (as Michael Fish is apt to say when reading the weather) the gameplay is there in abundance - it's just that you've got to find it. I always found the control system in the Kick Off games a real bugger to cope with, although friends (yes, I have more than one - there's my mum, my little sis...) claim that once you've got the hang of it. it's far superior to any other games of its ilk on the market in terms of speed and ball control. I'm yet to be convinced. You can. however, polish up your ball skills in the numerous practice "modes", become intimately acquainted with the various set pieces and corner options, and play with yourself until it hurts, in an attempt to improve yourself. There are 16 different player actions in all to master (which are best accomplished using a gamepad like the Gravis with four buttons, although you can get by using just two), and it can get a little complicated even on the easiest level, using the best team, with all the favourable options switched on and no opposition - it's still hard. That said, like all the best footie games, it is quite playable in two-player mode once you've got the hang of the controls. You can even play two players on the same side, but it's still pretty difficult. Even with the player intelligence set on high, it's hard to meet crosses perfectly, whilst set pieces and free kicks need a lot of practice before you become any way near-proficient.

If you can stick at it long enough, work your way through the sloppy menu system and put in the hours practising different moves, you'll probably be quite impressed with KO3 - EC, and it should win back many die-hard fans. If. on the other hand, you never did get on with the other Kick Off games and want a game you can just load in and play rather than a sim, then you'd best look elsewhere. This game is not for whimps.

Download Kick Off 3: European Challenge


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

SNES/Super Nintendo/Super Famicom Screenshots

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