Michael Owen's WLS 2000
We all love Michael Owen, and not simply because he looks exactly like Tim. We love him because he's the best footballer in the country, despite his slightly bulbous skull, and he represents England's only (slim) chance of ever making it past the second round of another world cup. But how will he cope with the pressure of taking on the all-conquering ISS '98 in the heated atmosphere of the N64 football game market?
Fortunately Michael Owen's World League Soccer comes with as big a reputation as the man himself, with the PlayStation version being widely hailed as the best football game on the system. The competition is a tad tougher on the N64, mind, but WLS99 is far from being a straight conversion of the original. For starters, the graphics have been tarted up beyond all recognition, and the game runs in pin-sharp hi-res mode, with player models much more realistic than the PlayStation version, in terms of animation and detail. The players are all coated with soft-skinned texture maps, a technique previously used to make Acclaim's WWF Warzone and All Star Baseball, amongst others, so convincingly solid.
Apart from the graphics, the fact that WLS 2000 will include an almost FIFAesque array of real teams and players is a good reason to look forward to this - there are more than 200 different teams from the top European leagues, including most of the national sides, all with up-to-date squads. The leagues can be customised, so Spurs fans can finally see what would happen if their team ever qualified for the Champions' League (a 6-0 home tonking the hands of Brondby, no doubt).
To make sure the gameplay is up to the ISS '99 test, the development team at Silicon Dreams have included a new set of skills and special moves - a total of 23 of them, in fact - and the artificial intelligence has been revamped to take advantage of the extra processing power offered by the N64.
Commentary is supplied by Peter Brackley and Ray Wilkins, so the mute button on TV remote controls around the nation looks set to be pressed into heavy action when World League Soccer 99 is released next April.
Download Michael Owen's WLS 2000
Football fanatics are no longer just limited to ISS and FIFA. Michael Owen's World League Soccer has the potential to kick Konami's ISS '98 off the top of the videogame football league. Eidos has announced that the game will run in hi-res -- and you won't need an Expansion Pak to take advantage of it!
Featuring over 200 teams, both national and international, Michael Owen's World League Soccer makes the boast that it will have the best visuals I and the best player intelligence of any football game, and it certainly seems that Eidos isn't kidding about the first part of the claim. The players themselves are highly detailed, and they run through stadia with crowds that react to events on the pitch and dynamic lighting that changes in the course of a match.
Unlike ASS '98, Michael Owen's World League Soccer has real team and player names, so there's no more of that spending hours laboriously entering the names of all the players in the Premier League. Player and team statistics are also based on the real thing. Although numerous leagues from around the world are included in the game, you can also create your own to pit the best international teams against each other.
Commentary is provided by Peter Brackley and Ray Wilkins, who will doubtless be praising Michael Owen to the skies every time he gets the ball. After all, it's his game!
Michael Owen's World League Soccer has been delayed slightly until the summer, but this means more time to perfect the playability and get those hi-res graphics sparkling. See you on the pitch...