Sensible Soccer 98 European Club Edition
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|Sport Games, Sensible Soccer Game
Barely three months after the much delayed Sensible Soccer '98 finally appeared, the obligatory club edition is already upon us. Some may look upon this as piss-taking on an EA scale, but who are we to judge? It's all marketing; we're just here to tell you whether it's actually any good. And of course it is, as the big red number currently invading your peripheral vision at the bottom of the page confirms.
Despite all the graphical enhancements, it's still Sensible Soccer, the original Amiga incarnation of which is still arguably the greatest football game ever made. Clearly, Sensi is looking a lot better these days, but the crucial factors that originally made it such a success have remained largely intact.
The top-down view enables you to see who you're passing to, the controls are responsive, you can get plenty of purchase on the ball, and the damage to your thumbs is tangible.
So what's new? Well, all the options for one thing, with the game featuring the top divisions of England, Scotland, Italy, France, Germany, Holland and Spain, as well as a host of other crack European sides. There is undoubtedly value to be had in taking charge of your favourite team, and this is amply catered for - unless, of course, you have the misfortune of supporting some two-bit shit-kicking lower-division outfit.
But for those not burdened with such despair, entire seasons can be played out, and Sensi European Club Edition also features the three major European competitions, replete with the correct first-round draws and Champions League groups. And if you fancy yourself at international level, you can start by trying to qualify for Euro 2000, again with the actual groups. Accuracy is everything, and data was being collated right up until the game was mastered, with Ruud Gullit's supplanting of Kenny Dalglish at Newcastle just making the deadline, along with any recent transfers. Player names are still deliberately misspelt though, this being a legal issue which really should be sorted out. What is the point? We're on the verge of armageddon, engulfed in misery and squalor, yet some people have nothing better to do than quibble about using real names in a virtual reality computer game. It's a farce.
The graphics have improved since the last incarnation, although to the untrained eye the changes are negligible. The major difference is that the play is far smoother than before. Sensible Soccer '98 was a decent game, but in all fairness it was let down by jerk-o-vision. This has now been remedied, apparently by simply changing one variable - an incident that just goes to show what a random business this crazy mixed-up world of games is. The new-found smoothness has a knock-on effect on the gameplay, and it is now easier to stroke the ball around with confidence, making defending a viable option, as well as encouraging flamboyant headers and volleys.
Ultimately, there's plenty to keep loners busy, and for a swift multiplayer tournament it still produces the goods. Some things never change. It's Sensi. It rocks. But you already knew that.