UEFA Champions League Season 1999/2000
|a game by||Silicon Dreams Studio Ltd.|
|Rate this game:|
With the Champions League simmering nicely towards its climax, Eidos knocks out the now annual version of its 'other' football game with typically skillful timing.
As regular readers will know, it began its relatively short life as World League Soccer, survived an unsuccessful Michael Owen endorsement, and emerged as a passable representation of arguably club football's most prestigious tournament, undergoing some incremental changes along the way. Although this is a despicable way to 'develop' a game, it's one the foundations of the games industry is built upon, and one that has seen the FIFA series emerge as the front-runner of the football genre.
So what has Eidos done this time round? Obviously, this season's data has been included, so in come Chelsea with further English interest again provided by Manchester United and the hapless Arsenal, whose ill-fated decision to play home games at Wembley is reflected here. As for cosmetic changes, the player models have been marginally improved, as have the stadiums, although having said that, Frank LeBoeut sports a full head of hair and the tunnel at Wembley has been mysteriously relocated to the halfway line.
This provincial sloppiness could possibly be overlooked if the action on the pitch was spot-on, but unfortunately it's far from it.
The developers have allegedly listened to some reviewers who apparently claimed that last year's incarnation was too difficult and lacking in fun. Big mistake. There's no such thing as too difficult - you're just not trying hard enough - and fun is hardly a quantifiable constant.
In making the game easier, Eidos has destroyed one of the fundamental elements of football. The reason football supporters take leave of their senses when their team score is that it is such a rare phenomenon, representing one second of delirium in an otherwise nerve-racking 90 minutes. In UEFA 99/00, goals are so plentiful it's more like playing basketball. With marking about as tight as a wizard's sleeve and goalkeepers with proverbial chocolate wrists, every game becomes a goal-fest.
Even in simulation mode on the hardest setting, we managed regularly to score at least seven goals in one five minute game, often conceding a similar amount. There's no point getting upset at letting a goal in when you can simply score straight from the kick off, and any tension and excitement is lost as the goals stack up.
Which is a shame. There are some nice touches in the game, although the reality is you'll never use them when it's this easy to score. Somewhere in there there's a decent game trying to get out, but this isn't it.