Virtua Striker 2002
Hey, didn't Sega release a zany, arcade-style GameCube soccer game not two months ago? Yep, they sure did--it was called Sega Soccer Slam. Although Virtua Striker isn't nearly as over-the-top as that goofball title, the decision to release another similar soccer-bopper so soon is questionable. V'S 2002 is based on a popular Japanese coin-op title, Virtua Strikers, and its arcade roots shine through in every possible way. The vibrant, rock-solid graphics with detailed, realistic-looking players and nicely animated crowds filling the stands will turn some heads. Since the game was conceived as a quick, fun way to spend quarters, the gameplay bears no resemblance to that of a FIFA-style sim. Expect to focus more on busting out the slide tackles than actually strategizing. Purists might not dig the fast, steal-happy gameplay, but younger gamers, sports-game newbies and people seeking a quick thrill will have a good time with it. Strangely, Sega completely mishandled the console-specific features. The World Cup-esque Season mode suffers from clunky menus, cheap-looking static backdrops and music seemingly piped in from a 1959 dentist's waiting room. Trying to create and edit my own team was even more painful. The series of unwieldy, confusing menus that stood between me and my dream team of EGM staffers was so perplexing that it took nearly an hour to successfully bring my boys to the field.
If I've ever played an oxymoron, this is It.Sega's soccer game seems to embrace simplicity with its rudimentary, arcade-inspired controls and on-screen aides, but everything around it is overly crowded and complicated. The menu screens are cramped, the boxes that display your defense and current player are ugly, and your field radar is unreadably cluttered. And it gets even worse if you try to make subs or use the game's innovative yet intimidating team-management mode. I'd say that it would be worth navigating the unfriendly menus if the gameplay were solid, but it isn't. Like everything else, it's too rough around the edges.
GameCube owners can be thankful that Sega's providing some original titles for their system, but Virtua Striker is a case of overkill. Sure, it may look like full-on soccer, but this game's arcade gameplay doesn't impress nearly as much as Soccer Slam. VS looks awesome, plays decently, but does nothing to distinguish itself as a rewarding long-term romp. The game's main console offering is a World Cup circuit. It's just too bad the menus and team customization options require more intensity and concentration than the actual game. If you can't get enough of fast-paced soccer, check this out--but I'd head to the rental store first.
Download Virtua Striker 2002
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP