Feeling The Football Fever
Thanks to the Covid-19 outbreak, this year’s extravaganza of international football, the Euro 2020 Championships, has been kicked into next summer.
Yet while we eagerly wait for the Euros and the return of the professional domestic game in the UK, there’s plenty of action for soccer fans, because this is the beautiful game, in video game form, on Antstream Arcade, where every type of retro gamer and footie fan is catered for!
OK, I want fast, fun and furious! And a little bit silly.
Sensible Soccer is the game for you! Originally released by Sensible Software on the Commodore Amiga back in 1992, Sensible Soccer was devised by Jon Hare and Chris Yates, originally appropriating sprites from their previous game, Mega-Lo-Mania. With its zoomed out view and super-fast gameplay, each match in Sensi is an exciting end-to-end event. Throw in fun elements such as the ability to perform some wicked swerving shots, leagues, intuitive controls, custom teams and more, and you’ve got one of the most vibrant simulations of the sport ever. Its follow up, Sensible World Of Soccer – dubbed SWOS – is an even more expansive and in-depth game that sacrifices none of the playability of the original.
How about a career style game, like New Star Soccer?
We’ve got that particular corner covered with the game that inspired New Star Soccer, Footballer Of The Year, and its sequel, to boot! Published by Gremlin Graphics back in the Eighties, Footballer Of The Year was originally proposed to the software house as a board game, before it sensibly decided it would make a neat video game. Using a card system, the player has a set number of attempts on goal for each match, facing off against robust defenders and an athletic goalkeeper. Starting out as a fresh-faced 17-year old, you must use all of your skills to attain the ultimate glory – international selection!
I’m more Millwall than Real Madrid – what can I get my teeth into?
SNK’s Fighting Soccer is a violent arcade footie sim from 1988 that should be right up your particular right wing channel. Presented in a familiar top-down view, these burly players specialise in muscling each other off the ball, and there’s a vicious sliding tackle in their armory too. As an arcade game, you’re unlikely to find the range of options and depth of simulation – just a rough and tumble version of the not-so-beautiful game! For further less-than-honest football gameplay, check out the urban Street Sport Soccer from Epyx.
I enjoy a challenge – anything a touch trickier?
Touch is what the original Kick Off, and its sequel Kick Off 2, are all about, and both are available to play on Antstream Arcade along with Super Kick Off on the Mega Drive and Kick Off 3. Unlike most other football games, the ball doesn’t simply stick to feet, meaning the player has to learn how to control the ball – much like in real life. The Commodore 64 original scrolls horizontally, while all the other versions move up and down, and there’s a wealth of management options in the latter games. Once mastered, this is a superb series, with bundles of hidden depth.
I remember spending hours on the classic Football Manager back in the Eighties – anything similar on Antstream Arcade?
Sure is. For 8-bit footie management fans we’ve got Alternative’s Soccer Boss from 1986 for the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. Soccer Boss lets you take control of any English team, playing in the football league and European cups, while 1988 saw fellow budget label Atlantis release League Challenge, and that game also permits you to change the name of your team – we are Antstream Arcade United! However, the highlight of 8-bit management is undoubtedly the international-focused Tracksuit Manager. Handed the job of managing a country following an embarrassingly bad World Cup performance, it’s up to you to turn around the nation’s footballing fortunes. With its huge range of options and tactical decisions, Tracksuit Manager is one of the finest soccer management games out there, but for those who prefer a more graphical interface to this type of game, there’s Premier Manager and Premier Manager 97 by Gremlin, for the Sega Mega Drive.
Ok, (red and yellow) cards on the table – I don’t actually like football video games, but I’d still like to play something with a soccer-ish theme. Can you help me Antstream Arcade?
Well, yes, actually we can, because we have the graphic text adventure Football Frenzy on Antstream Arcade! In this puzzle-heavy game, the player takes on the role of the overworked manager of Grimesditch Rangers, three days before their team is due to appear in the cup final. Mundane tasks such as paying bills are mixed up with the occasional disaster – can you cope when the team’s changing rooms catch fire? There’s plenty of brain power required to navigate these 72 hours, and lots of humour and colourful pictures to keep you engaged, too.
Sorry guys, I’m agoraphobic, so there’s nothing here for me.
Well that’s where you’re wrong kiddo, because we’ve got Indoor Soccer, a neat simulation of the five-a-side game from inside a sports hall. Here there are no corners, set-pieces or throw-ins and the ball continually bounces around the four walls - game on!