Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
As mentioned in SF2, US Gold were hoping to release Game Gear Super Kick Off for Christmastime, but delays mean you’ll be playing it with chocolatey Easter egg hands rather than a(nother) turkey sarnie.
Looking and playing much the same as the excellent MS version, it runs a wee bit taster. Like its big brother, there are plenty of options: alter the type of pitch, wind speed, match time (anything from 2-20 minutes), skill level and referee.
Equally important are the footy manager-type options: the all-important team selection from s full squad and choosing the defence/attack formation.
The element unique of the Kick Off series is the free-running ball — it isn’t magically stuck to the player’s foot, as in oodles of other soccer games. Instead you have to push it along as you run; until you’re used to it, it’s easy to lose control when changing direction.
Pressing button for a sliding tackle, although effective, runs the risk of injuring your opponent and getting a red or yellow card from the ref. who’ll award a free kick to the opposition.
Corners can be kicked in the direction of your choice using the magically-appearing direction box and button . The tiny little sprites are quick on their feet and respond well to GG controls.
Goalkeepers are computer-controlled and this often means few goals per match. They’re just too good to be true, making it very difficult to score!
I found the most effective goal strategy was to take the ball wide and cross it into the goal, or chip the ball over the goalkeeper by pressing . It’s tricky tactical play, and it’s a good idea to spend some time on the practice field before tackling a match.
Aside from the level of difficulty, Super Kick Off’s great, the gameplay’s fast and scrolling’s remarkably smooth. An excellent sports sim with masses of possibilities.
It’s always my worry that playability will suffer when a Master System game’s converted to the small screen. Fortunately, Super Kick Off’s still as enjoyable on the GG. There are oodles of options to keep any football fan happy. The graphics are nice and clear, the pitch scrolls really well, and control isn’t much of a problem. I can’t fault Super Kick Off in any way. I’m becoming quite the little expert — move over Jimmy Greaves!
Affective and well presented footy sim