With a plethora of football games being released weekly you
would not think that a game like this would stand a chance against
games such as FIFA 2000, WLS, UEFA and a whole host of titles
across the various formats, but things could not be further from the
What does FIFA and all the other polished franchised games offer?
Great graphics, superbly rendered settings, commentary from
named celebrities, endorsements and massive marketing
campaigns for sure, but do you read much about actual game
play? Of course you do. All the games feature more moves, better
lighting, more skillful players and better AI but do they honestly
give the user a more enjoyable experience or is it all cosmetic eye
candy graphics? Are the games exciting to play? To be honest can
you really tell the difference between FIFA 99 and FIFA 2000 in
terms of game play? There isn't that much difference.
Total Soccer 2000 goes back to some of the basic elements of
some of the top selling, most talked about, football games to hit
the scene in the last ten years. Who can forget Kick Off with its top
down view or Sensible Soccer with it's fast gameplay and intuitive
feel giving it a real arcade atmosphere. Total Soccer 2000 moves both of
these games on one step. It presents the player with a top down
view but also some intelligent camera views to give you a fuller
picture. The players may look tiny but football is all about passing
and skillful use of the ball and that is where this game comes out
TS2000 covers 208 teams spread across 12 countries. All of the
teams we know and love (or can't stand in some instances) are
included alongside those that may take some getting used to: the
delightfully named Avispa Fukuoka from Japan being one of
many. Each team is given an overall rating which is an average of
all their players individual ratings in seven attributes; goalkeeping,
speed, control, tackling, passing, shooting and stamina.
Manchester United come out top with 86.5, whilst Finnish side TPV
are rated bottom with 73.8. (AC Milan are above Inter Milan whilst
Lazio are second overall.) The points difference may not seem a
lot but it does make a difference. Obviously as the matches
progress these ratings will change: not by much but significantly
enough to possibly alter the outcome of your next much.
There are two tournaments to play here; league and cup. In both
you select the number of teams, match length, pitch type, weather
conditions, etc. before choosing your own team, which is where
the fun really starts. Each player (and there are 16 in a squad) can
be given their own hair and skin colour and tone, alongside
altering playing kits for home and away matches. These
differences may be negligible when playing using the 'blimp'
mode but make all the difference when playing close up. You can
also go head to head with a friend in the dangerously addictive
multiplayer mode, and before you know it you will be yelling at
each other like madmen!
Before playing a match though, there is the training mode to
consider. This consists of ten disciplines; five dribbling, two
shooting, corner, free kick and penalty. The idea is to complete
each one in a given time although failing only means you'll have
trouble controlling the ball. It's to familiarize yourself with the
controls. The tactics screen is where you can opt for one of seven
formations, five playing styles and a zonal method consisting of 18
pitch sections for both attacking and defending to give instructions
to individual players.
As to the game itself, it's played from a top down viewpoint. It can
be zoomed in and out, something that makes a pleasant change
from isometric, 3D games currently all the vogue. This camera
view doesn't detract from the game in any way, in fact it makes
things that more exciting. Long, cross field passes or short
one-twos along with mazy dribbles are the order of the day here,
all executed with two buttons: one for shooting, one for passing
and either for tackling (the direction pad is self explanatory). After
touch is an option with the ability to transfer the player under your
control another. This brings up the only problem I have with Total
Soccer 2000: that player you have in control has a rather obtrusive
circle around him. Much better to give him a different shirt colour
in my opinion, but it is, admittedly, a minor gripe.
Sound, or what little there is, is provided by crowd noises and boot
on leather. Minimalistic maybe, but there isn't any need for over
the top commentators, something many players turn off anyway.
One thing I found pleasing was the inclusion of all the correct
players. Usually in a game from a "minor league"
developer/publisher, names tend to be made up which, although
not detracting from the playability, doesn't instill confidence in the
Here is a game that can be picked up by anyone and can be
played in an instant. If you are a dandy with the controls then the
computer AI or a friend will give you a challenge you have been
wanting for a long while. If you find football games a challenge,
here is a game that will gradually pull you in helping you become
better the more you play. Total Soccer 200 is not a retro game, nor
does it lack any graphical or technical refinements. It is merely a
game without pretentious angles - just a damn good game!