Game Over Online ~ Total Soccer 2000

GameOver Game Reviews - Total Soccer 2000 (c) Iridon Interactive, Reviewed by - Jimmy Clydesdale

Game & Publisher Total Soccer 2000 (c) Iridon Interactive
System Requirements Pentium 166, 32MB Ram, 50 MB HD Space
Overall Rating 90%
Date Published Friday, November 26th, 1999 at 09:27 PM

Divider Left By: Jimmy Clydesdale Divider Right

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 truth.

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 exceedingly well.

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 end user.

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!


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