'ERE WE GO AGAIN…
Ere we go, 'ere we go, er ... I can't remember the rest of the lyrics! And Lineker has scored - a nice looking bird she is tool However, Gary gets most of his kicks on the football pitch, wearing an England jersey and occasionally hitting the back of the net (if someone pushes him in!).
But on with the game... Gary Lineker's Hotshot allows you to control any of 16 national sides. However, this isn't the World Cup - the teams are in a league of four divisions. Two players may also play a 'friendly', while other options allow game time and computer team intelligence to be altered.
Matches are shown from directly overhead, the huge pitch scrolling to follow the ball. As in most booty sims, you control the nearest player to the ball. If none of your players are on-screen, an arrow shows the direction of the nearest one. Once in possession, dribbling is automatic, although going backwards without first rotating leaves the ball behind.
Various types of kick (including overhead) can be performed by moving the joystick as fire is pressed (shot power is determined by how long the fire button is held down). Pressing fire when not in possession makes the player do a sliding tackle. But if the timing isn't quite right, you can easily foul an opposing player, resulting in a free kick (even inside the penalty area!). Persistent fouling results in a player being sent off.
Throw-ins, corners and goal kicks are handled identically to normal kicks. Goal keepers are totally automatic, tracking the ball and kicking it upfield when they've caught it. But they're no Peter Shiltons - they can't even jump up or dive.
Match graphics are surprisingly colourful, although as a result, the scrolling of the pitch is jerky. But generally, presentation is good, especially on the title screen where a wide range of options can be selected while listening to a lively 128K tune.
The bad news is that despite its fine appearance, Gary Lineker's Hotshot loses out in the playability stakes. The pitch is far too large, making passing very difficult - the only way of knowing the positions of off-screen players is by watching a tiny 'radar' screen! But probably the biggest flaw is the way the game time continues even when the ball is dead. This means that the side in the lead can just waste oodles of time - this may be realistic, but it's still irritating.
Another problem is that the computer teams aren't very intelligent, and are therefore easy to beat. However, as in most sports simulations, the two player mode gives the greatest enjoyment. Gary Lineker's Hotshot is fun for a while, although ultimately second division stuff.
PHIL ... 62%
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: surprisingly colourful, although the scrolling's jerky
Sound: catchy 128K title tune, decent effects
Options: one or two players. Choose from sixteen teams
'I can't say that I have been overly impressed with Gremlin products of late, but this does go a small way to redressing the balance. Graphically the game is good with a bird's-eye view of the little players thundering around the pitch, fouling each other like crazy. This is one thing which did annoy me a bit: you only get a lousy free kick after being fouled - Vinnie Jones would have a field day! Still, despite a few flaws, Gary Lineker's Hotshot is worthy of consideration.'
MARK ... 66%General Rating:
A technically sound, but simplistic soccer simulation.
Taking a corner while the fans cheer.
The reds are just about to score.