Ocean Software Ltd
1984
Sport: Action
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

50,51,52
Chris Bourne

Match Day is a 3D football game played on a marked-out soccer pitch and features animated players and a bouncing ball. It may be played by one against the computer or by up to eight players in a knock-out competition using a 2-joystick interface or the keyboard.

The pitch is viewed from above and to one side in perspective, the screen scrolling continuously to centre the action. Each team has its own coloured strip, and the players are operated by the computer on a logical basis, mimicking soccer tactics. The player controls the character in control of the ball, or the one who is in the best position to tackle. Most soccer skills such as tackling, dribbling, passing, heading, blocking or trapping. The controlled player is indicated on screen by the fact that his socks change colour to match the rest of his strip.

Set pieces such as corners, centres and goal kicks can be performed with three levels of kicking strength.

After loading the game you can set the time of play (or 5, 15 or 45 minutes each way (extra time is automatic if there is a draw). At this time it is also possible to select one of the three skill levels (for solo games against the computer). Names of teams may be altered to suit the players' inclinations. On top of that it is possible to alter the team colours, the background playing colours and that of the border to suit individual taste. The main menu options are readily accessible between each game and are even offered at half time. The colour change menu takes you to a screen with all the elements displayed in large characters so you can see the effect clearly before deciding.

The game comes accompanied by a 12 page instruction sheet with comprehensive details of both the features in the game and how to play it.

CRITICISM

'Match Day is Ocean's answer to Commodore's International Soccer and (besides having simpler graphics) this new Spectrum version is much the better. Offering superb options, including fully redefinable keys it is a much more playable game. The graphics are good and there aren't many attribute problems, which there were in World Cup Football. This game 'sports' many of International Soccer's features like a bouncing ball and diving goalies (which you can control for once). Match Day must be the definitive football game for the Spectrum and after seeing it, it puts all other Spectrum football games in the shade. This is the one to get!'

'Ocean's Match Day is by far the best football game about. There are others about which are quite good, but this one has the best graphics, playability, and atmosphere. Due to its playability it is surely going to be as big a seller as Daley Thompson's Decathlon. Match Day is very authentic in actual game play, but leaves out several less desirable elements like crowd violence and fouls (mind you on occasions the players seemed to be giving each other some nasty looks). The switching from player to player that is controlled as the ball enters that area, is very good. Dribbling, passing and other essential realistic features are all well done. Ocean have produced a great sports simulation which I would strongly recommend to everyone.'

'There are few attempts made at active football games. Earlier attempts have been quite good but none have been as good as this one. So much detail has been packed into this game and it has an almost foolproof front end. Graphics are of a nice size and well drawn, detailed. The animation is pretty good although the way the players run is a bit odd in the sense that they seem to put their feet down very definitely and almost in a robotic-like manner, but this doesn't spoil the character of the game. Such is the detail that attention has been paid to every point, for example the crowd constantly move up and down in different rhythms, and there is a shadow of the ball which increases and decreases in size depending on what height the ball is at which all adds to the 3D illusion. One feature I liked about this game is that you can alter the playing colours, not only on the players but also on the border and the pitch, a very useful facility. This game will probably appeal most to footballing fans but nevertheless a very difficult game to win.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: user definable
Joystick: almost any via UDK, but would have to be Sinclair 2 for two-handed play, unless keys programmed separately
Keyboard play: very responsive, and programming system makes for easy control of players
Use of colour: excellent with definable characteristics
Graphics: very good, realistic animation from all characters and everything is large and clear
Sound: good 'Match of the Day' tune, but not much during play except whistle sounds
Skill levels: 3 in solo game, otherwise depends on skill of real opponents
General Rating: A first rate sports simulation that requires several skills and offers plenty of playing options. Excellent value for money.

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