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Code Masters Gold
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Marcus Berkmann
Chris Bourne

Gasp! It seems like only 18 months ago that this was out on full price. (It was only 18 months ago, you clot. Ed) It was CodeMasters' first entry in the blockbuster market, and the fact that it didn't exactly revolutionise their release policy shows how well it must have done. But actually, for what amounts to just another attempt to out-Match Day Match Day, it's nobbad at all.

Of course there aren't really four soccer simulators at all - there's one basic model with variations - but it's quality not quantity that matters here. For instead of aping Match Day like every other soccer sim under the glowing orb, these CodeMaster laddies have flipped the whole thing 90° first this way and then that way, giving us a bird's-eye view from above. Otherwise of course the gameplay is much the same as normal, and anyone who's sampled any of the other sims should have no trouble working this one out.

The variations too are novel. Game One is a full 11-a-side football match, while Game Two scythes this down to an indoor five-a-side game. Game Three is even less formal - it's Street Soccer, played in your very own back yard, complete with cars, houses and trees to punt the ball into. The final game is not really a soccer sim at all, but a Soccer Skills exercise session, both for practice and against the clock.

Needless to say, all this is breathtaking value at three nicker. It still doesn't touch Match Day 2, of course, but then it doesn't really attempt to - the overhead perspective makes it a quite different game. On me 'ead, lad, on me 'ead.