It is 40 odd years since the first person flicked a small weighted piece of plastic across a green table-sized blanket and tried to hit a huge (in relation to the player) ball. I remember owning a Subbuteo set when I was a nipper, and playing the Electronic Zoo computer version has brought the memories flooding back!
The game starts with the usual option screens: Single or League Matches. Both options allow you to play against either a friend or the computer, though league is more fun because it allows you to play with up to eight people (single only allows two participants). The rest of the options are the standard choices you'd expect from soccer games - team names, playing time (15-45 mins), skill level, and team formation.
You have control of all of your players except the goalie (who's always computer controlled), and each flashes in turn as a cursor passes over them. A press on the fire button selects a player, whilst a second press moves a small cursor. This is used to determine the direction of the flick. Then set the power and spin of the shot and watch it fly off.
Sadly Subbuteo is a brave attempt that doesn't quite pay off - too many footie releases have stolen its limelight. Control is a little confusing at the start, but practice improves this. But it's strange not to move the player with the ball at his feet: the skill here lies in flicking the player at the ball (and totally mining, in my case). Sound effects and graphics are as simplistic as the gameplay, so even with a few mates playing, the computer version doesn't quite catch the atmosphere of the table-lop game.
MARK ... 50%
'Subbuteo, hoi, hoi, hoi, hoi! Well that's how they go isn't it? Flicking stumpy footballers around a pitch, attempting to hit a ball the same height as the players is not my idea of fun. In the main game you view the players from above so all you see is a coloured circle with a white bit in the middle. What's the point of a computer simulation of Subbuteo? Owners of the original table-top game are going to be the only ones interested - and only so they can play it on their own.'
NICK ... 59%
Fans of the board game are advised to stick with the original.