Virgin Games Ltd
1989
Sport: Action
£9.99
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

41
Mark Caswell, Nick Roberts
Chris Bourne

World Cup Soccer '90 is the only 'official' World Cup soccer game, and thus the only one allowed to sport the little stick man mascot (named Ciao). It's also taken from an arcade coin-op of the same name, though it must be an obscure one 'cos I've never seen it. So, two licences packed into one Speccy game - does quantity equal quality though?

It's your chance to go to the top and grab that coveted gold trophy, though the other teams will obviously put up a fight. First choose a one or two player game, tell the computer whether you own a colour or black and white telly (I kid you not) and pick to play England, Belgium, Italy or Spain. The first qualifying game is played against the US of A (isn't Gridiron Football the American sport?).

The task is simple: score as many goals as possible in the time allowed (which is what soccer's all about, really -Ed). The player under your control is highlighted by an arrow, a good thing because all your team mates look the same. Control of a player can be switched by pressing the firebutton when not in possession of the ball.

When in position to score a goal the view changes from a side view to behind your player with the goal in front of you. The same sort of view is presented when you're defending (though you control the goal keeper). If you beat the USA you move onto the next match, and the next until you hold that cup in your hands, or tail miserably as the case may be.

Sprite movement is very nice, but then the backdrop for the main pad of the game is green so the computer's little memory chips aren't stretched too far. My two main niggles are the opposing teams' colours, a garish pinky splodge (yuck) and the lack of sound (unless you count the annoying whistle). Still, it's playable, and by no means the worst around.

MARK ... 70%

CRITICISM

'I'm not a great fan of soccer games as a rule, but I did find World Cup Soccer 90 quite good fun (until I was knocked out in round two). This is a basic football game: none of the endless options you get with most, just a pitch and a few players to kick the ball up and down. The graphics have a digitised feel to them, but I don't think they are. The programmers have tried to give them a more realistic look than the stick men or cartoon players of other games. Their colouring is a little splodgy at times, especially when the players get together and clash. One fault I did find is that free kicks, goal kicks, etc are computer controlled leaving you just watching, and the goalie doesn't dive! To save a goal you just position him where you mink the opposition are going to boot the ball. A good basic football game.' NICK ... 71%

No-messing footy. Good, but lacks triff-making polish.

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