What does he know about football?!
Latest Score: £9.95 cass, £14.95 disk
Author: Graham Blighe, Terry Wiley, Andrew Calver
'Emlyn shoots straight from the hip!' proclaims the blurb on the inlay. But we at CRASH promise to ignore details of Mr Hughes's private life and just look at the game…
SCOTTISH SMIRKER: Well Greasie, who d'yi think'll win today's match?
GRINNING GIT: I dunno, it's a funny old game, but probably the team without the Scottish goalie!
SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS: That's not very nice o'yi, some of the best goolies are from north of the border.
GREY-HAIRED GRINNER: Not the ones under your kilt!
THE WEE MAN: Why, brain yi, yi stupid Sassenach!
PHIL: Oy, you two, get out of my comment!
Phew! What a cheek, they've already got their own TV show to talk rubbish on. So, not wasting any more time, Emlyn Hughes International Soccer combines football management with arcade action. A multitude of options may be selected, using a simple pull-down menu system. The most important of these allows you to pick the players and substitutes for your team out of a limited squad (players cannot be bought and sold). Each individual player has a fitness level and three skill levels for running speed, defensive skills, and attacking skills -these can all be altered by the player. Any of eight international sides can be player/computer controlled in League or Cup matches, or a season comprising both types. Friendlies can also be arranged to test various team combinations.
One or two human players can take on a computer-controlled side in a match, while pitch/player colours and match length are definable. The 3-D view of the pitch is similar to that used in Match Day scrolling horizontally to follow the ball. A single player is controlled at one time, indicated by a pointer above his head.
As well as dribbling and spitting (only joking!), players can kick and head the ball, and even perform sliding tackles, although careless use of these can lead to free-kicks and penalties. Kicking the ball is achieved by pressing and releasing the fire button - the longer it is held down, the harder the shot will be. Height and direction of the kick are controlled by moving the stick when fire is pressed.
Despite its many pre-match options, Emlyn Hughes International Soccer puts the emphasis on arcade skills rather than strategy. Selection of different players doesn't seem to have much effect in the match itself. Still, actually playing matches is fun (especially with two players), although play is not quite up to the high standard set by Match Day II. One annoying flaw is that the game has a tendency to abort in two-player mode, though this is great if you're losing! (Flippin' cheat! - Mike).
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: well-animated players, choose your own colour scheme
Sound: simple ref's whistle effects
Options: too many to mention
Well, someone must like Emlyn Hughes (his wife perhaps?!), and that person is quite likely to be pleased with International Soccer. Though my first impressions of the game were that it wasn't very good (to say the least!), perseverance makes it seem a bit better. After two or three hours it becomes quite bearable. Ten quid though, is a lot to pay for a game, and personally, l don't think it's worth it! Playability is alright, as it seems to be free from annoying bugs. But the addictiveness largely depends on how you feel about football, and (at the risk of incurring the wrath of Phil!) I don't like it! (Are you totally deranged?! - Phil). It is one of the better Spectrum soccer games though, and I enjoyed playing it (even though Phil kept resetting when I was winning).
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