It's time to tiptoe down those creaky old stairs again. JONATHAN DAVIES leads the way...
Reviewer: Jonathan Davies
Obviously realising that this summer is going to be a long, hot footie one, what with the YS Footie Spectacular roaming the streets (oh, and the World Cup), the Hit Squad's done the obvious thing and dug out this old fave. It's THE footie game, really, and one that absolutely everyone should have a copy of. Even you.
Considering the ©1984 lurking in the depths of the cassette inlay (making it nearly as wrinkly as ouor Prod Ed), Match Day is looking very sprightly indeed. It's got everything! Half-decent graphics, vaguely convincing ball control and a complete absence of lists of numbers. The only thing that slightly annoys me is that you control whoever's closest to the ball. While this is fine for most of the time, occasionally you'll find control flipping between players when you don't particularly want it to. Perhaps it should wait 'til you press Fire or something. Not to worry though.
And the best part? Definitely the ultra-convincing simulation of the referee's whistle at the beginning of the match. It's unsurpassed!
Until Match Day II comes out on barg this is probably the best bet for the footie-frenzied light-of-pocket.
Dave: International Soccer has been available on the Commodore 64 (Wash your mouth out with soap! Ed.) for some time and has proved popular... especially in Dixons' shop windows! Well Match Day is basically the same game.
For those who haven't seen it, this is a football game where you have a 'camera's eye' view of the pitch on which two teams - either both player controlled or where you get to pit your boots against the computer - battle it out. You only control one team member at a time, while the others in your team run about and try to get into the best positions under computer control. If one of your players has the ball, then you get to control the player in possession; if you've got the ball, the Spectrum puts you in control of the player best positioned to intercept.
If the opposing side shoots for goal then you get control of your goalie and you can make him jump up or dive left or right. Set pieces, like corners and throw-ins, are handled automatically with your players positioning themselves; if it's your corner or throw-in, then you've nine options for the direction/strength of the throw/kick.
I hate football - but I loved this game and I'm quietly confident that it will be a hit. 5/5 HIT
Ross: The large graphics animate nicely, especially the goalkeeper who kneels up briefly after a dive and looks around for the ball. A fun game with a good degree of skill needed if you want to win the cup. 4/5 HIT
Roger: Unrealistic, in that it lacks violent crowd invasions of the pitch and vicious, leg-breaking fouls whilst the ref ain't looking. Still good enough to make Jimmy Hill mix his metaphors... 4/5 HIT
The thrills of Match of the Day and - no Jimmy Hill. To some extent Ocean has realised that football fans' dream with Match Day. For well over a year International Soccer for the Commodore 64 has been unchallenged as the top football action game for any computer. Now the Spectrum is back in the running.
Of course the limitations of the Spectrum's screen handling makes Match Day's graphics inferior to the CBM-64 game. but Ocean's program compensates for the poorer graphics with subtler controls which allow you to develop a whole variety of ball-playing skills.
Imagine watching a match from the TV camera's gantry high up in the main stand. That's the view you have of the action which scrolls smoothly as the play moves from one end of the field to the other.
Match Day is a two-player or if you want some really tough opposition try out your own brand of total football on the computers International level. It's the top level of three and it never puts a foot wrong.
The program's Amateur and Professional games are also very good, but beatable, and they are the only place to start if you've never played before - especially when you are trying to perfect the penetrating through-ball.
Set pieces like corners, throw-ins and goal kicks can be very finely timed and crushingly effective. In situations like these, as in the normal run of play, you can vary the angle and the pace of the ball. Probably one of the most difficult techniques to master using the joystick is the diagonal cross-field pass along the ground. But once you have got the hand of it, it really can cut the computer's defences to shreds.
Control passes from one team to another according to whichever is closest to the ball. Although that may sound simple, trapping and controlling the ball itself is another matter. The only way to do that effectively is to watch the ball's shadow and move your man to where you expect it to land.
As the slightly arthritic-looking players troops out on to the pitch to a rendering of the Match of the Day music, you might wonder what Jimmy Hill would make of some of the refereeing decisions the computer allows. The goals scored directly from throw-ins would certainly make that famous chin drop in disbelief. And most commentators would soon run out of cliches if in real matches the ball were to stick unmovably behind the goalkeeper for a whole half at a time.
But you soon get used to that - just as you learn to live with bad decisions on Saturday afternoons. In any case there are enough nice details in this program to make for the shortcomings. It's good to be able to name your own teams, choose the colours they'll be wearing as well as the competition they are playing in. All in all, a credit to the game.
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB