The recent spate of football games in the arcades has given rise to Activision's latest conversion, Fighting Soccer. Like its arcade counterpart the action is viewed from above and the screen scrolls to keep the ball central. You have a team of five players of which you control the one nearest to the ball. The idea of the game is to win an Olympic Gold Medal by beating your opponents in a knock-out tournament.
You can use all the normal football skills: dribbling, shooting and heading but what makes Fighting Soccer different is that you can also foul your opponents. If you decide that an Olympic medal is worth a bit of foul play then you'd better watch out for the ever vigilant referee.
As we've come to expect of Activision the graphics are very good, everything is nicely drawn and reasonably animated. Good use of colour also enhances the appearance of the game. Because the action is viewed from above, when a player jumps or the ball leaves the ground, they get larger to give the effect of getting closer to the screen - a nice touch and very effective.
Sound comes in small doses but what little there is is quite good, all the normal football noises are present except for one glaring omission - there's no crowd noise. The referee's comments are digitised but they're less understandable than a British Rail announcement.
The strange control system makes it nice and easy to pass, dribble and shoot but almost impossible, to head or foul. Since heading and fouling are two of the game's main features I was disappointed not to be able to use them properly. Another minus point is the size of the pitch - it's just too small, all ten players seem to converge on the screen at once making it extremely difficult to keep any control over the ball. With a lot of practice it gets a little easier, but not much.
Because of the difficulty factor many people will give up after a few plays, real soccer fans with lots of perseverance may get some enjoyment from Fighting Soccer but I think that the repetitive nature of the game may even get to them after a while. If Activision hoped to net a winner with Fighting Soccer then this effort is well wide of the posts.
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