This is an unusual take on the football management game, which features virtually no statistics. Up to four managers can join in, to lead their chosen team through the World Cup, from qualifying to the actual tournament. Tactics and training are hugely important due to the game's short time frame.
The players each have individual personalities, and these have been factored in during the game. Sometimes players will drink too much, fall in love, or have personality clashes with their team-mates or with you, all of which have to be factored in. The press will ask you loaded questions, so be careful how you answer.
At half-time in each match you can single out a particular player for praise or criticism - if the team feels that you were unfair, their performance might fade. The World Cup is emulated accurately, other than having 2 points for a win instead of 3. The colourful match graphics and oil-painted stills are the same in style as those in the League Edition.
On the Ball - World Cup Edition was launched in 1994 by a company called Ascaron. This game is one of the most underrated soccer simulations ever made. Very few people even know of this game, but it proved to be very interesting for the lovers of sport simulations.
But now let's talk about the game. You need to run the crack before getting it started. After you launch the game, the first menu gives you the choice to edit your team and players. If you can't be bothered doing that, you can go straight to the game. This game gives you a chance to play with up to four players. After the initial choices, you have to decide if you want to play the qualifications for the World Cup or enter the tournament directly. In my opinion, selecting my own country and playing the qualifications is more fun. This game offers a good deal of variety as you have five levels of difficulty to choose from, and there are different play modes at your disposal as well. On the Ball even has a newspaper to inform you of the latest football related news around the globe.
After all these choices are made, you're ready to begin. You start in your office were you can do several things with your team, such as the selecting days when your country will play, the statistics where you can see the players with the most goals scored, results of other matches, etc... You can also check what the others think of your performance, and you have four groups that you need to keep satisfied - media, fans, players and associations. If your values are too low, you can get fired. There are more things that you can do in your office, but I'll let you discover that yourself.
Now we are in the pit ready to go to field. You can compare your team with the team you will be up against, and you can give some general directions regarding how defensive or offensive they should play. After that you can choose your tactic and formation, which is followed by the actual match.
If you like these types of managerial games, you will love On the Ball - World Cup Edition as it is one of the first in the genre. The graphics are good enough, and it is lots of fun to watch your players trying and scoring.
I give these game 4 stars for its originality, and for the good in-game atmosphere.
One of the most underrated soccer simulations ever, On The Ball differentiates itself from the likes of Championship Manager by its novel emphasis on the psychological aspects of the game. The game gives you, as team manager, full control over not just the strategies but even on what kind of "pep talk" you can give during half-time and PR moves to enhance public perception. Choose the host country, and lead your team from Qualification to World Cup in World Cup Edition and lead your English team to win the championship in League Edition.
How to run this game on modern Windows PC?
People who downloaded On The Ball: World Cup Edition (a.k.a. Anstoss: World Cup Edition) have also downloaded:
On The Ball: League Edition (a.k.a. Anstoss), On The Ball 2 (a.k.a. Anstoss 2), Player Manager 2, ANSTOSS 3: Der Fußballmanager, Player Manager 2000, Premier Manager, Player of the Year, Premier Manager 3
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