Oh, but this feels good! It's been too long since I wandered up to my Amiga room like some sad-but-happy old bloke trundling down to his allotment shed. It really is the only way to be, lock away the harsh realities of telephone bills and responsibilities, load up ye good olde SWOS, and get into some seriously week-wasting career. Yes, we're here again in familiar territory my old chums, with that reassuring ache in the wrist (and you can keep your dirty comments to yourselves, thank you) and the knowledge that the moment you lose concentration you'll be relegated from managing the mighty Arse' to cleaning the urinals with a toothbrush for Southend United. But that is the good thing about SWOS and indeed the legacy of Sensible Soccer as a whole; you can leave it alone for a year, but the moment that menu tune plays out, a surge of nostalgia-fuelled adrenalin floods through the body, and the detail of every little cheap shot and set play comes as naturally as it ever did. So why exactly are we here again? Simple - it's time once again to update the teams. If you're already an owner of SWOS then you can simply pick up the upgrade for a tenner, of should you be a Sensi virgin then now's the chance to open your mind ...
There's only one
To be honest there's really no point in going over ground that, to be frank, we've already kissed quite enough times already thank you. Many pretenders have tried to draw us in in the past but there'll only ever be one true footy game as far as most of us are concerned and that's Sensi. Having evolved from the simple-but-intricate kickabout that Sensible Soccer was to the deeply involving strategy/arcade/simulation of Sensible World of Soccer, we now find ourselves faced with the near-perfect formula that needs no improvement, simply an occasional update to avoid falling behind (and let's be honest, it was getting hard to take Manchester United seriously with Cole up front!)
Time for a new career methinks. And look; Arsenal are as up to date as any Gunners fan could want Hartson and Helder wait patiently on the bench hoping that someone better gets injured, while new-ish right-winger, Vieira, snuggles in amongst some of the Premiership's most matured players - all fronted by the stunning-this-season Ian Wright. Okay, let's get going ... but wait! What's this? Surely not a new option in SWOS? But it is - in the guise of a training facility. However, unlike many management games, this isn't to improve your players' stats, but instead a chance to play against the sub-filled Arsenal B Team, making changes to both sides as you go, and checking out possible A Team inclusions. (Oh yeah - it's also, pretty handy for warming up if, like me, you haven't played for a few months!)
And we're off - albeit after a quite training match to soften up those knuckle joints - straight back into the familiar embrace of hour after hour of crowd accompanied footy joy It's all as it was when we first discovered SWOS, with bending passes being used to lead players forward, new-improved goalies, and the welcome addition of heading CPU teams. If you want to get REALLY anal, you can still set up your own tactics and formations, but as is always the case, the best fun's to be had with a gang of mates and a good old fashioned knockout league. And there you have it. Still the best football game ever. Still worth playing never mind the rendered and motion-captured pap the wonder consoles' are putting out. And STILL as captivating and addictive as it ever was. Did you expect anything less? I didn't think so...
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Sensible World of Soccer 95-96, Sensible World of Soccer, Cannon Fodder, Lemmings, Cannon Fodder 2, Kick Off 2, Secret of Monkey Island, The, Sensible Soccer
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