Review: Soccer Kid

Go on…. my….. son.

Release Date: (original) June 1993
Platforms: Amiga, CD32, SNES, 3DO, MS-DOS, Jaguar, GBA, Playstation
Genre: Strategy/Sim

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Everything is football at the moment. Tonight we’ll see France take on Portugal in the final match of Euro 2016, and every day there are more transfer rumours floating around newspapers, websites and workplaces between the club teams, as fans gear up for the start of a new exciting season.

This seems like a perfect time to introduce you all to one of my favourite Amiga platformers…. Soccer Kid!

This game I’ll be looking at is the original (And BEST!) Amiga version, but just look at that list of different machines this game came out on!

Story

An alien Pirate (yaaargh!) Called Scab is searching for new trophies to add to his collection. He steals the World Cup, only to collide with a satellite during his escape. Jules Rimet isn’t gleaming anymore, in fact it’s smashed into several pieces and scattered accross the globe. You are Soccer Kid, and together with your best friend, football… you must travel the world and restore the cup to it’s former glory!

Before you start, you can dress Soccer Kid in whatever kit you choose. This was great fun back in ’93. Of course Soccer Kid would usually wear the red and white of Manchester United, dreaming of Mark Hughes scoring bicycle kicks…. but occasionally he’d sport yellow and green, a tribute to Norwich City. Or the unmistakable purple of Fiorientina!

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(You made your own fun with these games back in the day!)

Soccer Kid starts off in jolly old England, but must travel to Italy, Russia, Japan, and finally the United States if he wants to get all the pieces back together. Each country has three stages, which consist of different levels, full of secret areas and hidden football cards to collect. The graphics are superb. You’ll see towns, cities and countrysides, and encounter everything from wrench-chucking builders to Roman Soldiers to big fat opera singers!  And NONE of them are very friendly!

Luckily, you have your football. Your only weapon in the game, but it’s so versatile!  You can perform headers, overhead kicks and backheels. You can balance on top of the ball to roll across ledges, or bounce off the top of it for extra-high jumps! It will roll away at some point, it may even pop. But simply holding the fire button will bring the ball straight back to your feet.  You get rewarded at the end of each stage for pulling off various trick shots, and more points can mean extra lives!

And you’ll need them.  The game is quite a toughie,  the platforming action gets harder as you progress, and you need some serious footie skills to beat each country’s end-of-level boss!

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Only one life left?  You’re pretty much knackered!

I want to mention the music as well. The Amiga has a GREAT sound chip, so obviously the background music for each stage here is AMAZING. In fact, long-time readers may have already heard the tune from level 1 in my earlier post.

There are a few, small niggles with this game I have to be honest. The controls can be a little awkward at times, there is so much to do with your football, and it takes time to line up your shots. The second gripe is difficulty. As I’ve mentioned, this game can get FIENDISH. In the days before memory cards were invented, getting all the way to Russia and then kicking the bucket was a hard pill to swallow. Enemies can be so swift and deadly, you’ll learn new curse words.

I made a quick gameplay video, just so you can see the first few levels. Because it’s a quickie I used an emulator and a USB joypad. Nothing will ever be as good as a joystick for this, so I apologise in advance for any silly mistakes!  Hopefully this illustrates just how tough this innocent looking platformer can get!

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Soccer Kid is one of the most vivid memories I have from the Amiga days. We’ve all played platformers, like Mario and Cool Spot. But Soccer Kid’s mechanics really make it stand out from the crowd. The graphics and sound combine for a great 1-2 punch and the variety of levels, enemies and collectibles will keep you coming back for more!

Graphics: Pixel-Perfect with loads of character – 9
Sound: Excellent Music for each stage, and nice sound effects too – 9
Gameplay: Tough to control your character, frustrating with the game’s diffuculty – 6
Lifespan: A definite challenge, but an endearing one – 7

overallseven

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