Y’know, just for kicks!
Release Date: Summer 1995
Platforms: Megadrive, SNES, Atari Jaguar
You may remember that i mentioned getting hold of a modded Megadrive in my last post. This has reignited my interest in Sega’s 16 Bit powerhouse, and I’ve been playing quite a few of those old cartridge classics again. The game I spent the most time on, is Fever Pitch Soccer.
Developed by U.S Gold, Fever Pitch (known as Head-On Soccer in America) is a fast paced, arcadey football game played from an isometric viewpoint. You pick your favourite national team and compete in a massive tournament, spanning the globe.
This isn’t regular football, though. Opposing teams have no problem kicking your player off the ball, and if you’re waiting for someone to call “foul” you’ll be waiting a very long time indeed. Your only option? Get better at attacking. Play the ball faster, and kick them back!
Whilst all this swift, brutal action is taking place, I noticed two things.
1: The pitch conditions vary wildly, from dry, bumpy and sandy to fields of mud, to water-logged nightmares. You’ll have to alter the way you play, depending on the conditions. Wet pitch? play balls along the ground, they’ll fizz past defenders. Desert pitch? Stick to high balls, that ground pass could bounce off anywhere!
2: The control scheme is…. temperamental! Passing is fine, the small delay when shooting will often get you kicked off the ball and heading is a nightmare. Your player throws himself forward as if he’s been shot! You need to spend quite a while getting used to these controls. The plus point is the wonderful curl you can put on your shots! Beckham wishes he could bend shots like this!
Star players. THIS is why I keep playing Fever Pitch. The more games you win, the more credits you get, and the better “star players” you can afford. My favourite is the Cheat, who will fling himself to the floor at the touch of a button, giving you the chance to win a free kick or even a penalty. Others include the Barger (wrecking machine) the Tricky (bunny hop with the ball between your feet) and Striker 2 (a quick shot that sets the ball on fire)
It’s so much fun building your dream team and battling through the awful conditions I mentioned above. Opposing teams have their own star players too, so the game gets much more challenging later on! This truly has that “one more go” feel to it, a big plus point!
What about 2 player? There IS a multiplayer feature included, although this is mostly an afterthought. Player 2 simply takes control of whichever team you happen to be facing at the time. A good laugh between friends, but it won’t last long. The option to pit two dream teams against each other, or even a bog-standard 2 player option in the main menu would have been far better. Ah well!
I’ve really enjoyed getting back into Fever Pitch. The difficulty’s just right, the music/sound effects are great and it satisfies my need to build a team and tweak it. Just too bad about the multiplayer!
Graphics: Looks way better than most Megadrive football games and bags of character – 9
Sound: Great theme tune, nice crowd noise and sound effects, some repeat too much – 8
Gameplay: Arcade action, definitley NOT realistic. Apart from players diving. Not even FIFA does that! – 9
Lifespan: Single player mode will last quite a while. 2 players may want to look elsewhere. 8