Who was patiently waiting for this bad boy? Not me, I’m after International Superstar Soccer – that was my go-to footy games on the SNES, not Super Soccer. But, it’s a football game, and it has to be better than the NES Online game Soccer – surely? Of course, it is.
What’s it all about? Well, it’s football. That’s about it. It may have soccer in the title, but what’s in a name? The objective is to take your 11 players on to the pitch, score some goals and try not to get booked. If the latter isn’t part of your agenda, may I suggest the classic Speedball 2, Brutal Sports Football or kicking some shins down the park? But you didn’t hear that from me. That just isn’t cricket. Or football.
Having saved a paragraph or two writing about what football is about, I can just get straight to the content. After a classic intro scene (a series of static sprites building up to an assumed goal), you can jump straight into the action – as you should be able to. No faffing about with 101 different stats or sponsorships, just pure unadulterated football. It’s not that exhilarating, but it’s good enough.
My Team’s Better Than Your Team
When Super Soccer was released, Lionel Messi was five years old. In that era, we had our own legends – Paolo Maldini, Diego Maradona, Ruud Gullit (seen on the cover of Sensible Soccer) and Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne. Ah, those were the days… Unfortunately, these aren’t present in the game as there isn’t any licensing, and instead, we have charmers like Rod, Jane and Freddy. Or thereabouts.
For a football game to have any appeal to me, there are critical criteria that need to apply. Can I run with the ball and build up a passing game? How straightforward is it to score? Are there sufficient camera angles – except for Sensible Soccer and Kick Off, they need to be sideline views and not a deal-breaker, but can I play anyone I know or like? Graphics aren’t a factor, it’s all about gameplay for me.
Super Soccer skips past all those. Ok, I can run with the ball reasonably well and put it in the back of the net without pressing three different buttons, standing on my head and reciting the lyrics to Hit Me Baby One More Time in Swahili, but it doesn’t flow like I’d like it to. The camera is fixed from behind the goal line. Not the end of the world, but it doesn’t look so great with the graphic style. I’ve already touched on the player names. We know who they’re based on though. If you’re old enough.
There are a couple of modes you can try out: the standard kickabout, a tournament mode, and within the standard mode, you can opt for a penalty shoot-out. To be honest, I didn’t touch on the tournament mode, nor am I likely. You see, overall, Super Soccer is a bit of a pig. The ball goes out of play far too much, you can continually shoulder barge a player to get the ball and not get booked, and not once was I able to grab a burger from the sidelines.
I want a game that allows me to be able to hold the ball for enough time that it looks like I know how to play, but Super Soccer doesn’t allow that. Don’t give me “but it’s 16-bit, what do you expect?” – I was made from 16-bit parts – I even have a Super FX chip installed. International Superstar Soccer was much better (though I might regret saying that as I haven’t played it for some time). Kick Off was better than this, and that was before 1992.
Though it’s not really any good, I almost said that Super Soccer is now the best football game I’ve played on the Switch, but I would have to say FIFA 18 still holds that crown. Yeah, it got slated, but the fundamental parts work, and I’m happy with that. There is a title on the Nintendo eShop that I have in my wishlist called Super Arcade Soccer. Perhaps it’s time for a review of that…?
Disclaimer: I kicked a ball. Once.