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European Football (soccer) games have become big business over the years, with the FIFA series and Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) regularly dominating the gaming charts upon their release. With realistic player graphics and a vast database of players, names and skills, these games also offer a combination of amazing moves whose execution wouldn’t be out of place in a fighting game.
It wasn’t always so, however – back in the day most football games required nothing more than a single button joystick. Awesome Soccer is a reminder of those times, and of games like Sensible Soccer and Kick Off 2.
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True to the spirit of the older arcade style football games, Awesome Soccer has a low minimum system spec. Any PC running Windows 98 or later should be able to play as long as the system is also equipped with a 1.4 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and a minimum 64 MB video card.
Of note is the support offered by the game developer – there’s a useful technical support forum that provides assistance in getting through any issues.
Available from www.red27studios.com, Awesome Soccer can be picked up at the special introductory price of $9.95.
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Simple Soccer Gameplay
You don’t need a 12 button gamepad to enjoy Awesome Soccer – either a keyboard or a single button joystick will do (although if you do have an elaborate gamepad, that’s fine – you’ll only be using one button though!) as the button serves to control the ball depending on your situation.
For instance, you can hardly head the ball while dribbling, so there is little use for a separate button here. Meanwhile shooting and passing both involve the feet, and are usually differentiated by the strength of the action. This is replicated in Awesome Soccer by tapping the button to pass and holding down to shoot.
While shooting you can also bend the shot, by pushing the controller at 90 degrees to the direction of the strike – we’re talking extreme David Beckham bends here, with potentially devastating results!
A number of achievements unlock the 33 Golden Balls within Awesome Soccer, beginning with one for winning the first game - a great incentive to keep playing a great game.
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Graphics and Sound
Graphically, the game appears a little cartoony – the in game footballers are small and almost all the same but this doesn’t matter. Awesome Soccer is an arcade game, not a pretentious simulation, and all that is needed to recognise the players in the heat of the action is a name label and the right strip.
An on-screen graphical overlay displays the score and some statistics, while the faithful Kick Off-style radar displays the location of players on both teams.
As with many soccer games, sound is used to illustrate the motion of the ball – a noise is made each time a pass or shot is taken and there is also a crowd noise that is thankfully not too intrusive.
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Feels Like a Classic
As a gamer who previously enjoyed Sensible Soccer and Kick Off to the full (I regularly built teams and tactics in Player Manager in order to play them in Kick Off 2) news of the release of Awesome Soccer immediately caught my eye. While there have been a few attempts to clone Kick Off for the modern PC market (notably the amusingly titled “Throw In") Awesome Soccer comes closer than any other, offering its own individual gaming arena and style of play while combining the simplicity of the 16-bit football games. Great stuff.