Match Day

by Jon Ritman, Chris Clarke, Guy Stevens
Ocean Software Ltd
Crash Issue 13, February 1985   (1985-01-24)   page(s) 50,51,52

Producer: Ocean
Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £7.95
Language: Machine code
Author: Jon Ritman & Chris Clarke

Match Day is a 3D football game played on a marked-out soccer pitch and features animated players and a bouncing ball. It may be played by one against the computer or by up to eight players in a knock-out competition using a 2-joystick interface or the keyboard.

The pitch is viewed from above and to one side in perspective, the screen scrolling continuously to centre the action. Each team has its own coloured strip, and the players are operated by the computer on a logical basis, mimicking soccer tactics. The player controls the character in control of the ball, or the one who is in the best position to tackle. Most soccer skills such as tackling, dribbling, passing, heading, blocking or trapping. The controlled player is indicated on screen by the fact that his socks change colour to match the rest of his strip.

Set pieces such as corners, centres and goal kicks can be performed with three levels of kicking strength.

After loading the game you can set the time of play for 5, 15 or 45 minutes each way (extra time is automatic if there is a draw). At this time it is also possible to select one of the three skill levels (for solo games against the computer). Names of teams may be altered to suit the players' inclinations. On top of that it is possible to alter the team colours, the background playing colours and that of the border to suit individual taste. The main menu options are readily accessible between each game and are even offered at half time. The colour change menu takes you to a screen with all the elements displayed in large characters so you can see the effect clearly before deciding.

The game comes accompanied by a 12 page instruction sheet with comprehensive details of both the features in the game and how to play it.


Control keys: user definable
Joystick: almost any via UDK, but would have to be Sinclair 2 for two-handed play, unless keys programmed separately
Keyboard play: very responsive, and programming system makes for easy control of players
Use of colour: excellent with definable characteristics
Graphics: very good, realistic animation from all characters and everything is large and clear
Sound: good 'Match of the Day' tune, but not much during play except whistle sounds
Skill levels: 3 in solo game, otherwise depends on skill of real opponents

Match Day is Ocean's answer to Commodore's International Soccer and (besides having simpler graphics) this new Spectrum version is much the better. Offering superb options, including fully redefinable keys it is a much more playable game. The graphics are good and there aren't many attribute problems, which there were in World Cup Football. This game 'sports' many of International Soccer's features like a bouncing ball and diving goalies (which you can control for once). Match Day must be the definitive football game for the Spectrum and after seeing it, it puts all other Spectrum football games in the shade. This is the one to get!

Ocean's Match Day is by far the best football game about. There are others about which are quite good, but this one has the best graphics, playability, and atmosphere. Due to its playability it is surely going to be as big a seller as Daley Thompson's Decathlon. Match Day is very authentic in actual game play, but leaves out several less desirable elements like crowd violence and fouls (mind you on occasions the players seemed to be giving each other some nasty looks). The switching from player to player that is controlled as the ball enters that area, is very good. Dribbling, passing and other essential realistic features are all well done. Ocean have produced a great sports simulation which I would strongly recommend to everyone.

There are few attempts made at active football games. Earlier attempts have been quite good but none have been as good as this one. So much detail has been packed into this game and it has an almost foolproof front end. Graphics are of a nice size and well drawn, detailed. The animation is pretty good although the way the players run is a bit odd in the sense that they seem to put their feet down very definitely and almost in a robotic-like manner, but this doesn't spoil the character of the game. Such is the detail that attention has been paid to every point, for example the crowd constantly move up and down in different rhythms, and there is a shadow of the ball which increases and decreases in size depending on what height the ball is at which all adds to the 3D illusion. One feature I liked about this game is that you can alter the playing colours, not only on the players but also on the border and the pitch, a very useful facility. This game will probably appeal most to footballing fans but nevertheless a very difficult game to win.

Use of Computer: 88%
Graphics: 84%
Playability: 86%
Getting Started: 91%
Addictive Qualities: 85%
Value For Money: 81%
Overall: 86%

Summary: General Rating: A first rate sports simulation that requires several skills and offers plenty of playing options. Excellent value for money.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 54, June 1990   page(s) 50,51

Obviously realising that this summer is going to be a long, hot footie one, what with the YS Footie Spectacular roaming the streets (oh, and the World Cup), the Hit Squad's done the obvious thing and dug out this old fave. It's THE footie game, really, and one that absolutely everyone should have a copy of. Even you.

Considering the ©1984 lurking in the depths of the cassette inlay (making it nearly as wrinkly as ouor Prod Ed), Match Day is looking very sprightly indeed. It's got everything! Half-decent graphics, vaguely convincing ball control and a complete absence of lists of numbers. The only thing that slightly annoys me is that you control whoever's closest to the ball. While this is fine for most of the time, occasionally you'll find control flipping between players when you don't particularly want it to. Perhaps it should wait 'til you press Fire or something. Not to worry though.

And the best part? Definitely the ultra-convincing simulation of the referee's whistle at the beginning of the match. It's unsurpassed!

Until Match Day II comes out on barg this is probably the best bet for the footie-frenzied light-of-pocket.

Overall: 84%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 12, March 1985   page(s) 32

Dave: International Soccer has been available on the Commodore 64 (Wash your mouth out with soap! Ed.) for some time and has proved popular... especially in Dixons' shop windows! Well Match Day is basically the same game.

For those who haven't seen it, this is a football game where you have a 'camera's eye' view of the pitch on which two teams - either both player controlled or where you get to pit your boots against the computer - battle it out. You only control one team member at a time, while the others in your team run about and try to get into the best positions under computer control. If one of your players has the ball, then you get to control the player in possession; if you've got the ball, the Spectrum puts you in control of the player best positioned to intercept.

If the opposing side shoots for goal then you get control of your goalie and you can make him jump up or dive left or right. Set pieces, like corners and throw-ins, are handled automatically with your players positioning themselves; if it's your corner or throw-in, then you've nine options for the direction/strength of the throw/kick.

I hate football - but I loved this game and I'm quietly confident that it will be a hit. 5/5 HIT

Ross: The large graphics animate nicely, especially the goalkeeper who kneels up briefly after a dive and looks around for the ball. A fun game with a good degree of skill needed if you want to win the cup. 4/5 HIT

Roger: Unrealistic, in that it lacks violent crowd invasions of the pitch and vicious, leg-breaking fouls whilst the ref ain't looking. Still good enough to make Jimmy Hill mix his metaphors... 4/5 HIT

Dave: 5/5
Ross: 4/5
Roger: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 36, March 1985   page(s) 35

THE CROWD rises to its feet, screaming and cheering in frenzied excitement as two international teams are heralded onto the pitch by that well known tune from Match of the Day.

The scene is set for the cup final in Match Day from Ocean - the crowd falls silent as the teams prepare themselves. The whistle blows.

The Tooting Tigers fight desperately for supremacy, but they are out of their league. The Camden Crawlers start to win, scoring goal after goal. Ten-nil to the Crawlers at half time. The Tigers seem to have lost their claws and retreat desolated to the changing rooms.

Match Day is viewed from the eye of the camera with the pitch scrolling from left to right. Although movement is slow there is a lot of detail in the program - your player can dribble, kick, head and throw the ball. The game includes corners and is as realistic as possible on the Spectrum.

As well as playing against the computer you can opt for a club match where as many as eight players can take part, each team playing the other through to the finals.

There is an extensive menu through which various game details can be altered - even to changing the team's name and colours.

You can control only one player at a time. He is always nearest the ball, identified when his socks turn the same colour as his strip. This places you at a disadvantage when playing the computer as the opposing team work as one to get control of the ball.

There is no sound other than the introductory tune. Strangled bleeps and squeaks filter from the computer at intervals throughout the game and sound more like a happy budgie than the grunts of the players.

It would be impossible to capture the atmosphere of football on a computer, but Match Day is a worthwhile attempt at reproducing a live game. If you are a football fanatic, you should enjoy this one.

Clare Edgeley

Memory: 48K
Price: £7.95
Joystick: Kempston

Gilbert Factor: 6/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 52, July 1986   page(s) 27

Different in kind from both Football Manager and FA Cup games. This is a game of reactions, responses, animated graphics and the rest. It was designed by ace programmer, John Ritman (he of Batman fame) and the program is (sort of) the Spectrum equivalent of International Soccer on the Commodore.

A joystick is more or less mandatory on this one, and I must say I always found it a lot more fun playing against another human rather than the computer which seemed to me not to put up that great a fight. (If I can beat it there's something wrong somewhere.) Nevertheless it looks pretty good and the playing system - the member of your team your joystick is controlling (usually the one nearest the ball) is highlighted - works well.

For an actual game of soccer rather than a team management exercise Match Day is still the first choice.

Overall: Not Rated

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 100, June 1990   page(s) 62

Why, I ask myself, was Match Day heralded as such an astonishingly brilliant game? It's rubbish! Even if you're absolutely wrapped up in football fever at the moment, you'd have to be beyond loopy and into the dangerously insane category before you could utter anything favourable about this "outing".

Before you can even get into the game, you have to negotiate some absolutely horrific control selection menus, guaranteed to stretch your patience to its absolute limit.

Once you've endured this trial, the shortfalls; the glaringly sub standard graphics, the atrocious sound and the ploddy gameplay stand slim chance of receiving a benign reception.

Kick off! The players limp around the field like so many wet fish. Good fortune occasionally smiles and they find themselves in possession of the ball, lolloping up the field toward the enemy goal.

More often than not, you find yourself "tackled" simply by running too close to a player from the other team. Since the screen is laid out in artificial perspective, it's extremely tricky - even with shadow - to intercept the ball from throw ins or long kicks. I always ended up running alongside the ball. Needless to say, the computer controlled players don't make such mistakes.

While all the basic elements are included, throw ins, goal kicks etc, the game simply doesn't hang together. It's more frustrating than fun.

Label: Hit Squad
Price: £2.99
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Graphics: 35%
Playability: 45%
Sound: 40%
Lastability: 40%
Overall: 40%

Summary: Pretty sorry football cash-in scenario. Best left alone.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 29, February 1990   page(s) 81

Spectrum £2.99cs
C64 £2.99cs
CPC £2.99cs

Similar to the above - but with less detailed graphics and fewer options.

Overall: 870/1000

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair Programs Issue 28, February 1985   page(s) 17

PRICE: £5.90
GAME TYPE: Simulation

Major advantages of football are that those playing it benefit from outdoor exercise, and those watching it have the chance to see skillful players in action. Both of these elements are missing from Match Day, a simulation of football on the 48K Spectrum.

The opposition have a clear advantage in that they always know who they are and that they usually know what they are doing. The player is likely to be overtaken by a major bout of schizophrenia as control shifts from one player to the next. The player to move is the one whose socks are white, rather than yellow. As control changes frequently from one character to the next, there are around six players wearing yellow or white on the screen at any one time, and there is no certainty that your player is always on screen, this makes matters a trifle confusing.

A first attempt revealed a rather erratic scoring policy. The opposition were leading 1:0 when, presumably to give amateurs a sporting chance, they scored an own goal. Half time came, seeing the score standing at 4:1, and half time ended, leaving the score at 4:2. Something was definitely wrong somewhere.

The opposition mark your player wonderfully, even blending into him at times, and are prepared to stand stock still for hours if your player chooses to do so. They are also uncomplaining, for repeated kicking of players will never result in a foul being declared.

Football is not, and will never be, intended to be played on the computer. Go outside if you want a good game of football, look elsewhere if you want an enjoyable computer game.

Match Day is produced by Ocean Software, 6 Central Street, Manchester.

Rating: 50%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue March 1985   page(s) 37

Spectrum 48K
Football Action

The thrills of Match of the Day and - no Jimmy Hill. To some extent Ocean has realised that football fans' dream with Match Day. For well over a year International Soccer for the Commodore 64 has been unchallenged as the top football action game for any computer. Now the Spectrum is back in the running.

Of course the limitations of the Spectrum's screen handling makes Match Day's graphics inferior to the CBM-64 game. but Ocean's program compensates for the poorer graphics with subtler controls which allow you to develop a whole variety of ball-playing skills.

Imagine watching a match from the TV camera's gantry high up in the main stand. That's the view you have of the action which scrolls smoothly as the play moves from one end of the field to the other.

Match Day is a two-player or if you want some really tough opposition try out your own brand of total football on the computers International level. It's the top level of three and it never puts a foot wrong.

The program's Amateur and Professional games are also very good, but beatable, and they are the only place to start if you've never played before - especially when you are trying to perfect the penetrating through-ball.

Set pieces like corners, throw-ins and goal kicks can be very finely timed and crushingly effective. In situations like these, as in the normal run of play, you can vary the angle and the pace of the ball. Probably one of the most difficult techniques to master using the joystick is the diagonal cross-field pass along the ground. But once you have got the hand of it, it really can cut the computer's defences to shreds.

Control passes from one team to another according to whichever is closest to the ball. Although that may sound simple, trapping and controlling the ball itself is another matter. The only way to do that effectively is to watch the ball's shadow and move your man to where you expect it to land.

As the slightly arthritic-looking players troops out on to the pitch to a rendering of the Match of the Day music, you might wonder what Jimmy Hill would make of some of the refereeing decisions the computer allows. The goals scored directly from throw-ins would certainly make that famous chin drop in disbelief. And most commentators would soon run out of cliches if in real matches the ball were to stick unmovably behind the goalkeeper for a whole half at a time.

But you soon get used to that - just as you learn to live with bad decisions on Saturday afternoons. In any case there are enough nice details in this program to make for the shortcomings. It's good to be able to name your own teams, choose the colours they'll be wearing as well as the competition they are playing in. All in all, a credit to the game.

Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue June/July 1985   page(s) 32


You may remember WORLD CUP by ARCTIC COMPUTING, one of the first good football games on the market. MATCH DAY is far superior to any other and is of the same quality as International Soccer for the Commodore 64 - please Ed, may I just mention this computer - (No, ED!) Obviously the graphics are not as good, but they are very clear and the problem of bleeding did not seem to occur. The ability to alter the colour of the teams is a good idea, so you can pick the one that is most pleasing to the eye and easiest to recognise.

The extensive menus at the beginning are very useful, where a number of details about the game can be changed. There is not enough space to list them all here and you more than likely would get bored, but to give you an idea it is possible to alter the names of the teams, play against the computer, a friend or in a league, alter the length of each game, choose how each player is to control his team, difficulty levels of play, and so on.

The game starts as the teams run out on the pitch, with the tune Match of the Day sounding (and no Jimmy Hill). It is a bit tedious waiting for positions to be taken, but it is at least realistic.

The whistle sounds and the game begins. Playing against the computer can be quite difficult, especially if playing on one of the harder levels (there are three levels in all - amateur, professional and international). As in most of these games, you are in control of the player nearest the ball. At times it can be difficult to gain control of the ball, especially as there is no facility to strike the opposing player, but once in control, you can pass to fellow members, dodge the other team and hopefully score. Then a kick or throw-in is taken, the direction is controlled depending on the movement of the joystick or keys, so passing to your own team should be easier than on a real football ground.

The game is ideally played with a joystick, but if you are challenging a friend it is unlikely that you will possess two joysticks, so the keyboard will just about suffice.

As with most of these games on the Spectrum, due to the limitation of sound, headaches can be obtained quite easily, but the on/off sound switch is a Godsend. The reality of the whole match, with a reflection as the ball bounces and the quality graphics make this a worthwhile buy, allowing you to play football from the comfort of your armchair.

Instructions: 95%
Presentation: 90%
Addictability: 85%
Value For Money: 85%
ZXC Factor: 7/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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