Match Day II

by Jon Ritman, Bernie Drummond, Guy Stevens, Ivan Horn
Ocean Software Ltd
Crash Issue 48, Christmas Special 1987/88   (1987-12-10)   page(s) 18,19

Producer: Ocean
Retail Price: £7.95
Author: Jon Ritman and Bernie Drummond

Football, as they say, Brian, is a great game, and now the jockstrap's on, the boots are laced, embrocation glistens on muscular thighs, and Match Day II - the long-expected reworking of programmer Jon Ritman's Match Day (86% Overall in Issue 13, famous as the one we didn't Smash!) - is about to begin. So choose your teams and prepare to experience the full range of human emotions from 'over the moon' to 'as sick as a parrot'.

Your team can take part in a cup competition, a league championship, or one-off competitions against others or the computer. The match time can be set to 5, 10 or 15 minutes par half, a skill level established and a choice made between attacking and defending tactics.

Each team has seven players, and a player gains possession of the ball when it hits him below the knee. (You can control two players at the same time if the ball is passed from one to the other.)

The power of each player's kick is controllable, and can be locked on for shots at the goal mouth so you can use maximum force in an attempt to score.

Bouncing balls can be trapped if you carefully judge the height of the ball from the size of its shadow; dribbling and lofting are also possible, the latter done by kicking the ball while running.

And to create greater complexity and realism on the field, the Diamond Deflection System has been incorporated: when the ball strikes a player, its rebound takes into account not only the angle of the struck player, but also the direction in which he is moving and that of the ball.

If you decide to participate in a competition, fixtures are automatically decided and your opponents'skill increased as progress is made. But a code allows the competition to be saved and returned to later - so if your team isn't doing well you can have words with the manager.

Programmer Jon Ritman and graphics man Bernie Drummond have also worked together on the Ocean Smashes Batman and Head Over Heels (Issues 28 and 39 respectively).


Joysticks: Cursor, Fuller, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: functional 3-D
Sound: tune to open each match, and spot effects
Options: definable keys, two-player option, all the menus you can eat

Jon Ritman has excelled himself with this outstanding follow-on from Match Day; he's obviously taken in all the constructive criticisms of the earlier game. Match Day II has every option you could ever think of, and loads more as well; the menus (all 17 of them!) are much easier and quicker to use than in Match Day, and the graphics have been improved. The back passes are a great addition - and very useful. Only the sound lets it down a little; otherwise Match Day is top of the league! (Sorry.)
PAUL [94%]

Match Day II has all the good features of the earlier Match Day, adds several more and comes up with the definitive football game. There's just about every option you could wish for - back kicks, corners, barging and two-player games are all available. The graphics are clear and well-animated, with nice little jumps when the player attempts to head a ball. And Match Day II is one of the most compelling games this year - the computer isn't easy to beat even on the simplest of levels, so there's plenty of gameplay, especially when you have two-player matches!
ROBIN [94%]

For everyone who thinks kicking an inflated leather sphere around is fun, this will be THE game. Match Day II is a huge improvement on the original - not only is there now a vast front end of options menus, there've been some good changes made to the gameplay. It's the best football game around.
MIKE [84%]

Presentation: 96%
Graphics: 84%
Playability: 89%
Addictive Qualities: 91%
Overall: 91%

Summary: General Rating: Match Day is even better second time around - there's more to do, and a skilled computer to beat.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 80, September 1990   (1990-08-23)   page(s) 44,45

The Hit Squad
£2.99 re-release

This should keep all aspiring Gazzas glued to their screens - it's an all action soccer simulation! A very playable match featuring variable strength volleys, lobs, backheels and ground shots with special moves like jumping headers, barging and the odd foul thrown in for good measure.

The are plenty of options to choose from to customise your game. You can select the team names, colours and formations as well as choosing to play in the ultimate challenge... the Match Day league.

Graphics are nice and big so you can see what's going on, but the trouble is the speed the game is played at: it's terribly slow, probably due to the number of large sprites moving at the same time. Still, it doesn't spoil the game when you're used to it and it's great fun trashing your opponents.

Match Day II is one of the best football games around for the Spectrum and an old favourite.

Overall: 79%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 26, February 1988   page(s) 72,73

"... And now the big match of the winter between those software giants,Ocean Utd and Gremlin Academicals, as they both try and steal each other's thunder with top-ranking footie sims on the Spectrum. What do you think, Greavsie?"

"Wor gor grunge wor fwunk, Saint."

"Well of course. We sent cub reporter Marcus Berkmann to weight up the challengers..."

And they're pretty heavy, I can tell you. Jon Ritman's Match Day is one of the classic Speccy games. It turns up regularly in Desert Island Disks (being sixth in the current chart) and, though there've been loads of imitations, it's still the best attempt at a strictly footie simulation (rather than management game) that the Speccy has yet seen.

Until now, of course. Match Day II is not a radical rewrite of the original, but it's far slicker and easier to play and has more options of play than you'd have thought possible on 48K. It's a step up from the original in much the same way Head Over Heels was an advance on Batman.

For one thing, this game's got more menus than Maxim's. Once you've handled the joystick menu, you're presented with the main menu and all the different ways of playing Match Day. As well as the usual one-player and two-player options, there's Twin-player (you and a friend against the computer), Matchday Cup (you and up to seven friends in a three round cup compo) and Matchday League (you and your seven muckers in a league). Gordon Bennett! But there's more...

When you come to play you'll notice that all the basics seem much the same, though a bit faster (that might be wishful thinking - tell me if I'm wrong). The main innovation is in the variety of shots, kicks and moves you can now make. Above the head of the player you're controlling is a little 'kickometer', which oscillates from left to right and shows how hard the ball will be kicked at any one moment . There are three strengths, from a little dribble to a full-bodied punt. Once you've mastered it, this gives you far greater control of the ball, but it does take a little practice. The kickometer also lets you back-heel if you want to, but it's wise to get used to the forward kicks before experimenting with this facility - otherwise that defensive clearance could well turn into an own goal!

And that's what is so brilliant about the kickometer - the choice. You've got five options; all kicks (three forward and the backheel); forward kicks only; hard kicks only (II and III on the kickometer); kick II only or kick III only. If you press the fire key and hold it down, the kickometer will lock and the result will be a volley shot - particularly useful if you're in front of an open goal. As well as the miniature meter above the player's head, there's a heftier version at the top of the screen.

Kicking the ball while in possession is a simple matter of pressing the fire button, as before, and if you make contact while running you'll lob it. You can jump, barge, dribble, tackle, everything but argue with the ref. If you doubt your goalkeeping prowess, you can let the computer take over that part of things, though watch out - it's often nearly as bad as you are. The goalkeeper will dive, but usually in the wrong direction!

One wrinkle in the first game was its deflection system - unreliable and unlifelike - but this has now been ironed out. Now with the Diamond Deflection System, balls bounce in the direction you'd expect, and this tiny touch adds a whole new level of realism to the game. There's still more to tell you about - mainly about all those menus (I'll have the Coquilles St. Jacques, waiter, with a crate of brown ale). But we can't tell you everything, so go out and buy this now. Make Jon Ritman a rich man, because it seems to me that there's no one programming for the Speccy today who's producing such a consistent body of work as he is. I can guarantee that he'll be chuffed, Brian, chuffed...

Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 10/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

Summary: Spectacularly clever and playable sequel to Match Day that's sure to have the same lasting impact on Speccy gaming.

Award: Your Sinclair Game of the Month

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 57, September 1990   page(s) 77

Sniff. As I write this a black cloud has just descended over England. The Germans have beaten us. Again. World in Motion has (at last) fallen silent on the office tape machine, and everyone's generally feeling a bit gloomy. The only compensation is that Match Day II has finally popped up on budget, so with a bit of team-renaming we should be able to rustle up some sort of revenge. It's just got to be worth a look, really - the generally recognised Best Footie Game Ever for three quid. It's got the lot: wazzy graphics, smooth presentation, a kickometer, realistic ball control, the works. Criticisms? It runs just a little too slowly for comfort, especially compared with more recent overhead-view rivals. But as an all-rounder. Match Day II is unbeatable. If Marcus could be with us this month he'd probably give it a page to itself. (So consider yourselves lucky.)

Overall: 90%

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair - Article Re-review Issue 54, June 1990   page(s) 54


Footie games, eh? Where'd we be without 'em? There've been hundreds of the blooming things, with more on the way each month, and they always (always! always!) sell like hot cakes (even the ones that are crap). So with the World Cup lining itself up on the horizon, let's join the slightly less-than-enthusiastic JONATHAN DAVIES, as we lead you by the hand into the past, present and future world of the Spectrum soccer game.

Oh dear. How can I start? Um, quite a few phrases spring to mind. Like "They're all the same!" and "No, please, not another one!" and, erm, "Let me out of here!" The problem, you see, is that for every MicroProse Soccer or Matchday 2 there are six or seven World Cup Carnivals (US Gold's tragic 1986 attempt at a footie sim) to wade through. And I should know - I've just waded through them all. Quite frankly I wouldn't care if the colour green never darkened my Speccy again. I'm sick as a parrot. So let's just forget all about them, eh?

What? No. You like them? Cripes. (Better get going on this giant mega-feature thingie then, hadn't you? Ed) Er, yes. Right. Football.

Well, there are certainly lots of games. And no, they're not all the same. There are in fact a few basic types, and within each of these categories dwell a hundred and one subtle variations. Um, what fun...


That's right, one half management, the other half actually booting the ball around a bit. To kick off with we have the straightforward arcade simulation. This you should all be familiar with - a big green pitch (seen from above, or sometimes from the side), the roar of the crowd (well, the 'beep' of the crowd), lots of little men running around kicking the ball, and you up in the air somewhere above it all, doing your best to keep one or two of them (plus the ball) under control. What you don't have to worry about though is what any of the blokes are called, how much they're worth, or any other boring managerial-type stuff. Good examples of this kind of game are Matchday 2 and Kick Off.

The second main sub-division, the management game, is a totally different kettle of fish. No footie here at all (as such), apart from the results of various games flashing up on your screen every so often to tell you how you're doing. It's business acumen we're worried about here, with all sorts of weird and wonderful information popping up to confuse you - what your men are called, how tall they are, how skilful they can be and all sorts. A good example of this variety of game is, surprise, surprise, Football Manager.

The third, and crappiest, type of footie game is the pools prediction program. Now you may get really excited by the prospect of these (I don't know) but I find them so brain-blendingly boring that this is the only mention they'll get here, so enjoy it while you can. (Sorry and all that.)

Actually there's a fourth subdivision I've just remembered too - those games that provide you with an often quite bizarre mixture of action game and management, usually consisting of lots of lists of numbers with slightly dodgy bolt-on arcade bits thrown in. Some of them work quite well, but there's always the odd game that's simply too weird for words - like Roy Of The Rovers for example, part arcade adventure of all things and with a badly drawn Roy searching for his kidnapped team!

This is generally said to be the fabbest footie game ever, although whether that's saying much isn't for me to decide. It's the sequel to, um, Match Day actually, which was the second(ish) arcade-type game to hit the tape-racks. With nice, big sprites and semi-realistic action, Match Day brought a whole new meaning to the word 'good'. The two-player feature was one of its major attractions, along with headers and other wacky, innovative moves. There were also a couple of peculiar bugs (something to do with balls getting stuck in goalposts and a funny timer, if my memory serves me correctly).

Match Day II captures the feel of the original, and adds on all kinds of extra features, such as a kick strength meter and much improved ball control. Along the same sort of lines is International Match Day for the 128K only, which was released at the launch of the Speccy 128, when 128K-only games seemed pretty hip - oh, those halcyon days. The programmer was Jon Ritman, the gentleman responsible for the first Batman game and the brilliant Head Over Heels.

Kit: 74%
Atmosphere: 86%
Playerbility: 93%
At The End Of The Day: 92%
Overall: 90%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 70, January 1988   page(s) 100,101

Since Match Day is generally considered to be the best example of a football playing (as opposed to football management) game on the Spectrum, there's been considerable pre-launch interest in the follow-up Match Day II.

What have Ritman and Drummond done to improve on the original? The answer is, to a large extent, they've complicated it.

The basis of the game works in much the same way. Each team has seven players. You control one member of your team at any one time, usually the man nearest the ball (technically 'its the player in the best position to get the ball'). Either the computer or another person controls the opposing team.

And matches can be five, ten or 15 minutes long.

The complications arise in the vast number of extra feature incorporated into Match Day II. Your controllable player is denoted by a sort of variable bar code on top of his head - the kickometer. When it's stretched out he'll kick the ball a long way; one bar only and it'll be a short pass. If the kickometer is doubling back on itself, he'll do one of those backheel shots.

Getting the hang of the kickometer often makes the difference between being thrashed 7-0, and gaining a respectable result.

Realism has also been added in the shape of tackling and shoulder barging your opponents, volleys as well as floor passes. Throw-ins, corners and goal kicks are of course catered for. No penalties however, which, judging by the nature of the goalmouth scrambles, is just as well.

Aside from the play, there are options galore for determining your playing tacttics.. You can set the kickometer at a fixed or less flexible level: all hard shots for example. You can choose whether to place most of your players in your own or your opponent's half of the field, whether to take on responsibility for your goalkeeper efforts or not, or how good you wish the computer to be flexibility of Match Day II, it's a pity that the playing screens themselves aren't always very clear. The teams are white versus yellow, but in tackles and crowded goalmouths all become yellow, thanks to the Spectrum's attribute system.

Another snag is if a long ball is kicked(by either team), your man with the kickometer on his head may well be off-screen - it's thus impossible to intercept the ball until the screen scrolls and you can spot him.

That said, the extra features, both in play and pre-match options: add greatly to the variety of play and tactics available from the original. If you've had Match Day I for a while now. and have mastered the playing technique, Match Day II will revitalise your interest.

I still prefer the original Match Day though...

Label: Ocean
Author: Jon Ritman
Price: £7.95 (cassette) / £14.95 (disc)
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Christina Erskine

Overall: 7/10

Summary: A highly accurate football implementation. Screen and players can converge in a colour-clashing muddle.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 5, February 1988   page(s) 52,53

Ocean make it 2-0.

Matchday has achieved cult status - can Matchday 2 improve on what many still consider to be the definitive football game?

At first glance, the game seems very similar to its predecessor. The player takes charge of a six man football team and has to play matches against either the computer or a friend an attempt to win the League or the Cup. This is where the first improvement becomes obvious. Not only can you play solo against the computer but you and a friend can gang up on it, both playing for the same side in a desperate attempt to prove human superiority. During a solo game you control the on-screen player who is in the best position to reach the ball and when playing in pairs you get a player each.

The second major improvement in the game is the addition of the 'Kictometer'. This is a kick strength indicator which affects the distance of each shot. The 'Kictometer' ranges, broadly on a scale from one to three with three being the hardest kick. To use this facility properly, the player has to keep his eye on the meter to decide when to make the best shot. Thankfully the meter can be set to shoot at a set strength throughout the game.

Basic tactics can now also be decided by the player, though you only have a choice of attack or defend. One feature removed from the game is the ability to play a full 45 minutes per half.

Gameplay has been improved to allow players to make headers, backheel the ball and barge opposing team members. Another improvement is the realism of deflections. In real life the ball's angle of deflection is affected not only by its original flight path but also by the movement of whatever the ball was deflected off; this has now been taken into account.

All of the above refinements (and others too numerous to mention in this limited space) make for one fine football game and even if you own the original game, the sequel has enough enhancements to make it worthy of purchase.

Reviewer: Andy Smith

C64/128, £8.95cs, £12.95dk, Out Now
Spec, £7.95cs, £14.95dkcs, Out Now
Ams, £8.95cs, £14.95dk, Out Now

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 68/100
1 hour: 70/100
1 day: 70/100
1 week: 70/100
1 month: 70/100
1 year: 60/100

Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 5/10
IQ Factor: 5/10
Fun Factor: 8/10
Ace Rating: 881/1000

Summary: The C64 version doesn't quite match the Spectrum or Amstrad versions for playability. But even so, across the board, the game's a winner. Overall it is an improvement on its predecessor and is now the best football action game for micros.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 8, May 1988   page(s) 72

Spectrum, £8.95cs, £14.95dk
Amstrad, £8.95cs, £14.95dk
C64/128, £8.95cs, £12.95dk

The definitive football game for 8-bit micros. You don't get to compete just against the computer though - you can play against a friend (enemy?) if you like, or the two of you can cooperate by ganging up on the computer, which makes for plenty of fun. Terrific stuff for footbally fans, and a game that really shows how two-player options can add sparkle to an otherwise standard format.

Overall: Not Rated

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 10, July 1988   page(s) 79

C64, £8.95cs, £12.95dk
Spectrum, £7.95cs, £14.95dk
Amstrad, £8.95cs, £14.95dk

The definitive football game for home micros. You take charge of a six man team and can play the computer or a friend in an attempt to win the League or the Cup. If you're feeling really mean you and a friend can gang up on the computer. Improvements on the original Matchday include the addition of a "Kickometer" which gives the player the chance to vary the power of his shots, passes etc. The Amstrad version's arguably the best of the bunch, but if you're after the best football game available for any 8-bit machine, then this is the one.

Overall: Not Rated

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 29, February 1990   page(s) 81

Spectrum £7.95cs, £14.95dk
C64 £8.95cs, £12.95dk
CPC £8.95cs, £14.95dk

Jon Ritman's award winning Speccy footy game for Ocean restored some pride to the Sinclair terraces - for so long chided by Commodore fans for the lack of decent Spectrum football. The Match Day games changed all this. With stacks of game play options like changing the strip, altering the length of the game and many others. The game play was the horizontal perspective type - on the lines of Andrew Spencer's International Soccer.

Overall: 900/1000

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 76, February 1988   page(s) 21

MACHINES: Spectrum/Amstrad
PRICE: £9.95

Stand by for an outbreak of tough matches in the football game stakes. The market is about to be blitzed by them. First we've got Jon Ritman's Matchday II, then Football Manager II, Gary Lineker's Super Star Soccer, a Peter Beardsley game on the way and, of course, the re-release of Peter Shilton's Handball Maradona.

So if you're out to score with a footie game there's plenty of choice.

Matchday II comes highly recommended. It has taken Matchday as a basis to build on, and the improvements are worthwhile.

So what do you get? It's a one or two player soccer simulation which allows you to volley, lob, backheel and kick ground shots with varying degrees of strength. You can also jump, head the ball and barge other players.

There is also a league championship and cup competition for good measure. And if you're running a league or cup competition up to seven people can take part.

Matches can last for 10,20 or 30 minutes so you can fit quite a lot into a couple of hours play.

Control of members of your team automatically switches to the person nearest the ball.

The kickometer shown at the top of the screen and above the player's head determines the kick pressure. III is very hard, II is medium, I is very soft and -I is a backheel.

You take corners, throws, corners goalkicks, and intercept a pass.

The game also includes something called the diamond deflection system. This adds realism to the way a ball deflects off a player.

In practice the ball responds not only to the angle the player is standing and the ball direction, but also to the direction he is moving, including if he is jumping, and also detects his forehead for extra control.

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Value: 9/10
Playability: 10/10

Award: C+VG Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 106, September 1990   page(s) 60,61

Hit Squad
Spectrum/C64/Amstrad £2.99

Aggahhh! Not another football game! I can't take it any more! Anyway, Match Day II appeared a few years ago to rapturous reviews and accolades galore. Now it's back on budget, but has it really stood the test of time? Well, for the price, yes. Presentation, graphics and sound are fairly good, but the playability still stands up loud and proud.

MD II has got a heck of a lot of functions, such as jumping, heading, volleying, and barging (loads of fun as you shoulder-charge a player off the ball). Power is measured using the kickometer, which ranges from a sneaky back heel to a full-blooded stinger. What with variable tactics. and a two-player option as well, Match Day II for only £2.99 is a must-buy, but if anyone else sings "World In Motion". they'll be kicked into the back of the net!

Overall: 87%

Summary: The monochromatic graphics are a bit slow, but the play is the important thing, Brian, and this has it all.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 3, February 1988   page(s) 50

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £7.95
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £8.95, Diskette: £14.95
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £8.95, Diskette: £14.95


Early in 1985 Jon Ritman and Chris Clarke coded a football game called Match Day and, as these things happen, it went on to become as big a hit on the Spectrum as International Soccer had been on the 64. Later on graphical designer Bernie Drummond teamed up with Ritman to bring us the computerised caped crusader Batman and the wacky Head Over Heels. Now, due to popular demand, and having worked night and day, they bring us the new, improved Match Day II.

The sequel features a considerable number of changes, most prominent being the vast number of kicks and kicking styles available; the Kickometer allows you to perform backheels, soft-mediumand hard-power kicks, volley shots or set to one type of shot power for the entire game.

Extra realism is provided through inclusion of the Diamond Deflection System, whereby the ball deflects off a player at a variety of angles dependent on the player's speed, direction of movement and the ball's approach angle.

A comprehensive front-end allows you to select a human or computer goalkeeper, different skill levels, the degree of game sound, length of play in real time (5, 10 or 15 minutes per half) and team tactics (offensive or defensive). Taking corners, goal kicks and heading the ball are all in the game, whilst unsporting teams can even resort to barging the opposition.


League and Cup matches present challenges for either one player against the computer, two players head-to-head or two players together on the same side versus the computer. When a match is going badly, it's possible to manually change the score (cheat in other words).

The difficulty in recognising which on-field player you were controlling in the original Match Day (the footballer's sock s changed colour) has been sensibly rectified by identifying him with a small version of the Kickometer above his head. Even more helpfully, this keeps time with the actual Kickometer at the top of the screen, making it much easier to control the power of the kick.

If you feel the urge to see your favourite team win the League, then all the team names and team colours (and even the pitch colour) can be changed to whatever takes your fancy.

It looks as though Ritman and Drummond have come up with yet another classic computer game. In general there is little to choose between the three versions in structure or gameplay. The two-player and twin-player options provide immense fun and make for highly addictive play, and the incredible number of options and redefinable features will keep armchair footballers happy for ages.

Overall: 91%

Summary: Since the original Match Day numerous football simulations have failed to better it until now. This must be the definitive Spectrum action football game. The graphics are functional rather than superlative, though better defined than the original's. What makes Match Day II such a great game is that it is instantly playable, and the twin-player option adds an extra dimension with team cooperation absolutely necessary. Match Day II is a must.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Crash Annual 2018   page(s) 61

Ocean, 1987 – 91% #48

Match Day creator Jon Ritman never let us forget that his first game didn't get a Smash, while readers kept voting it into the charts for years after release. So the Smash for Jon's follow up was entirely deserved. An improved league and cup system, different strength kicks and Ritman's pioneering diamond deflection system all added up to the most advanced footie game on the Spectrum at the time.

Overall: Not Rated

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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