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.
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.
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
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB