Review by MrSid
Sensible Soccer is a football (yes football, not soccer) game released in 1992 by Sensible Software. Originally released on the Amiga, Atari ST and PC to great acclaim, Sensible Soccer has gained a cult status and has become an iconic game of the era.
The difference between Sensible Soccer and other popular football games of the time was that it used a birds eye view, but not from directly above. There was a slight sense of perspective looking up the pitch which enabled you to see more of the game and therefore gave it a unique viewpoint. The overall presentation graphically is simple and stripped back and the player sprites are small. This adds a uniqueness visually but also means it can play at a really smooth and fast pace.
In the original Sensible Soccer, you could play club or international teams, then take part in cups, leagues or friendlies. Sensible World of Soccer (SWOS) took the formula to another level and added football management to the equasion. The management side of things isn’t anything complicated but it compliments the action of the actual game. So not to alienate a certain audience, the playing or management sides of the game can be ignored to suit the player. So you can just manage, just play or do both together.
Who wouldn’t have fun putting Eric Cantona in attack with Jurgen Klinsmann for Stoke City?
I must have lost literally days and days playing SWOS round a mates house, honing our management and playing skills. I think what appealed to me was the sripped down simplicity. It wasnt complicated, it was simple to get into and so damn playable.
SWOS was originally released in 1994 and was updated regularly until (in my opinion) the definitive and final version was released on the Amiga; Sensible World Of Soccer 96/97. The main difference in this version from the original is the updated player names. The gameplay and graphics have been very subtly tweaked and improved over the years and what resulted was an absolute cracker of a game.
Beautifully simple. The graphics have a real charm to them and the sprites are almost cartoony. Overall graphically, its not amazing but the style of graphics really suit the game. There are some neat little graphical touches like differences in appearance in the players skin and hair colour. At the time, this was pretty cool and again, added real personality.
You get an awesome intro song ‘Goal Scoring Superstar Hero’ that sounds great. The in-menu music is pretty generic and the in-game sound effects are pretty much as you would expect. You get the standard cheers and jeers from the crowd, and the totally unrealistic ‘thud’ when you kick the ball.
Now this is what SWOS is all about; fantastic gameplay. I will start of with the menu systems that are used for the managemnt side of things. Visually they are really simple and clear. Its really easy to navigate through the various options, and as the detail is stripped right back, even a novice without much knowledge of football can understand what is going on. Everything is done with just a joystick with one button.
As far as the playability of the actual game, its excellent. The matches are fast and furious and if you are not on the ball (sorry) the opposition will punish you. Each player has his own unique attributes therefore some players have speed with a powerful shot where as another player may be really slow but have exceptional ball control. These subtle differences between the players make the gameplay so much more interesting. Nearly every aspect of the ball can be manipulated with thanks to some amazing ball physics. You can put swerve of your shot by moving left of right. Pull back and it will add height to the shot/pass. The pace of the shot/pass is determined by how long you hold the fire button for. This array of gameplay means the SWOS never gets boring as there are lots of fun ways to score goals. Aswell as passing and shooting, you can also perform a diving header when the ball is near you. By pressing left or right when about the head the ball it will make the header go in a diagonal direction. There isn’t anything more more satisfying than when a last minute diving header goal the wins the game!
On the defensive side of things, you can either run into the opponent with the ball to steal it or perfrom a slide tackle. The refs are amazingly leinient and you can get away with some pretty dirty tackling.
The gamepaly isnt realistic at all, but that is the appeal. It does not take itself too seriously. Above anything, its fun! Check out this compilation of goals below which really show off how many different ways there are to score.
The Sensible Soccer series have a real cult following and have truly stood the test of time as people like me, still enjoy as good a old game of it. There are website communities dedicated to it’s memory. It has been re-released on Xbox and is still loved the world over. To this day, I much prefer it to the modern football games.
For me, SWOS 96/97 is the ultimate version. Gradually over the years the gameplay and appearence and physics have been tweaked into a masterpeice. Even if you hate football, you will still enjoy this game.