A fun and humorous soccer game, Empire Soccer offers nothing new to the genre dominated by Sensible Soccer, but still stands out with its cartoonish graphics, big player sprites that are much easier to see than Sensible Soccer's tiny men, and intuitive controls. |
The one feature in Empire Soccer that deserves mention most is, IMHO, the fact that the game doesn't actually suffer from the ball-glued-to-feet syndrome so common with arcade-style soccer games. Nor, however, does it have the opposite impossible-to-turn-round problem of Sensible Soccer (in which it's quite difficult to dribble the ball consistently). Instead the game uses a combination of the two: once you have the ball safely at your feet, you can dribble away to your heart's content. However, control of the ball before that is a lot more advanced -- you can trap the ball, you can head it in various different ways, you can volley it: basically almost anything you can do in real life. This welcome touch of realism is unfortunately overlooked by later games.
The game only features international teams -- but that's more than enough. You get to play exhibition matches, train your team, and participate in the World Cup. The number of national teams you can choose from is quite high -- the game even includes lesser-known teams such as Latvia and Wales. Of course, you can change your formation, and even select different AI's for the computer. Graphics also deserve mention as a nice step up from Sensible Soccer: Flags wave, fireworks burst, and when you score, you get a wonderful sequence of pictures of the scorer, the fans, and the keeper. My only gripe is the fact that passing is tough because you can't see very far up-field.
In short, If you have Sensible Soccer and really like arcade-style soccer games, you will probably enjoy Empire Soccer too. Arguably it doesn't quite have the same charm of Sensible Soccer or the versatility of Kick Off, but it still offers good, clean soccer fun with an innovative ball control system. Highly recommended!
Reviewed by: Underdogs