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Virtua Striker 2
never walk alone” I was one of the lucky tossers to get a ticket to the
last ever game at Wembley and watch England play Germany. We sang that
song and I have never felt so much pride in my life. We (cough) lost
(cough) but at least I can say that I was there. So we have football
(soccer for you yanks!) games to relive our stress. The FIFA series has
set the bench mark for footballing games but for those who have played
Virtua striker down their local arcade were certainly getting excited
about this coming home to Dreamcast. Could it be the next FIFA game?
Well…how do you illustrate disappointment on such a scale that you wish football was never created? “No” I hear you cry, “surely it can’t be that bad?” Trust me…it is! Okay, so you put the thing in your lovely smart Dreamcast, you turn it on and you wonder where the 60hz option is. Ah…it’s hidden in the options menu! So you switch it over and want a quick game to see how it is. “Not bad” you say, "they got an arcade mode as well as a Tournament, league and ranking mode". You hurriedly pick England and press “play”
visuals stun you. They are absolutely brilliant. As soon as you kick the
ball and watch everything move in synchronisation with each other you will
be left a bit overwhelmed. In actual fact, it wouldn’t be an
understatement if you were to compare the visuals to the likes of Shenmue,
Ecco and Soul Calibur…they are that good. The players look swollen and
run at a smooth 60 frames, the colours are vibrant and it all looks
amazing. You just know this is gonna be a great game…but then you get
over the visuals and begin to play the game…
game! To be point blank, this game is unplayable. The controls are simple,
but then you ask yourself, “where is the sprint button, where is the
through ball, where is the ‘change player’ button?” You see, all
those years football games have been revolutionising themselves to be as
realistic as possible. Virtua Striker looks at it all, laughs, and takes
one huge step back! This is not
football! Then it strikes you hard…you finally pull off a succession of
passes together and actually play a through ball…but to your horror,
your player actually runs away
from the ball! Yet you never pressed anything! What in peter Buck is going
The AI is terrible. Players run away from the ball when you tell them not to. Your fingers start to bleed where you are pressing the D-pad so hard to make a player run in a certain direction. “Use the bloody control stick” you say. Well you can’t! Don’t ask me why, but you can’t use the control stick…Sega want to make life difficult for you! So there is the ‘shoot’ button that you have to hold down to gain power, but has an awful delay. Then a slide tackle button which if it makes contact with the opposition, 9 times out of 10 your player will be sent off by a referee that is more strict than Hitler himself! Some games can see 3 of your team players sent off!
all that shock you are treated to perhaps the worst part of the game…as
if it can get any worse. The sound! How do I put this…”slish, swash,
dud”. That is the sound of your player slide tackling, making contact
with the player and him falling over! It’s absolutely awful. Then there
is no commentary! So you might just about
forgive this because it’s an arcade game…but it’s what we come to
expect from our football games these days. All you get is an arcade style
“gooooooooaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllll” when scoring.
So we come on to the
positive parts of the game (at last). Well there are quite a few stadiums
to play in all looking different…but there is no weather in this game!
It’s always sunny! Then a magical thing happens. You play the ball down
the wing, your man picks it up, he crosses it in the box and your striker
does perhaps the most well animated bicycle kick in ANY football game!
Lovely. You can then save this goal to you VMU. When scoring the goal you
see a little number in the top right hand corner of the replay. This is
the rating of your goal that your little Dreamcast gives you. This is
great because you will find yourself simply playing the game to get a new
high score. (By the way I scored 509 points with a long shot! If anyone
can beat that get a picture, scan it and send it in and your name will be
a reviewer I HAD to play this game. The more I did, the more I liked it. I
found ways of beating the games little niggles. That is don’t play it
like a football game but like an arcade game! Play Wimbledon style and
just keep booting the ball up field until you get a result! Once you have
gotten past the horror and learn how to play this game then you will find
a very enjoyable game in there. But most people won’t bother and give up
after the 5th game, who can blame them?
To be perfectly honest
the game is pretty awful. The sound is the worst I have heard in a long
time. The AI is diabolical and the game is just unplayable. If you get
past all that (unlikely) then you will find an enjoyable game in there.
Somewhere! The strangest thing is that we have about 5 amazing beat
‘em’ ups on Dreamcast and about 5 excellent driving sims…and yet all
us Dreamcast owners are screaming out for is just 1 good football game. We
have yet to see it and this is perhaps the worst of them on Dreamcast.
People were hoping this game would be getting a mark of 8 or more, but it
just leads to the biggest disappointment in football gaming history!
“This received a lower mark purely because it was expected to be so much better. Avoid this game if you can and lets just hope Sega gives us something better. However, this time round, football certainly ain’t coming home!”
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