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Virtua Striker 2

Developer  Sega Sports
Publisher  Sega
Genre  Sports
Players  1-2
Rumble  Yes
Extras  --


“You’ll 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”


“Mum look at me! Dam…I was supposed to tackle him”


Wow…the 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…


Wait…what 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 on here?


“I’m so bored I’m gonna stretch my legs!”


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!


After 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.


We have discussed the visuals of the game…but then we come to the next big problem. I sometimes forget to turn on the 60hz option. Oh well, never mind…only a border after all! Wrong! The game seems to stutter in the normal option so much that ‘Rain Man’ talks more sense! I can not believe that a game with such amazing visuals stutters in the normal mode. All my other games work fine in the normal mode. I tried it round a friend’s house to see if it were my T.V. Unfortunately it wasn’t!


“Hey, where is everybody…(sniff) I don’t smell…honest!”


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 published!)


As 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!




Amazing if your T.V supports 60 Hz! The visuals flow into your eyes with boldness and colour, and this may perhaps be the best looking football game on any system so far!
Sound 4 One of those marks goes to the Dreamcast start up sound! The sound is awful, no commentary and slide tackles sound like jumbo jets flying over. Very poor crowd sounds too.
Gameplay 5 If you can get past the disgraceful AI and the nasty referee then you might, might just find a game worth playing. Unlikely however.
Lifespan 5

The options will keep you going and you will always come back for another game. Two-player mode is poor and the game is unplayable so if you do go back, you’re a saint!


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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screens credit to videogamespot








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