Microsoft Soccer

Running under Windows 95, Microsoft Soccer features isometric SVGA graphics and little multimedia flash to get in the way of the action. And like NBA Full Court Press (a similar Microsoft product), this soccer game is simply not rigid enough to be called a sim, and not playable enough to be called an arcade game; as a result, Microsoft Soccer’s gameplay is relegated to the uninviting purgatory between the two.

The biggest problems in Microsoft Soccer are simply a lack of good player controls and fuzzy artificial intelligence for your teammates. In actual soccer, ball control is everything, and superstar players spend years perfecting their technique. In MS Soccer, ball control is crude and unrefined. As you progress down the pitch toward the goal, you seemingly have only three placement options: far left, middle, or far right. With these limited controls, there is no chance to aim the ball in a natural fashion; as a result, your shots are often picked off easily as you approach the net. You can’t aim at the high or low corners of the goal with any regularity, and there’s no opportunity for those half-pitch rainbow shots.

12_1These basic control problems are compounded by the weak artificial intelligence of your teammates. In real soccer, a passing game is absolutely essential for goal scoring, yet, in icrosoft Soccer, passing to another player is needlessly frustrating. You almost have to anticipate and “help” the computer controlled players to get the ball down the pitch because the players seem to be so locked into their formations — there’s few openings for a delicate pass, and if the ball happens to sneak by unmolested, they’re never smart enough to swarm over the loose ball.

Defensive play is a little bit easier. The players do go after the ball, and interception is almost always imminent as your squad takes on the offense. But the truth is, these defensive teams are simply too good. All your defense has to do is stay in formation and wait for an errant pass to come its way.

System Requirements: 486/33, 8 MB RAM, Win95

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