Format reviewed: Amstrad CPC
Developer: Jon Ritman / Bernie Drummond
Submitted by: Gavin Eke
To commemorate or commiserate the beginning of the football season it's time to review the CPC version of Jon Ritman's much revered sports title.
The original Match day was one of my favourite Sinclair games, so expectations were high for its' sequel. As with most follow ups, Match Day 2 added several features not contained within the prequel whilst polishing the overall feel & presentation. Ritman Rovers et al make a return but you can edit the teams to include your beloved club. Match Day 2's front end will be familiar to Ritman fans, featuring a host of options including, one/two player games, two players vs the CPU, plus League & Cup competitions. You can also customize the duration of the match, CPU difficulty & even tactics (choosing between attacking/defending) for each side. Although each team does not have their own strips you can alter the colour scheme to suit so that you can even play on a black pitch.
In terms of gameplay, certain significant additions had been made to add depth & variety. Firstly unlike Match Day, goalkeepers are no longer rooted to the spot, meaning opposition players could literally walk the ball into the net. They can also be under human control, however, don't think you'll be rushing out from your goal-line because you can only dive left or right.
Secondly, the Kickometer. To add some depth to your passing/shooting, a moving bar on top of the playing area goes up & down reflecting your players kicking strength . Therefore, pressing fire at any given time will instruct your man in possession to kick the ball at the prescribed strength. Considering the controller limitations it wasn't a bad idea but could still lead to some inaccurate & often under/over hit passing. Thirdly, the much vaunted Diamond Deflection system. A special technique written specifically to simulate an advanced physics system for how a football ricochets off players knees & other appendages.
So everything looks fine & dandy then? Well, not quite. Whilst Match Day 2 is a more polished title with detailed graphics, adequate spot effects & options galore there's just one thing holding this title back. Speed. Yes, Match Day 2 is very slow. If real football was played at this pace, Sky Sports subscribers would be turning away in droves. This is a real shame & time has not been kind. Match Day 2 was slow then & even more lethargic looking now. It appears that the increased graphical detail in tandem with the Diamond deflection system & other rinky-dinks have overcooked Amstrads machine. Not that I still didn't put plenty of hours into this worthy title but expect those rose tinted glasses to be shattered if you haven't played the CPC version in a while.
Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum
Developer: Jon Ritman
Submitted by: Graeme Mason
To this day I still play this as much, if not more than the Fifa games. Innovative at the time and also immensely playable, the diamond deflection technique allowed for an unprecedented level of variation. This, in addition to the 3 stage power bar (and also a backheel option) and a host of other gameplay tricks such as volleys and headers make Match Day 2 an absolute classic. There were league and cup options as well as a dual player mode, ensuring it was very unlikely you were going to get bored quickly.
Jon Ritman you are legend!