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Soccer Kid

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Released: 1993

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Amiga 500

Publisher: Krisalis

Developer: Krisalis

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

Over the years Mario and Sonic platformers have had plenty of praise heaped upon them (and quite rightly), but Soccer Kid on the Amiga is every bit as creative as either of them.

You play the part of Soccer Kid as he attempts to rescue back the World Cup that has been captured by the evil alien pirate SCAB (?)…. Well that’s the plot, which can be largely ignored. The uniqueness of soccer kid is the way in which you use a football as a weapon against your adversaries. Soccer Kid can pull off headers, volleys, chips, tackles and even an impressive overhead scissor kick in order to dispatch his foes. Controls are quite tricky to work out, but after a while it becomes almost second nature to shoot the ball towards the baddies, who are suitably themed to match the five countries that have to be visited.

The graphics are superb, with smooth parallax scrolling – which becomes more and more impressive as the game progresses – and plenty of detailed animation has been put into the 'Soccer Kid' character, which has to be one of the nicest sprites to be created on the Amiga. A lot of development went into Soccer Kid and it shows with nice little touches all around, from leaves falling from trees when the ball strikes them, to the great stereo soundtrack, to the gently falling snow on the Russian levels. There’s also the ability to change the colours of Soccer Kid’s kit to match that of your favourite team.

You won’t find a nicer looking or more imaginative platformer on the Amiga, the trouble is Soccer Kid is very hard. The control system, while easy enough to pick up, never seems to become intuitive, and on the later levels it’s very hard to progress, especially at the boss battles at the end of level (I have been stuck on the Russian end-of-level boss for fourteen years now – no cheat codes seem to exist!). The overly hard difficulty level is a real shame, as this is a slickly produced beauty of a game.