Format reviewed: Neo Geo
Submitted by: neil evans
Super SideKicks 3: The Next Glory, rolled into arcades courtesy of SNK in 1995, the third installment in the soccer game series. It existed on the Neo Geo Console a year later as an exact port of the arcade game. Super Sidekicks 3 is not a sim, it is a 100% unashamed arcade romp although it still manages 11 a side. The gameplay is somewhat simple with emphasis on fast paced attacks on goal rather than passing finesse and skilled maneuvers. This is not an issue though as the game flows beautifully at break neck speed using a three button control system in attack and defense to minimise learning curve. SNK made some great games during this golden period and it’s no wonder they were and still are so popular. The Graphics are bright and well animated the sound is bombastic and comical at times (Super Psyche Up!) and the cut scenes that pop up after a foul or a goal has been scored are great fun.
Viewed from a side on perspective for most of the game you will find that you often have to pass the ball with fingers crossed rather than knowing that there is a player ready to receive the pass. Just bash the button and get it upfield! This pass pass shoot shoot style allows the game to just do what it does best, flow, rather then requiring the player to seek out a player before making the pass move. Fortunately your team mates are well positioned and if either using the long pass or lob pass buttons (The short pass is more or less useless) you will usually keep possession if you keep the player weaving. The lob pass proves to be very helpful when in and around the box as it allows you to pass and head the ball into the opponents net or smash a volley against the cross bar. If you find yourself charging into a scoring position a visual cue appears over the players head and by pressing the shoot button the action cuts quickly to a goal mouth view with arrow aim system giving you a fraction of a moment to position your shot. This “Chance Shot” system is not a guaranteed way to score a goal as the keeper can display extraordinary dexterity and athletic ability or failing that the ball can ricochet off a defenders head, causing momentary brain injury.
When defending you can reclaim the ball in one of several ways, either through rough play like a body check or by simply swooping alongside the ball and player and crossing paths allowing you to nick the ball by means of a safe tackle. When performing a sliding tackle good positioning and timing are required as chopping from behind will result in a foul and yellow or red card. Cheap shots either by you or your opponent can result in damage to the player and sometimes serves as a bonus as a temporary boosting of stats might result. For example the riled and down (But not out) player might get the ability to run twice as fast as he could before.
The options for gameplay allow many different playing setups and thus extend the playability greatly. There are a total of 64 international teams in 8 Playing groups. 3 European, 2 Asian, American, African and South American. You can play a world tournament or regional tournaments. From there work your way through several games to quarter and semi final and if your good, the final. The game is not perfect though, the sound effects are over the top, there is little in game commentary and you only play one half for a fixed set time (You cant pay more to extend the game time or add the second half). SNK also didn’t get a license to use real player names however there are similar names to players that were around at the time of the games release and this familiarity extends to players with long hair and skin color.
I love this game though, for what it is, a really playable football romp. The pace, colorful graphics and little touches make it different to any other Arcade football game and SNK adds enough reward to have you pumping the credits in until you capture the cup and top the score board.