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Super Sidekicks

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Released: 1993

Genre: Sports

Format reviewed: Neo Geo

Publisher: SNK

Developer: SNK

Everyone knows that the Neo Geo has a bunch of great fighting games, but one of the things that the system doesn’t get enough credit for is its excellent range of sports games – right from Baseball Stars at launch, they were an important part of the platform’s success. In Europe and South America, few of them had more of an impact than the Super Sidekicks series.

Super Sidekicks isn’t really a game for the football purist. It’s pretty lax on rules and nothing short of criminal assault will attract the referee’s attention, while the kit choices seem to indicate that England is seemingly represented by Newcastle United. But as a slice of competitive arcade action, it’s hard to beat. The game is always an end-to-end affair, in part because of the ferocity and frequency of tackles, and in part simply because the game is so fast. The arcade presentation practically encourages trash talk too, thanks to the lavish full-screen celebrations which take place after each goal.

But as it turns out, there’s something about the name which happens to be true: the vast majority of your team are sidekicks, as each team has a designated “ace” who runs faster, shoots harder and generally carries his practically useless buddies to victory. As such, tactical play tends to go out of the window – you’re often best served passing the ball to him whenever you want to make a shot, as he’s the most likely to succeed. So much for team spirit, eh?