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Taito Power Goal

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Released: 1994

Genre: Sports

Format reviewed: Arcade

Publisher: Taito

Developer: Taito

On the surface, Taito Power Goal looks a pretty unremarkable football game. Historically, that’s certainly true. The game went largely unnoticed in the arcades of the mid-Nineties, with its digitised sprites thoroughly overshadowed by the flashy polygonal goodness of Virtua Striker, and its lone console conversion on the Saturn was just as unremarkable. The fact that it’s actually the third game in its series is Mastermind-level trivia. However, beneath the surface lies some pretty weird stuff.

This is a thoroughly arcade-oriented football game, with fast action and frequent possession changes. The referee rarely even blows his whistle, despite the fact that players engage in the kind of behaviour that wouldn’t fly with the most relaxed of Sunday league officials – we’re talking violent knee attacks, full on flying kicks and generally unsportsmanlike behaviour all round. That doesn’t even factor in the super and hyper shots, which skirt the line between continue bonuses and flat-out pay to win rubbish. When more credits are inserted, the player gains points with which special abilities can be bought – helpful if you’re struggling, but also easy to abuse. These include shots which are basically auto-goals, because the ball is struck with such force that it will not only knock him into the back of the night, but strip him to his underwear.

Had it not been for my local sports centre choosing to host sports-related arcade games, I’d have likely never discovered this oddity. It certainly wasn’t as good as the likes of Decathlete and Neo Turf Masters which also found their way into the place, but thanks to its unusual nature, I’ll never forget it.