30 Games Of April – Day 4

Sensible Soccer 2006
Developed by:Jon Hare / Codemasters
Format played:Playstation 2

Sensible Soccer. Two little words that changed the face of computer football.

Sensible Software had of course cut their teeth on Microprose Soccer, a bang average top-down take on the beautiful game. But on the Amiga scene, Kick Off reigned supreme despite being utterly awful.

When the first game released in 1992 it swept all away. Being a European Championships year there were a glut of other football games around the same time. Striker, John Barnes et al offered a passable alternative but none could compete with the might of Sensi.

Updates followed to keep the game fresh, introducing new elements without mucking around with the core gameplay. New teams were introduced, goalies were improved, cards were brandished, tactics evolved and tournaments were beefed up. But all would stand and cower beneath the monolith of modern gaming that was Sensible World of Soccer.

Sure, it didn’t get off to the best start by launching with a bug that meant that no matter how many goals your striker scored his value would keep going down. But a quick bug-fixing data disk later, the best football game ever was truly unleashed.

It kept everything that made Sensi great – one touch passing, outrageous sliding tackles, aftertouch that let you bend shots away from the goalies despairing lunge, the greatest multiplayer offering in the history of gaming. But then it offered a game within a game, turning the whole thing into a management sim. Buy and sell players, tweak tactics to within an inch of your life, embark on a 20 year career before being unceremoniously retired, manage Hibernians of Malta for some reason. Players truly differed from each other leading you into the transfer market to land that pacey striker, only to stick him up top to discover he has all the touch of a finger-less dentist. Truly SWOS was the pinnacle of computer football, still to be beaten all these years later.

What’s that? Sensible Soccer 2006? Oh. Yeah, it’s crap.

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