MATCH TIME: Your choice. 14 minutes, 10 minutes, 6 minutes or a rather quick 2 minutes. Matches can be played in rain or shine, but only in the daytime.
WHAT OPTIONS ARE THERE? : Not many unfortunately,
INTERNATIONAL CUP (tournament): Sort of a world cup. If you're looking for a challenge then this will challenge you for a while. A tournament can be saved so you can turn your Gameboy off and go back to it another day, still where you were.
FRIENDLY MATCH: You can play for fun against another team (computer or human)
PENALTY SHOOT-OUT: I spend almost more time on penalties than actual games. Penalties are very addictive.
There are 44 different teams from each continent, and if you win an international cup with a team from out of each continent you get an all-star team. I won the International cup with Nigeria so I got the African all-stars. I also have got the Euro all-star team and the American allstar team and got all the way to the final using Brazil only to be beaten 2-0 by France.
COMMENTRY: Yes, it does have commentary, the commentator is very quiet, but loud enough to hear it. You can turn the commentary off but it just wouldn't be the same without commentary.
DIFFRICULTY: 1, very easy 2, easy 3, normal 4, hard 5, very hard. Someone like me who plays on footie games all the time would probably expect to play at level 5. But I always play at level 2 because I find the harder levels too difficult. It is quite a tough game.
GRAPHICS: It certainly looks like a 32-bit game. Although the graphics obviously are not as good as ISS on the Gamecube, the details of the pitch are still good, so are the players. There are four stadiums, Europe, S America, Asia and Africa.What I found disappointing was the fact that there was no replays .I often like to look at my goals and tackles but I can't do that on this game. That is only a minor setback.
Anyone who owns a Gameboy Advance and likes football should give this game a go, although it is a bit pricey at £35 its still a great game, Thanks for reading!
Based on the 16-Bit incarnations of the long running series, International Superstar Soccer for the Gameboy Advance was released just in time for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea, and would be the first, and to date only, outing for one of Konami's flagship footballing titles on the handheld. The series main detractor for many is the lack of real player names and authentic kits, and while the latter doesn't matter on the GBA where the kits can't be seen in detail, ISS, in this incarnation, actually has the majority of player's names 100% correct and official, which is a nice touch.
The game is, as you may have gathered, a football/soccer game, which means there is no story or anything, the idea is simply to play and win matches, preferably in a tournament of some sort.ISS shoots itself in the foot right away with it's sparse selection of modes of play. While I am aware there are limitations as to what a GBA cartridge can hold, judging from what other companies were doing with it, it evidently holds more than a Super NES or Megadrive cartridge, yet this game has a lot less options than any series entry on those consoles had, and considerably less than any rival game of the sport for the GBA. We have the paltry choice of Exhibition, which is a one-off game, International Cup, which is basically the World Cup, and Penalty Shoot-Out, which is fairly self explanatory. As I mentioned in my review of FIFA 2004 for the GBA, the entire concept of a football game on a handheld is fairly flawed, given that their main lifespan is dictated by the multiplayer, which isn't something that I can say I have taken part in very often on handhelds, so that is the game's main purpose gone, so it can only really attain any sort of value for money via some sort of good single player experience, which is something that ISS greatly lacks. After a few hours play I had done everything there was to be done in the game, and had no interest in playing it again.
The actual basic mechanics of the gameplay are great. They use the engine from the aforementioned 16-Bit ISS titles, which were in my eyes Konami's crowning hour in their football games, including current PS2 and XBox releases. The game is fast,furious, and generally one of the best football titles of all time. Sadly, most of the essence of this has been lost in the transition to GBA, mostly due to the controls, which are terrible. The basic, 'reliable' controls are L being sprint, B being Shoot and A Pass. The instruction manual declares that R is a sort of modifier button, and when pressed with B it should provide a Long Pass(Read:Lob/Cross) and with A a Through Ball. Neither of these work very well at all, and personally I wish they had just set cross onto one of the shoulder buttons and had to do without a through ball. I suppose this is half Nintendo's fault for the lack of buttons on the GBA. When off the ball, B is a step in tackle,A a slide and R changes player. These are also a pain, mostly due to the fact that occasionally you win the ball without pressing a tackle button, but not aware of this you try to win the ball(which you already have) by pressing a tackle button, and end up hoofing the ball away. Changing player is also rather comical, as it seems to change you to every player apart from the one you want it to, and does so in whatever amount of time it sees fit.
The control layout isn't very good either. Given that all major console footy titles now use Their R/R1 trigger to sprint, why in the name of god did Konami decide to try and implement L for it here? it feels unnatural, and stupid. I don't have any complaints about the pass and shoot allocation, but putting Slide tackle on the same button as Pass is ludicrous. When you try to pull off a passing header, by pressing A when the ball is in the air, you often perform a slide tackle instead and scythe down the closest opposition player and get sent off. Marvellous.
While I dislike comparing the two, due to the masses of fan wars between the two, it's a simple fact that EA got their controls as close to perfect on the GBA as possible in their football titles, and Konami pulled off a major balls up with this. The fact that there is such a good engine to play with actually makes it worse when your controls do everything in their power to hinder you.
Actually,come to think of it, the engine isn't even as good as the 16-Bit games. When you press pass, even with the direction you want it to go, the computer decides where to pass it to, usually to nobody, or the opposition goalkeeper, superb work. Shooting is also hilarious, given that I have won the International Cup 4 times and every goal bar one has been via a rebound, because it's the only plausible way to score, due to the terrible shots the players hit, and how hard it is to get one in. Even then it's a struggle, due to the fact that you never have any players anywhere near where the balls falls. Im not even going to waste my time talking about trying to score from Free Kicks, because Konami were clearly taking the p**s, so I refuse to even talk about them.
Graphically, the game is actually good. It uses the same rough look as those MD/SNES ISS games, except the sprites have lost their cartoon feel, and are now more realistic, as if the makers were aiming for pseudo-3D looking players, although they still move the same as their 16-Bit counterparts, which isn't a complaint, because the animation in those games was wonderful. While the players aren't very distinct from one another, it doesn't matter because they all look pretty cool. The pitch also looks top notch, and the game is generally a nice experience graphically.
The sound is also impressive, with commentary(!) provided by real life commentator John Champion. I was mighty impressed by this, and while it isn't exactly of the standard of the commentaries on the major system's football games, this is a handheld, and I was taken aback by it. The sounds of the crowd are fairly mediocre though, and they rarely rouse any sort of emotion, even for goals or near misses. Boo.
On the whole, there really isn't any need to own ISS for the GBA. While it had the potential to be one of the best games on the console, Konami screwed it up grandly by forgetting to put in most of the gameplay options, there isn't even a league, and the game's diabolical controls. If you must own a football game for the GBA, check out one of EA's FIFAs, or any other you see going cheap, because ISS is a waste of your time and money. The sad fact is that the game does have a lot going for it, but when a major aspect of it's enjoyment such as the controls are garbage, this doesn't just hinder the game, it almost destroys it. It's due to facts like the commentary,graphics and the fact I know it does have a decent engine that the game manages to score 2 instead of 1, but I still advise strongly on skipping this.
Review also posted on Epinions.com
I personally have to have many of the consoles now on the market, or have been so for Christmas I added a Gameboy Advance to my collection of a Atari St, SNES, Jaguar, N64, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, PS1 and a PS2. The gameboy advance I bought with the best game currently available, which was Mario Kart, but for my second game I had to get ISS. So in my opinion ISS on the Gamboy Advance is the second best games currently on the console, and takes top spot in the sporting category. This games is near enough and identical copy to the original series that appeared on the SNES. Which is its day, was the reigning champion when it comes to console football games. ***Graphics The graphics are again a near enough direct port from the original, and therefore spite based. Although the graphics are a port they are in my opinion a little worse, due to the poor light of the screen and it’s ability to loose colours. ***Sound*** Sound in this game is brilliant, the people who made this games have really done a good job. The commentary, funnily enough is done by John Champion and in my opinion I better than any other ISS game on any other console, including the newest release Pro Evolution Soccer. ***Gameplay*** Many of the top teams are in this game, with most but not all correctly named players. There is plenty for the player to get their teeth into. Although not quite as much as on the PS1 and PS1 ISS games, it’s amazing for a handheld, and the battery power it uses. ***SUMMARY*** ISS on the Gamboy Advance is in my opinion the 2nd best game on the console, and certainly the best sports title available. At the moment it’s a little pricey at £34.99, perhaps wait for the new year price reductions of Game Boy Advance games.
Firstly I would just like to what a brilliant game this is. I have four games for my Game Boy Advance and this is probably my favourite. The others I have are Harry Potter (The GBA's worst offering with the execption of kurin kurin), Mario Kart Super Circuit ( The super addictive, ever famous, SNES converted game), Mario Advance (a game which, again has been converted from the NES/SNES) and ISS. Secondly I would just like to say how happy I was when I received this for christmas. Al the other kids at school were getting Playstation 2's. Me being headstrong as I am, wanted to be different, wanted to stand out from the crowd, to defy convention. If all the other Kids at school would of been getting Gameboy Advances I most probably would of got a PS2. I am so glad that I wanted to be different. I love My Gameboy Advance and play one it for at least an hour a day. 50% of the time that hour is spent playing on ISS. ISS is probably the easiest football game I have ever played on a Hand-Held Console. Usually the portable soccer games are irratating and hard to concentrate on. This however is probably the quickest one I have ever gotten to grips with. It's still hard to score but once you know how to defend, you'll soon be knocking in the goals. Well scoring is probably the hardest thing on the game to do. Most of the time, just to get a shot on the keeper you have to shoot from your side of the center circle. If you do get the ball past the last defender and the keeper is coming out for it then you've scored, no doubt about it. 99% of the time though the opponents defender headers it away and you've got to try and get the ball again. The graphics on ISS blow all the other Football offerings for the game boy advance out of the water. While Steven Gerrards and David Beckhams offerings would look bad if they were on a Gameboy Colour, ISS looks like it COULD be a playstation game. One of the early ones like a
didas pro soccer but nevertheless it's still are playstation quality. It has two types of games to play... Friendly and World Cup. You can also play two player with a fiend who has the game and an Advance. There are 5 Levels of Difficulty and you can change the game length from one minute to seven. One advantage that ISS has over all other portable football games is comentary. If you've ever played an ISS game you'll know what the standard of comentary is. Here's an example... "ENGLAND (he says shouting as if they've just scored a goal) are losing at half time (said in a normal voice)" One other downside is the lack of challenge one you've started to play well. When I first got it I scraped 0-0 draws at Level 3. Now, two weeks later, I can win games 5-0 on the highest level (level 5). There is extremely little difference between the bottom and hardest levels of difficulty. Now I will just give you some tips for when you DO buy this game: Try and complete the world cup with a team out of each continent. Say you win with England you'll get the Euro all-St*rs, with Brazil, the america all-st*rs and so-on. Once you've won it with a team out of each continent, win it again with any team to get the WORLD all-st*rs. Cool Huh?