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UEFA Striker (DC)
Member Name: D1A1
UEFA Striker (DC)
Date: 24/09/00, updated on 23/02/01 (154 review reads)
Advantages: Official 'licence', good solid graphics, not easy to score - you have to learn! Longevity is good.
Disadvantages: Licencing is odd, poor tackling system. It's not that visually stunning. No wow factor.
Yep there is no FIFA or ISS, but then EA Sports and Konami haven't been Sega's best friends, and weren't really ever going to support the console well. I doubt if there will be many more football games released, so UEFA striker, Dreamcast's very first game in the genre, could prove to be the best. It's a fair game, but we should have been treated to something more elaborate...
Anyway, let me tell you about Infogrames' high selling Rage developed UEFA striker, now that it's only around £9.99 or free with your brand new Dreamcast, there really isn't much excuse not to own it! Don't go by your first impression - that is the key to getting the most out of this one. It's a very different game to the EA tri-yearly FIFA, so it will take some time to get used to, and you should take the time because it really is quite a decent game!
FIFA 2001 has been released recently, but much to the anger of many PS1 and PS2 owners, it hasn't lived up to much, yet the PS2 game graphically superior to any DC football game. Maybe EA mucked it up with the controls (it's awful!), but anyhow, UEFA isn't that bad at all in the visual department. Everything looks clean and crisp, and a whole lot better than anything on the N64, or PS1 – t
he player detail could be better, but the pitches look solid, with good, realistic looking stadiums and great weather details including rain, snow and the standard sun/clear weather.
There are many impressive features of UEFA, including the many game modes: 9 in fact! You can play in a standard friendly – up to four of you can take part, but the two player games are better really – set the time of game from 2, 5, 10 or even 20 minutes (why no full game option?), whether you want offside on or not, the weather conditions (as described above), if you want a night or day match, different extra time options (None, Extra Time, Penalties, Golden Goal, Extra Time & Penalties, Golden goal & Penalties). Chose the camera position – opt for the pre-set one, as it is a lot easier to play by. You can also decide where you want to play at – from some odd sounding stadiums like ‘Birmingham Park’; you get a real sense that Infogrames didn’t quite get the correct licensing here!
There are also many other modes to play in, but you’ll probably be using the friendly mode most often. National team qualifiers (world cup qualifiers), play this to unlock the National Team Finals (like the world cup really), play in the final group stages to try to make it to the knockout rounds. The top two international teams in each group qualify, so be careful to select the appropriate game difficulty level from the game options before hand. You can partake in the Territories Cup (kind of like a European Cup game, but with less teams…), and then there’s the usual ‘League’, Knockout competition, Classic matches – superb idea here – play in some of the best matches of all time, some famous names here! And there is also the practice mode where you can improve various skills.
The best mode, other than the actual friendly has to be the Certification Award, which is one of the best ideas in the ga
me also. You will be given a score out of ten depending on how well you do in the following areas:
Shooting: not too difficult once you know how to direct the shot!
Defending: just clear the ball away and prevent the opposition scoring.
Passing: complete a series of passes before driving home to score.
Penalties: the easiest of the certificates, but again you need to learn how to direct well as the slightest touch of the direction pad is all you need.
Set Pieces: throw-ins and corners here – quite complicated at first.
Free play: You have to score 10 goals within a short space of time, which is very difficult indeed against such a frustrating computer controlled side.
If you succeed at the highest level – i.e. gaining 3 in each category is the lowest, 5 the next and 8 the highest level (although you can get 10 in each), then new options, game modes and special teams will unveil before your very eyes. For instance, teams like Brazil will become available to select in all modes. It’s a good mode, which seems to have had the most thought put into it – there’s more atmosphere here in my view, as you get the impression that your team is really at a training camp somewhere!
As I say the use of licensing is really weird, nearly all the players have real names, and most of the Internationals are correct but there are teams that have been given odd names: Arsenal is ‘Highbury’, Real Madrid is Blanco de Madrid, Ajax is Amsterdam and so on. There are many teams that haven’t been given names in this way, and although it’s obvious which team is which, you do get the inclination that Infogrames cheated a bit. It isn’t so much of a problem though as you can change the team and player names around.
The player and team create is a great time consumer – I have spent many hours including Blackburn into the list, Aston Villa and Newcastle as well as Leeds have also mad
e it into the game by my doings – I think you’re allowed around 10 user teams, all of which have the maximum 5 star rating! You can change all the players’ names as well - change their faces, their hair colour and the number also. The team strips can be designed too, and you’re even aloud to change the International line-ups and mess around with the real players’ names. Good option, that’s essential nowadays.
So, how does the game play? Well the shooting system at first is very suspect – it’s incredibly difficult to actually find the net, as the keepers (all of which, even yours, are computer controlled (unless it’s a penalty against you)) are almost faultless. By holding the shoot button down longer, you will get more power on the shot, and try directing where you shoot also. Free kicks work well, the passing system is fine, and generally the controls are easy to learn. The only other complaint is the tackling – it’s very hard to tackle and not get booked, or be penalised, so that’s not a good point. You can do a full on sliding tackle, or just the more subtle shoulder barge, or jockeying tackling method.
The commentary. Oh dear. What a match made in hell! The ‘expertise’ of ‘ex-manager of everyone’ Ron Atkinson, combined with the insane shouting of Channel 5’s and Robot Wars’ Jonathan Pearce, who often loses it in the games! Ron claims every save the keeper makes was the best he’s ever seen, and Pearce rambles about how the striker was ‘calm, cool or collective’… It does get repetitive, but there is a fair amount of speech here. In the International big matches we’re honoured with the presence of Ruud Gullit, who, when asked about the prospects of a team, simply tells us who plays for them. Useless, but at least he’s getting paid for video game commentary.
Thinking about it now, the graphics are very
good really, and there are many hidden extras including a couple of cheats – you’ll have to find these out elsewhere as I’m not permitted to unlock this classified info (they’re at most cheat websites). You can use such devices as the VMU to change tactics in the game – very handy, so your opponent cannot see it! You’ll be able to create your own competitions as well as your own teams and players. It’s baffling to see an '11 man subs bench’, but there you go.
UEFA is the best Dreamcast football game, it’s not perfect, it’s far from it in fact, but it’s very good. If there are any developers reading this review come on and make a Dreamcast football game! There has to be better games out there, in the making and with Sega sponsoring 4 top footy teams - Dreamcast needs some better games for the genre, as we really are limited for choice here. Giant Killers will be out soon, but that’s a management game – something worth checking out though.
As the amount of Dreamcast owners increases (as it is doing thanks to a crazy sub-ton price tag), you’d think there’d be more and more developers and publishers backing the format, but in a day and age when Sega themselves have announced that Dreamcast console production will cease, you can’t expect anyone else to jump on board now.
Oh well, maybe Virtua Striker 3 will be playable.
UEFA striker is worth the £10 price believe me! I’d give it 7 stars out of 10, but then there’s only 1-5 to choose from. It’s got to be 4 really.