Super Euro Soccer 2000 (スーパー ユーロ サッカー 2000)

Super Euro Soccer 2000, produced by Rage and published by Imagine was released in Japan back in April 2000. The title was initially released in Europe as Uefa Striker where it saw a semi-successful release on Dreamcast, probably because it was the only football title available for the console at the time.

I’d played the original back when the game first came out in the UK and remember thinking at the time, “It’s okay, but deep down I wish it was ISS” but anyway, it’s been a while, and I decided to give the game another try to see how it holds up in 2012. I picked this copy up brand new for the total of 98 yen so I wasn’t expecting fireworks but to start off, the name Super-Euro-Soccer-2000 doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue does it?

The cover is also pretty dire featuring a mishmash of clichéd stockpile soccer images that seem to lack any focus. I much prefer the also clichéd but ultimately more effective, football player kicking a ball style cover which the European release and other games continue to use. On the back of the case the game proudly boasts that it, "features 45 club teams and 73 national teams", yet loading up the game it seems that for some reason the national teams are not available by default and need be unlocked. All the teams and squad line-ups are obviously from the 1999 season and the game is particularly nostalgic in that ‘the 90s were cool but I glad they’re over’, kind of way.

The game features all of the modes you’d expected from a soccer simulation title. There’s the regular friendly, tournament, training to and the game does not seem to be lacking in modes although most have had their name change such as the Champions League to Super Trophy due to licensing issues. There is also a fairly novel "classic match" mode were you can replay some of the classic matches from footballing history such as overturning Bayern Munich's lead 80th minute 1-0 lead as Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League final. I decided to test out the water by jumping straight into a regular friendly game. The ingame presentation is okay for game from 1999, and the team's lineups are shown up on screen before each game, complete with hilarious name changes such as Noel and Jorker upfront for Manchester instead of Cole and York. Unfortunately, the commentary is hilariously piss-poor with Jonathan, ‘I’d get excited over a wet cloth’ Pierce, barking out often commentary phrases every so often. I think this one aspect of the modern sports game that have developed a great deal since the late 90s/early 2000s.

The action is fairly fluid and nips along at a decent pace but the ball and people just seem to move so awkwardly which makes the game difficult to control. There's no analogue control though anda\ Another strange omission from the game is that there's no power bar to choose the strength of your shots, so you have to rely on the more mandatory one size fits all shoot button. The tackling in the game is messy and awkward and feels more like a game of tag than football, with you stealing the ball from your opponent then sprinting away from anyone who comes near you as it will almost always result in the ball being stolen back again. Your teammates seem to walk around half-asleep most of the time and will refuse to make any sort of runs or be of any actual use to you other than filling up space on the field.

This was my problem with Super Euro Soccer 2000; the game is just so damn hard because of the crappy controls. In my first game as Liverpool I was trounced 5-1 by Rossi Di Milano (yes, despite the millions of teams supposedly on offer non have actual real names) and 3-0 in my second match against Amsterdam. I understand like any game that there is a learning curve but this game just lacked any kind of appeal for me to want to keep playing. There are a fair decent amount of modes and teams (although by the time of writing this review I still couldn't work out how to unlock the national teams) but it is just so frustrating to play.

It’s ironic how Sega went full on with securing sponsorship of some pretty big football teams like Arsenal, St. Etienne, Sampdoria and Deportivo de La Coruña yet never managed to get produce a decent football game for the Dreamcast or get the likes of Konami or EA on-board with Fifa or Pro Evo.Next up I shall be testing out Virtua Striker 2, J-League Spectacle Soccer (90 minutes in the West) and if I can get hold of a copy Sega Worldwide Soccer 2000 Euro Edition, to find out which is the best football game on the system. Stay tuned.