Italia 1990


Title           Italia 1990
Game Type       Sport
Company         Codemasters, 1990
Players         1-4
Compatibility   OCS
HD Installable  No
Submission      Martin Smith Profiled Reviewer

Review
Straight-to-budget games were never as popular on the Amiga as on the
8-bit systems. In the early days, anyone spending £600 on an Amiga clearly
had money to pay £20 for a top-line game, rather than £5 for what was
likely to be child-oriented, technically shoddy, simplistic, derivative,
and rapidly tedious. And by the early 90s, lots of classic games were
available on budget, as happened on the 8-bits a few years earlier.

Codemasters were the only company to enjoy much 16-bit budget success, and
titles such as the Dizzy games, Super Grand Prix and Sky-High Stuntman
were worthy of a place in anyone's collection. Unfortunately, if you take
your worst possible image of a budget football game, with identical
gameplay to the C64 version, and released to unofficially cash in on the
1990 World Cup, and multiply that by a factor of 10, you're still nowhere
near appreciating how bad this is.

Virtually every major aspect of football has been hobbled in some way.
Passing the ball is all-but-impossible, as a light tap barely moves the
ball and a full press hoofs it 40 yards in a straight line (it’s not
possible to curve the ball). Tackling is achieved by blocking the
opponent; attempts at anything else result in a foul. Headers are almost
non-existent. It’s impossible to shoot from within 12 yards and have the
ball stay low enough to go into the net; conversely, the goalkeepers are
so bad that shots from 30 yards out will often trickle past their dive
(occasionally they will dive to the left, then immediately dive back to
the right, without getting up in between). Players don't take up clever
positions, and generally look disinterested and bored. The ball makes a
metallic-sounding clunk as it lands, and bounces much too high.

The set pieces are ‘all there’according to the packaging,‘there’
appears to be a graveyard of inept design. A black screen with "throw-in"’
or "goal kick" written on it in yellow letters precedes each one, just as
you’re preparing to take it, which is completely unnecessary. The timer
continues while you prepare to take them. Players don't have to retreat 10
yards before you take them, so you can block goal kicks by standing in
front of the taker, this causes the ball to rise into the air, then drop
back down into exactly the same place; an interesting interpretation of
physics.

Don't expect a challenge either - I won the tournament at the first
attempt, with most of my goals coming from simply dribbling the ball into
the net on one occasion from the halfway line, with no one ever going near
me to make a tackle, and the rest being due to goalkeeping ineptitude
facing ineffectual-looking efforts from outside the penalty box.

As mentioned, the game is a barely-altered C64 port, which explains the
poor crowd sounds, the fact that the teams always wear the same kits (red
shirts and white shorts for team 1, yellow shirts and black shorts (how
many international teams wear those?) for team 2), and that there's only
one simple knockout tournament with just 8 teams.

The game also features a circuit-training mode, which is loaded separately
from the football game and includes challenges at weight-lifting, squat
thrusts, dribbling, penalties and the like. Each one requires a particular
joystick movement to complete each one, and involves allowing significant
rest to avoid exhausting your athlete. This isn't really up to much, being
limited and not especially challenging, but its nowhere near as bad as
the main game, which is a candidate for Worst Amiga Soccer game’honours.

Overall 18%



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