Genre: Sports Developer: SIMS Co Publisher: Atlus Players: 1-2 Released: 1992
In the late ’80s to early ’90s Tecmo was a staple in the video game industry for their solid sports games. Who will ever forget Tecmo Bowl on the NES, a game that defined what a video game could do for the sport of football, they released Tecmo NBA Basketball for the NES, Tecmo Super Bowl and Tecmo Super Baseball on the SNES, and they played very well. The company was met with warm thoughts when mentioned to gamers of the era, but how many of you know that Tecmo released two soccer games on the Genesis that never saw the light of day in the states? I never did either, due to the fact that soccer isn’t that popular in the U.S. and also that I’m not normally huge into sports games very often.
I found out about this game during a random thrift store visit, this game was laying around (who knows how a Japanese game ended up there) and I liked Tecmo and had to give it a try. When I finally tried it out it donned on me that the game was a mixed bag and lacked the depth that their other games were so well known for. The game is a sequel to Tecmo World Cup, which came out in 1990 and made sense since 1990 was a year in which the World Cup was played. The Japanese Tecmo World Cup ’92 name doesn’t make a bit of sense since the World Cup wasn’t even played during 1992, and in the USA the game is simply called Tecmo World Cup since the prequel wasn’t released stateside, but the name makes more sense anyway. Read on to find out just how well the game fares against Tecmo’s other sports games and as a soccer game in general.
For those of you who have played the game before, you will realize upon starting the game up that there aren’t many options to start with, one and two-player mode, and World Cup mode and an options menu which you can select Exhibition or Professional mode, a difficulty level, and a few controller settings. World Cup mode simply takes the four best teams and you face them one by one until your team is the champion. There isn’t anything else, a career mode would have been great but Tecmo got pretty cut and dry here.
You select your team of choice and a field formation, and it’s off to play. The field is large and the players are very easy to see with bright colors for their clothing, the ball is easy to see and controlling is easy to manage but the game play is really pretty much as boring as the options menu. You can adjust the timer for each game but it even a game set to forty minute halves only lasts about ten minutes since the timer counts very fast. There are no time outs, no cards, and no fouls whatsoever. Occasionally, you’ll get a free kick but not too much more.
Tecmo pretty much ignored all of the rules of professional soccer and went straight for the most basic soccer game possible. When you do score, there’s never a cheer from the crowd or an announcer or anything remotely praising your effort at all and absolutely nothing between halves other than a side change and a view of the final score at game’s end. I think each team has its own stats to some degree because some play better than others but it never actually shows stats for any team, there aren’t any player numbers and every player is a carbon copy of the next, so there isn’t too much variety at all. Sadly, even the amazing cut scenes highlighting the great plays in their previous games are absent.
The graphics don’t add to the game at all, as I said above, each team member is the same, you never get much of a view of the crowd or any scenery and I don’t believe there’s any advertising on the walls of the field, there’s no option to change the style of the field or the weather either.
TWC’s sound isn’t much better. There’s no announcer and only a few sounds from passing and kicking the ball, and not having much crowd ambiance only makes the experience all the more generic. The one good thing going for the audio is the music, as there are a few mildly catchy tunes that play during the game that help to break up the tedium. However, while they are good enough to listen to, adding actual sounds that pertain to soccer would have made much more sense.
When I first played Tecmo World Cup, I was going to score it much higher, but then as I played it, I realized just how few the options are and how lacking the game is. It isn’t horrible, and I actually enjoy it periodically. Maybe it’s easier for me to play since I’m not a diehard sports fan, and I don’t need all of the heavy duty options, but it still could have been better. It does have the feel of an arcade style soccer game and has some good value for two players. I added it to my category of games that I call “good multi-player screw around games,” or “games that are good when you have a few people around that want to play a game but don’t want to get too involved in something.” It was a cool find for me since I found the Japanese version and for casual two-player mode but your mileage probably won’t be much more than that.
SCORE: 3 out of 10