Saturday, 4 February 2012

Soccer Kid (Amiga)

Super Adventures in Gaming Replay - Game 6

Aka The Adventures of Kid Kleets in the US... but only for the Super Nintendo release as far as I know. This was originally an Amiga platformer, but eventually got ported to most of the early 90s consoles.

I wrote about the game once already, but I seems that I forgot to say anything about how it plays or what it even is, so I'm giving it another look.

Amiga
Some versions have a pixelled intro, others have full animation and a voice over, but all versions have the same plot.

The year is 1994. A sinister space pirate called Scab is scouring the galaxy in search of trophies, literally actual trophies, and this time he's set his sights on Earth.

Though I have to wonder what the hell kind of space pirate arms his ship with pistols? They've even got triggers on them. He'd have to stick a space suit on and lean out of the door every time he wants to shoot something... unless he's got some kind of elaborate pulley system set up.

3DO
Meanwhile, on Earth, Soccer Kid is chilling out at home watching the start of the US World Cup '94 tournament on TV.

Amiga CD32
But the football fans of Earth are left stunned when Scab parks his intergalactic starship right over the stadium and lifts the World Cup away with an energy beam.

Amiga CD32
Look at all these guys flipping out just because an alien took their little statue. They should consider themselves lucky they weren't visited by the type of aliens that like to blow up New York, or give you an anal probe, or implant an embryo down your throat, or just atomise the entire planet to build a hyperspace bypass.

They've just been handed proof of both the existence of intelligent alien life and practical interstellar travel, and all it cost them was ONE of Earth's trophies. Ungrateful bastards.

Amiga CD32
Unfortunately for Scab, a collision shatters the trophy on the way back into space, and the pieces rain down across the globe. The first piece goes straight for the head of the most 'British' man in London, who is presumably dead now. Poor guy.

Amiga CD32
It seems that the collision has turned each of the World Cup fragments into a stereotype-seeking missile as the next three pieces hit a sumo wrestler in Japan, an Italian gondolier and this guy dancing in Russia.

Amiga CD32
The final piece lands in New York, and the Statue of Liberty isn't impressed. I hope this means that she's going turn up during the last boss fight, Ghostbusters 2 style, to step on the space pirate at the end.

SNES
And so Soccer Kid decides to travel the world to gather the pieces of the World Cup, and return it intact in time for the final. Don't ask how he knows where they landed, he's the fucking Soccer Kid okay?

Most regions get a picture of classic Soccer Kid racing into action in the SNES game, but the Japanese version gets SUPER SAIYAN SOCCER BOY. Though after looking at it for a bit, I reckon this picture actually started off as anime Soccer Kid, and then they drew the original style head on afterwards for the other regions. There's no dithering on the arm or leg, and parts of the 'arm swoosh' have been left on the background after the edit. Though I could be wrong.

Amiga
All versions of Soccer Kid apparently live near London, so that'll be the first stop.

Amiga
But first the Amiga version needs to take another loading break. Though it actually recognises external drives so there's zero disk swapping!

The CD32 version has him getting his fingerprints all over a giant CD instead. The kid's got no respect for storage media.


LEVEL 1 - HOMETOWN ZONE 1


     
The Kid is well animated and has a surprisingly solid array of moves. He can kick the ball low, high, forward, backwards and straight up. It's just a shame I have to take a second to get him bouncing the ball on his foot before I can do anything more complicated than a straight kick.

Oh also, I can change his kit to any set of colours on the title screen, so that's why he'll keep changing his look in my screenshots. I get bored easy.

Amiga
Agh, son of a bitch bloody flying creature....

I didn't have much of a chance to even see the damn bird, never mind dodge it. It's not even doing anything clever, just flying back and forth over the trees. I only got hit because I was caught by surprise.

Amiga AGA
The AGA version of the Amiga game has more colours, but other than that I haven't really noticed a difference.

I hit that skateboarder in self-defence by the way. I'm just walking down the street with a football, but it seems that everyone is out to kill me. Maybe they just hate my team, I dunno. Fortunately most of them go down in one or two shots, if I actually manage to react in time to kick the ball their way.

DOS
The DOS version seems to have more colours, and is surprisingly slick (though it's lost the parallax background.) In fact it uses MOD tracks instead of midi so even the music sounds just like the Amiga version.

Though what the fuck, is that an advert for Golden Grahams in the background there? I don't remember ever seeing that on the Amiga.

Amiga
The damn game tricked me! Just as I jumped over the pit, it sent out a dog to block my landing. I reacted instantly, dodging left... then fell into the insta-kill spike pit instead.

Why are there spike pits in the middle of the street anyway? This whole country's gone mad.

Amiga
These assholes throw a spanner at me first chance they get, so I have to either run away and attack from a distance, or jump over them. I think I'll be better off killing them, because in this enemies stay dead (at least until I lose a life), and I'll probably have to backtrack to search the level for cards.

Each level's got a certain number of football cards hidden on it, and I need to hunt down the full set before I can get this country's World Cup piece.

Amiga AGA
NO! I don't fucking believe it! I finally make it up here to the final card, after leaping from the last brick of a falling platform... and then I'm taken out by a bird a half second before getting it.

I really hate these creatures, I hate them so much.

Amiga AGA
I eventually managed to get all the cards, and it brought me to this bonus level where I have to race against the clock to collect stuff before the timer runs out.

Fortunately my ball collects anything it touches, so I can just kick it off to grab an entire row at once. You might think it'd be awkward to drag a ball with you in a platformer, but it works surprisingly well most of the time.

SNES
Oh crap, the European SNES version has been infiltrated by Golden Grahams too. They're... everywhere.


LEVEL 3 - ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE ZONE 1


Amiga AGA
Poor Soccer Kid is too young to drive, and has probably spent all his savings on plane tickets, so he's going to have to walk all the way to London.

3DO
Damn, even the sheep are after me.

The 3DO version of the game looks a bit like the DOS version I reckon, though with even better colours and a CD soundtrack. It seems to take less hits to kill things too, which is nice.

Amiga AGA
I like how Soccer Kid's sprite gets darker as he goes underground (even if you can still see the fields in the background). I'm not much of a fan of having to go through a secret passage to reach the card though. Sure would've been nice if they'd at least gave me a hint where the closest card is.


LEVEL 5 -  LONDON ZONE 1


Amiga AGA
We're finally in London! For some reason. I already grabbed the World Cup piece back in his home town, so there really is no point to him being here at all.

I'm still trying to figure out Soccer Kid's place in this world. His name's on all the buses, but all the tourists are trying to kill him. Well, everyone's trying to kill him actually.

SNES
No, not the Soccer Kid bus too! It's one thing to put up a few posters, but you've gone too far this time Grahams!

Weirdly the SNES version of the game starts off on this level, then goes to his home town, skipping the two countryside levels altogether. If it continues like this it'll be half the length of the Amiga, 3DO and DOS versions.

Atari Jaguar
The Jag version of the game looks a lot like the DOS and 3DO versions, though what the hell happened to the contrast on some of the sprites? It's hard to react to enemies when I didn't even notice them against the background.

Like the SNES version, this one starts off in London and skips levels too, it's strange.

GBA
The Game Boy Advance version also starts off in London, like the SNES and Jaguar versions, though they've given me an extra hit point this time. Which is nice.

It seems that some bastard's repainted the town gold though. The final step in Golden Grahams' sinister masterplan maybe?

Amiga AGA
I hate these rats. I hate them so much. Not only are they a pain in the ass to even see, but they're so small that sometimes my ball sails right over their heads. Then I have to decide whether to take a second to summon it back to kick again, or just run away.

3DO
Oh damn, the 3DO version was doing so well too. What were they thinking with that sky?

I've finally figured out how to deal with the birds though. I've noticed there's nearly ALWAYS one (or two) patrolling around each set of platforms, so now I'm ready for them before they even appear on screen. The game's starting to make more sense now.

Amiga AGA
Crap... well this ain't good. A boss fight with a giant rugby player versus a tiny Soccer Kid. I knew he shouldn't have come to London.

The thing about Soccer Kid, is that all of his moves take a second to set up, and the second I spend summoning the ball back to prepare a shot is a second I'm not jumping out of the way when he charges. In the end I won the fight on my last life by standing in the corner and just tapping the fire button. Not one of gaming's greatest boss fights.


LEVEL 7 - ITALIAN RUINS ZONE 1


Amiga AGA
Now I'm in Italy, and the game's going all Sonic the Hedgehog on me.

Actually, I wish I was collecting rings instead of food. I think the game really would be improved with Sonic's health system. I still don't know what the point of collecting this food is, it doesn't seem to be getting me extra lives or anything.

Amiga AGA
Well that ain't fair! A boulder fell from nowhere as I was going up the hill, and the ghost flying overhead to stopped me from jumping out of the way.

That's it then, no more lives and no continues. I was allowed to save my game after the boss battle in London, but seeing as I'd just start with zero lives again I don't see the point in loading it up.


LEVEL 4 - ITALIAN RIVIERA ZONE 1


PlayStation
But PlayStation Soccer Kid has continues! And starts off with extra health, just like in the GBA version.

Wait, this IS the GBA version. It was released a year afterwards (in 2003, pretty damn late for a PlayStation game), it looks the same, doesn't have the FMV intro, has the same hud, skips the same levels, has the same orange buses on the London stage... it even has passwords instead of saves.

In fact most versions have passwords instead of saves, it's weird. And annoying.


LEVEL 8 - RUSSIAN BATTLESHIP


GBA
Thanks to the miracle of continues, GBA Soccer Kid has made it all the way to stage three. Though I have no clue what the hell he's doing trespassing on a Russian battleship. What, is he taking a shortcut or something? I've gone from fighting skateboarders and sheep, to taking on armed sailors on their own ship.


LEVEL 10 -  TANAKA CUSTOM HARDWARE ZONE 1


GBA
And then after Russia I'm jumping around an office in Japan? Soccer Kid's got absolutely no excuse to be here, he just felt like breaking in and stealing their cards. Well I think I'm done with the game here for now.


I didn't like this one much at the start, though it's got so much charm I kinda wanted to. But eventually I started to figure out how to deal with the enemies, and got the hang of using the ball, and it started to win me over. I could live without having to hunt for cards or fight those damn bosses though.

The early versions have no continues and the later ports seem to have only half the levels, but they all seem more or less equally slick to me. Even the PC version looks and sounds great. So I have to award all of them with a gold star.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, really enjoyed reading this about a beloved childhood game I spent hours trying to master. I'm thinking of creating a remake for android, not sure to go original bitmap sprites or 2.5D rendered version? Any ideas, comments? kev.kscreative@googlemail.com

    ReplyDelete

Semi-Random Game Box