Approximate Release Month: June 1992
Super Soccer Champ is, blessedly, not an attempt at a realistic soccer simulation.
“Realistic” sports games on the Super Nintendo are among the worst games of the era to play in 2014. So when a game like Super Soccer Champ comes around and is, you know, fun and interesting, I feel like I’ve dodged a bullet. Even though its name sounds like it would be the sequel to Super Soccer, this fùtbol game is much closer to World League Soccer in all respects.
If the box art for the game didn’t spoil the fact, it would have been obvious that this is a port of an arcade game. I mean, the team select screen looks like it was ripped out of a coin-op fighting game. Each game is also only 4 minutes each, and upon successfully beating a team you are immediately thrown into battle with a second, more difficult club to face. This is basic arcade game structure, and the fact that this is the real meat of Super Soccer Champ might turn off some players. There’s no season mode, just exhibitions. But that’s fine with me!
But Taito did put in a few extra modes to fill out the cartridge. Most notably are the cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes, which are both awesome if you happen to have a friend into obscure sports games from over two decades ago. There’s also a mode dedicated to practicing penalty kicks, which is cool to have but not very exciting.
But how does it play? Pretty well! It controls like a standard soccer game does: pass, shoot, slide, etc. You can also perform punches and tackles against your opponents, but I was always carded when I tried so it doesn’t seem super useful at first blush. One aspect I really appreciate is Super Soccer Champ‘s AI; opponents are challenging but not impossible and my teammates were always roughly where I wanted them to be when I was passing up the field to make a run for the goal. My goalie even made some clutch saves, which I’m not used to in soccer games.
Even though it’s about as deep as a puddle, Super Soccer Champ held my interest. It may not sound like it, but that’s a compliment.
Tomorrow: No, Thunder Spirits isn’t about meteorology or the supernatural. It’s about shooting everything.