Release Date: October 1989
We’re back to the NES for some soccer action with Jaleco’s Goal! I remember seeing pictures of Goal! in magazines and wondering if the odd 30 degree tilt to the view was any good. The camera angle kept the game in my brain, but it never coaxed me into giving it a shot. That was probably for the best, because what I played for today wasn’t very good.
You can start out by choosing to play the World Cup, a tournament, or an exhibition game. The World Cup begins with you choosing one of 16 teams in four different blocks. You then do a round robin tournament to qualify for the next round. The top two teams from each block move to the next set of two round robin blocks. Then the top two teams from those meet in the semi-finals, then the finals. I didn’t get out of the first block, so I’m taking the manual’s word here. You can play a tournament of different US Cities. These are made up of the World Cup countries under different names. There’s even a shoot out mode, where you pick one of three players and try to score on the goalie. I was stopped ten times out of ten.
The first thing you’ll notice is the aforementioned camera angle. The tiny player sprites move very slowly. Each player has their own stats that you can find in the manual, but there’s no way of telling which player is what number until you are controlling them, making those stats useless. The B Button passes on offense and switches the active player on defense. Not having a mini-map or any way of seeing where your teammates are on the field make passing a chore.
The A Button shoots on offense and goes for a slide tackle if you’re in the right spot on defense. You can hook and slice your shot if you’re lucky and that’s about the only way to score on the AI goalie thanks to their extremely wide reach. When they shoot on you, your goalie decides not to do anything and if you switch to controlling the goalie, I wish you luck.
When the screen starts moving, the game starts chugging. So many sprites on screen at once leads to a lot of flickering, as well.
When the ball is being dribbled, a very annoying noise is played. The ball is being dribbled all the time, except during a pass or shot.
Aiming shots is a massive chore. The computer likes to head anything that comes its way.
Poor controls are what makes Goal! difficult.
Fun Factor: 0.5
There aren’t really even flashes of enjoyment, it’s a chore to play Goal!
Overall Grade: 0.8
Goal! earns a D. TOSE has delivered better sports games in the past. They’ll get a chance with the sequel in 3 game years and 850 games.