Release Date: October 1987
It’s time for Sega’s rendition of Soccer, two full years after the NES received theirs. Have two years of console game development caused a better game?
First thing that I can say is that the graphics have improved significantly over these two years. So far, I think the Master System has a better capability in terms of colors and sprite detail than the NES is capable of. The music is stuff we’ve heard before. The national anthems are all identifiable, the in game music is a little too fast paced for my taste. You can choose from Argentina, Brazil, West Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, USA, and Japan. The USA is one of the worst teams, according to the instruction manual.
The gameplay is very similar to Soccer. You control a player with the ball and he dribbles the ball a bit and runs to it in one of eight directions. What you can do in Great Soccer that makes me happy is a slide tackle. In fact, any time you are without the ball and run to an opposing player who possesses the ball, you slide tackle the ball away! That’s satisfying. Passing involves choosing who you want to pass to with the d-pad and then pressing Button 2 to make the pass. This can be difficult to be precise with, as you probably want to pass when you’re being chased, which means you don’t want to stop to choose your target.
When you get close to the goal, an arrow appears to guide where you will shoot when you press Button 1. The goalie will likely get in the way, but if not, it’s a GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!! All the throw ins, corner kicks, and goal kicks are here, but I didn’t experience them in two games.
There’s also a penalty kick mode, where you do a five on five shootout. Depending on the direction you press and if you press Button 1, you can kick in one of 10 different areas. The same is true when you’re in the goal and you’re trying to block the shots. Probably more fun two player than against the computer, because I couldn’t stop their kicks.
The colors and sprite graphics are good, but the field scrolls when you get to the edges and I don’t like that.
They put in national anthems for all eight countries, which is a nice detail. Everything else is kind of high pitched and fast, but not technically poor.
On the plus side, it has slide tackling. On the negative side, passing is a chore. Better than average, though.
You’ve got four different difficulties based on your opponents. Four more based on the team you pick. When you can smoke everyone with Japan, you’ve mastered this one.
Fun Factor: 2.0
It’s not amazing, but it’s certainly good enough for a sports game in the Great Sports line. Better than all the other sports titles on the Master System.
Overall Grade: 2.4
Great Soccer gets an C+. Well, it’s certainly not great, but this soccer could be defined as slightly above average.