July 01, 1998

Article at GameSpot

International Superstar Soccer review (Game Boy)

Konami's International Superstar Soccer series has been the pinnacle of soccer excellence on any other console it has graced, so the GB conversion arrives with plenty of high hopes attached. Although once again the game boasts Carlos Valderamma as spokesperson, there is no official FIFA or MLS license, and therefore the teams are once again made up of players with fake names, although based on real-life counterparts. Unfortunately, unlike the previous incarnations on other consoles, the Game Boy doesn't have the power to produce characters who look distinct and detailed, so the relation to real-life stars is somewhat lost in this conversion. The lack of a license also means only international teams can be selected, and not club sides. Technically, there's nothing to shout about. No doubt hindered by the fact that the game is backwards-compatible with the original Game Boy, it doesn't get a chance to use much of the GBC's extra power. Simple, small sprites move choppily around the field using an absolute minimum of colors, as well as generic sound effects and the most annoying music ever (music, in a soccer game?). However, the game doesn't play as badly as it looks. Sure, the field is small and cramped, and the control can be slow at times, but it does grow on you. The simplistic controls (one button to pass, one to shoot) mean there's no space for fancy tricks (though you can do a neat flick with the ball), so the emphasis is on passing around the opponent's defense. Also, passes are directed slightly forward of the player, which means they can act almost like through passes. However, the play is generally sluggish, and getting from one end of the field to the other takes some doing. Equally frustrating is the directional control, which can be slow, so avoiding oncoming defenders is harder than it looks. This game isn't the best of soccer games, but unfortunately it's the best of its genre out on the Game Boy. It's too bad Konami couldn't sink its efforts into producing a Game Boy Color-only game with smoother gameplay, better graphics, and tighter control, because that's what is preventing this game from being great. As of right now, it's only an average title that most of you should avoid unless you must get your soccer fix.--Ravi Hiranand--Copyright © 1998 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited. -- GameSpot Review