World Cup Soccer (Sniper)
Genre: Sports
Developer: SIMS Co
Publisher: Tengen

In the day of dozens of football titles all competing against each other annually, there were many presentation schools of thought. World Cup Soccer opts for a zoomed in, television-esque, side 3/4 overheard view. The sprites are colorful, large, and well-animated, although this comes at the price of not being able to see much of the pitch at one time. Unfortunately, there is no inclement weather, only one pitch color, no referees, and minimalistic menus with digitized player scans serving as pre and post-match transitions.

World Cup Soccer's soundtrack is fast and melodic, although most of the songs aren't very memorable, and don't stick after a play session. The game's sound effects are adequate and do a nice job of conveying the action through pure expression. There is even a strange buzzer noise, which lets the player know when either team is in the immediate vicinity of the opposition goal-- it might seem strange, but it's a nice feature given the small visibility of the playing view.

Where by this time competing games were experimenting with slower paced pacing movements which more closely resembled the real sport, World Cup Soccer plays at a blistering pace, with no fouls and tackles flying in from all directions. Putting together any semblance of tactical strategies is impossible, rendering the game's oddly impressive array of selectable formations largely moot. This is football with purely arcade sensibilities, all the way!

Sports games are one of the very few genres that objectively, across the board, benefited from the move to polygons, and even the best releases of that era-- Sensible Soccer comes to mind, for instance-- were pretty ping-pongy and didn't represent the real sport very well. This context is important when evaluating World Cup Soccer: it's not a bad game, and there are certainly fans of the drama it can provide, even today. But even next to many of its contemporaries, it's just a bit too hectic.

Sniper's verdict: