Super Sidekicks 2

Neo Geo

Review by Matt Paprocki

SNK

Sports

Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

 

Just short of doubling the meg count from the original, Super Sidekicks 2 changes everything from the original. It's slightly toned down, though this is obviously meant as an arcade game. There are some annoying AI quirks, and the graphics engine is too close to the field, but this is still one great soccer title.

supersidekicks21.jpg (53873 bytes)Changing the viewpoint from slightly overhead to a tilted view, this series now takes on a better TV-styled presentation. The music has been cut (except for the menus), giving the game a more authentic "being there" style, complete with multiple crowd chants. This all revolves around an amazing graphics engine that really pushes the Geo hardware.

The depth of the field, achieved through amazing parallax, is gorgeous. The sprites look digitized, with flawless animation (hair moves as they run), and each action transitions into the next smoothly. It's perfect for a demonstration to encourage people to play, until they do and figure out it's impossible to see teammates downfield.

This cramped viewpoint is the games biggest issue, putting no more than a few players on screen at any time. Passing is practically automatic to compensate. Simply aim in a direction and hit the button. Someone will be there. Sports purists will find this to make the game useless; non-fans will love the accessibility. Fans of the original will be satisfied simply because they finally switch players when they want.

Scoring relies mostly on rebounds, or sheer dumb luck. Blasting a shot into the keeper will knock him down, leaving the net wide open for a second. It's just a matter of getting a second shot. This will lead to ridiculously high scoring games, solidifying the games arcade games nature if someone was still thinking otherwise.

There is another way to shoot, a behind-the-player view that randomly pops up depending on the position of the player trying to shoot. Here, a small cursor aims, and the opposing player can make a dive with their goalkeeper. It's brief, but tense.

There are also AI gaffes, where the player's teammates will stand staring at a ball as it sits right in front of them. It's not common, yet it occurs enough to turn players into shouting maniacs as they attempt to knock some sense into the seemingly dead player. The player dribbling moves slower than everyone, giving the opposing team a solid advantage when on defense. Fouls are loosely called, and usually only for serious injury.

Super Sidekicks would continue to improve, culminating in the super-rare Super Sidekicks 4. Fans of the original will have an adjustment period here to become used to the new mechanics. It's not a radical departure, but a significant one.

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Last updated: Saturday, September 10, 2005 01:13 AM