Kick Off review - Nintendo Entertainment System
It's the game that made a small software house called Anco an overnight sensation! It's the game that has been hailed as the greatest sports simulation of all time! It's appeared on virtually every system known to man, and has now finally arrived on the Nintendo!
As the name and the screenshots suggest, Kick Off is a football game. But what you can't see is that Kick Off has a different control system to any other football game. In normal soccer games, the ball "sticks" to the foot of the player in possession, but with Kick Off the ball has to be successfully manipulated by dribbling, trapping and shooting - just like real life.
Just about every single rule of soccer has been programmed into Kick Off, including offsides, fouls, penalties and sendings-off!
What the Mean Machines staff thought
Imagineer's previous effort at converting Kick Off to console - Pro Soccer on the SNES - was a travesty of the highest order. Sadly, they have not learned from their previous errors and NES Kick Off suffers from almost exactly the same flaws as its SNES counterpart. The graphics are too small and very blurry, the scrolling is poor and the sound is dire. The ball logic is somewhat odd, with Mr Ball zooming off in whatever random direction it feels like. The players also suffer from a bad case of intangibility as the ball passes straight through their bodies very often. The computer players also have some strange form of telepathy, zooming in front of your men to intercept the ball and run away with it. Try a sliding tackle and watch your player screech halfway down the pitch in an uncontrollable skid! The character selection is also useless, sometimes a player chasing down the ball will turn away as you're given control of someone in a pathetic position. NES Kick Off makes a mockery of the finest soccer game ever and once more leaves the NES without a decent footy game.
It's the utterly brilliant player control and game logic that makes Master System Super Kick Off the superb, highly playable football game it is, and it's the utterly dreadful player control and game logic that makes NES Kick Off the sad, almost unplayable football game it is. I just can't believe what an awful mess the programmers have made of this conversion - especially when you compare it to the Master System game. For a start the player select system is awful, often choosing a player in a completely stupid position. Then there's the control system itself. Slide tackles are hopelessly inaccurate, with players sliding about about like unguided missiles - never in the direction you want them to. Passing is completely hit-and-miss with players not running onto the ball as they're supposed to do, which is immensely frustrating, especially as the computer players swoop in and grab the ball virtually every time. The collision detection is vague and the ball seems to go through players more often than not. Accurate shooting is very tricky due to this, so it's fortunate, then, that the keepers are completely pathetic and jump out of the way of the ball if you manage to actually get it on target. I could go on, but I'm sure you've got a message by now. Whichever way you look at this, either as a conversion of Kick Off, as a football simulation or simply as a game in its own right, Nintendo Kick Off is dreadful in every respect.