Soccer Kid

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Soccer Kid
Soccer Kid Coverart.png
Original Amiga cover art by Tim James
Developer(s)Krisalis Software[a]
Publisher(s)
Producer(s)Dave Colledge
James Hawkins
Designer(s)Matt Furniss
Neil Adamson
Nigel Little
Programmer(s)Peter Harrap
Shaun Hollingworth
Artist(s)Darren Hebden
Les Newstead
Mark Ponte
Writer(s)Gary Penn
Composer(s)Matt Furniss
Platform(s)
Release
Genre(s)Platform
Mode(s)Single-player

Soccer Kid[b] is a 1993 side-scrolling platform video game originally developed and published by Krisalis Software in Europe for the Amiga microcomputer. In the game, players assume the role of the titular main protagonist who travels across several countries around the world in order to repair the World Cup by retrieving pieces that were scattered by the alien pirate Scab, the main antagonist who failed to steal and add it to his trophy collection in a robbery attempt. Its gameplay mainly consists of platforming and exploration elements, with a main single-button or two-button configuration, depending on the controls setup.

Conceived by Dean Lester, Soccer Kid was created by most of the same team who previously worked on the popular Manchester United franchise at Krisalis Software and uses the same game engine as with Arabian Nights, another title made by the developer. After making multiple association football titles, the team experimented with creating a project that fused both football and platform game elements in 1992, developing a physics engine dedicated to the soccer ball that proved to be successful internally. Initially released for the Amiga platform, the title was later ported to other home computers and consoles including the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Amiga CD32, Atari Jaguar, Game Boy Advance, MS-DOS, PlayStation and Super Nintendo Entertainment System, each one featuring several changes and additions compared to the original version. Conversions for both the Atari Lynx and Atari ST were also in development but never released.[2][3]

Since its original release on the Amiga, Soccer Kid garnered positive reception from critics who praised multiple aspects such as the presentation, visuals, original gameplay concept and replay value, while some felt divided in regards to the difficulty and sound design, with others criticized some of the repetitive set pieces later in the game. The Super Nintendo version received a more mixed reception from reviewers who felt very divided with the graphics, sound design and gameplay. The DOS conversion, although mixed, got a critical response similar to the original Amiga version for its visuals, sound and gameplay. The CD32 port was very well-received by critics and the 3DO port got mostly positive reviews. The Jaguar port was received with mixed opinions from reviewers who criticized and felt that it did not improve the graphics and audio from the 16-bit versions, while the Game Boy Advance release was received with a more warm reception.

Gameplay[edit]

Screenshot from the original Amiga version, showcasing the titular character in London.

Soccer Kid is a platform game where players take control of the titular character travelling across the world in order to retrieve and restore the world cup from the clutches of the alien pirate Scab, who plans to add it to his ever-growing collection. By pressing different buttons at the title screen, the player can change the colours of their character's clothes in order to represent their favorite team. Each country has three levels that the player must navigate through.

The player character can perform various types of soccer moves such as runs, shots, bicycle kicks, headers and other sorts of moves to either advance in the level, get to hard-to-reach areas or eliminate enemies by using his soccer ball as the main tool. The player starts out with two hearts but by opening random chests scattered throughout the game, they can get more hearts. At the end of each third level, the player must fight a boss, based on stereotypical people associated with their respective country. However, the player must always explore each level to find soccer cards, which are crucial to getting the cup at the end of the game.

Once a country is completed and all the cards in that country are collected, Soccer Kid is transported to a bonus level where he must collect all the food against limited time in order for a piece of the cup to be obtainable. If all heart pieces are lost, the player character is respawned on a determined checkpoint after losing a life and once all lives are lost, the game is over, though there is an option of continuing. Depending on the version being played, progress is saved differently.

Synopsis[edit]

Soccer Kid begins when the titular main character is waiting for the World Cup to start. However, the alien pirate Scab, the main antagonist of the story, is scanning for trophies to add to his collection and starts beaming up the World Cup using his spaceship. While he beams the trophy into space, he collides with a satellite, blowing the Cup into five pieces that fall in random places around the world. It is up to Soccer Kid to recover the pieces of the World Cup, which are located in England, Italy, Russia, Japan, and the United States, in their respective order.

Development[edit]

Soccer Kid was conceived on Amiga by most of the original Manchester United team and shares the same game engine as with Krisalis' own Arabian Nights.

Soccer Kid was created by most of the same personnel who worked on the Manchester United series including programmer Peter Harrap, who co-wrote the title alongside Nigel Little, artist Neil Adamson and composer Matt Furniss, among other team members that shared multiple roles during its development process, while the overall concept was conceived by Dean Lester, in addition to also sharing the same game engine as with Arabian Nights, another platform game by Krisalis.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Development of the project began in February 1992, when Krisalis co-founder Tony Kavanagh announced their plans for it early in the year and the team wanted to experiment in making a title that mixed football and platforming elements after developing several association football titles.[4][5][6][9][11] Nigel stated that in order to assure such project would be playable, the team wrote a primitive physics engine early in its development and implemented real-life rules for the ball to react realistically, which would eventually prove to be feasible after multiple testing phases.[4][6][8]

Soccer Kid was previewed across several video game magazines early in development under the title Football Kid, featuring different visuals compared with the final release, which were improved from its original incarnation, while some publications compared it with Sonic the Hedgehog due to its gameplay structure and console-style presentation.[6][10][12][13] The game runs at 50 frames per second, while sprites were made as 64x64 pixel objects.[9] It was originally intended to be released in November 1992 but due to the interest in porting the title to home consoles, the title was moved to next year and faced constant delays prior to its eventual launch.[1][4][5][6][7][8][12][10][13] The name of the project was also changed in order to appeal to consumers when porting across other platforms.[10]

Release[edit]

Soccer Kid was first showcased to attendees of Spring ECTS '93 and it was first released for the Amiga in Europe in June 1993, featuring support with the Amiga 1200 for enhanced visuals, while almost all future conversions of the game were developed internally at Krisalis Software and each one features several changes and additions when compared with the original Amiga version.[1][4][11][14][15] The first console port to be released was the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, which was first released in Japan by Yanoman Corporation before being published on western regions by Ocean Software in 1994, where it is known under multiple names such as The Adventures of Kid Kleets in North America and L'École des champions in France respectively, which modifies the player character's sprites in order to resemble the main character from Moero! Top Striker.[15][16][17][18] During the same year, it was ported to MS-DOS and only released in western regions.

An Amiga CD32 was also developed and published by Krisalis in 1994 featuring mostly the same improved visuals when playing on Amiga 1200, a brand new level that was cut from the original version due to space constrains, as well as a new animated opening sequence created by a Japanese animation studio.[14][19] A 3DO port developed by Team17 was first released in North America on 2 May 1994 and later in Japan under the name Great Soccer Kid on 9 December of the same year by Studio 3DO, featuring redrawn artwork and sporting a different GUI.[20] A port of Soccer Kid for the Atari Jaguar was announced in early 1994 after Krisalis was signed to be a third-party developer by Atari Corporation for the system in September 1993,[21][22][23][24][25][26] which was originally intended to be published by Ocean on a scheduled Q2 1995 release date,[27][28][29][30][31] however it was never released during the official life span of the Jaguar on the market and went almost unreleased after Atari discontinued the system, until it was eventually picked up for release on 7 February, 2000 by independent developer and publisher Songbird Productions.[32][33] This version of the game features similar visuals to those of the original Amiga version, albeit with an improved color palette and a new UI.

A Windows Mobile conversion of Soccer Kid was released worldwide on 4 April, 2002. Several months later, the game was converted to the Game Boy Advance and published by Telegames after being showcased to the public at E3 2002, featuring enhanced visual effects but a lower resolution display.[34][35] Krisalis later ported the GBA version to PlayStation and was only released in Europe by Telegames on 13 December, 2003, becoming both the last version of the game to be officially released and the final version developed by the original team.[36] A version of Soccer Kid for the Atari ST was being developed by Krisalis and was also previewed under its earlier title, Football Kid, by ST Review magazine on their September 1992 issue, however it never released on the platform for unknown reasons.[2] Likewise, an Atari Lynx conversion of the game was also planned to be published by Telegames, but it was never released as well.[3]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Scores
Amiga SNES MS-DOS CD32 3DO Jaguar GBA
GameRankings N/A 56.50%[37] N/A N/A 60%[38] N/A 57.50%[39]
Review scores
Publication Scores
Amiga SNES MS-DOS CD32 3DO Jaguar GBA
3DO Magazine N/A N/A N/A N/A 3/5 stars[40] N/A N/A
AllGame N/A N/A N/A N/A 4/5 stars[41] 2.5/5 stars[42] 3.5/5 stars[43]
Amiga Action 93%[44] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Amiga CD32 Gamer N/A N/A N/A 88%[45] N/A N/A N/A
Amiga Computing 94%[46] N/A N/A 88%[47] N/A N/A N/A
Amiga Format 93%[48]
(A1200) 93%[49]
N/A N/A 93%[50] N/A N/A N/A
Amiga Games 76%[51] N/A N/A 82%[52] N/A N/A N/A
Amiga Joker 85[53]
(A1200) 85%[54]
N/A N/A 85%[55] N/A N/A N/A
Amiga Mania 76%[56] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Amiga Power 88%[57]
(A1200) 85%[58]
N/A N/A 80%[59] N/A N/A N/A
AUI (A1200) 78%[60] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
The Atari Times N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 65%[61] N/A
ACAR 93%[62] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Consoles + N/A 82%[17] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
CU Amiga 93%[63] N/A N/A 91%[64] N/A N/A N/A
Electronic Gaming Monthly N/A N/A N/A N/A 31 / 50[65] N/A N/A
GamePro N/A N/A N/A N/A 16.5 / 20[66] N/A N/A
Génération 4 N/A N/A N/A 80%[67] N/A N/A N/A
IGN N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 7.0 / 10[68]
Mega Fun N/A 64%[69] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Micromanía N/A 79%[70] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Next Generation N/A N/A N/A N/A 2/5 stars[71] N/A N/A
Nintendo Power N/A 11.3 / 20[72] N/A N/A N/A N/A 2.9/5 stars[73]
The One for Amiga Games 93%[74] N/A N/A 93%[75] N/A N/A N/A
PC Games N/A N/A 70%[76] N/A N/A N/A N/A
PC Joker N/A N/A 73%[77] N/A N/A N/A N/A
PC Player N/A N/A 69 / 100[78] N/A N/A N/A N/A
Play Time N/A 58%[79] 73%[80] N/A N/A N/A N/A
Power Play 84%[81] N/A 83%[82] N/A N/A N/A N/A
Super Power N/A 81 / 100[18] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Video Games N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 2/5 stars[83] N/A
VideoGames N/A N/A N/A N/A 9 / 10[84] N/A N/A
Awards
Publication(s) Award(s)
Amiga Joker (1994) #2 Best Dexterity Game in 1993[85]

Amiga Power gave the Amiga version a score of 88% with a review by Stuart Campbell. He criticized the player character's moves as being too "fiddly": "you have to stop, line up your shot, get into trick shot mode and then actually do it. This all looks great and stylish and everything, but it can really slow the pace of the game down on occasion - sometimes when you're zipping along, you'd give anything just to be able to jump on a baddie's head and sort him out then-and-there without a lot of hanging around." However, he praised the graphics and particularly the "fearsome" difficulty, saying it gave the game good value for money. He compared the game to the acclaimed Arabian Nights, saying it was even better due to the superior control and greater focus on platform action.[57]

The 3DO version received a 6.2 out of 10 from Electronic Gaming Monthly. They praised the "technique" and "excellent graphics", but said the sound effects were lacking.[65] GamePro gave it a wholly positive review, citing smooth controls, strong sound effects, good variety of musical tracks, and exceptional graphics.[66]

Reviewing the 3DO version, AllGame's Shawn Sackenheim wrote that Soccer Kid is "an impressive action/platformer that manages to be just different enough to warrant investigation."[41]

Next Generation reviewed the 3DO version of the game, rating it two stars out of five, and stated that "Hopefully, 3DO can evolve past this type of game faster than the systems of yesterday."[71]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ported to 3DO by Team17
  2. ^ Also known as The Adventures of Kid Kleets in North America and L'École des champions in France on the SNES, Soccer Kid: Feets of Fury!! in North America on MS-DOS and Great Soccer Kid (Japanese: グレートサッカーキッド, Hepburn: Gurēto Sakkā Kiddo) in Japan on the 3DO.

References[edit]

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