Super Sidekicks

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Super Sidekicks
Super Sidekicks art cover.jpg
art cover
Platform(s)Arcade, Neo Geo
Genre(s)Sports Game
Mode(s)Up to 2 players simultaneously
Arcade systemNeo Geo (54 Mbit cartridge)

Super Sidekicks is a series of soccer video games made by SNK for its console, the Neo-Geo.

Original Super Sidekicks[edit]

Published in 1993, the original Super Sidekicks (known as Tokuten Ou, "Goal-Scoring King" in Japan) was SNK's first soccer video game. It features 12 teams divided into two groups which compete for the "SNK Cup" (the main differences between teams is their formations on the field):

The players' team plays against all the others in their group, then it goes into an elimination tournament's semifinals and then the final to win the cup. There was also a hidden feature in the game, which wasn't documented, and affects a single player game. During a free kick for the CPU if the player has tapped button A for player two, the CPU performs a short-shot, while pressing the button A performs a longer kick.

One noted mistake was that Spain's kit would actually resemble Portugal's. Portugal would not be in the game until Super Sidekicks 3.

On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the game a 25 out of 40.[1] The game was ported to the Nintendo Switch in 2017 by Hamster Corporation.[2]

Super Sidekicks 2: The World Championship[edit]

Published in 1994 (Japanese title: Tokuten Ou 2 - Real Fight Football), the sequel corrected most of the flaws in the original's design, including the ability to switch players' control during the game, a smaller goal, and no more long shots taken (in Super Sidekicks 1 the simple long shot was sometimes too long, leading into a throw-in situation). It increased the number of teams to 48 and divided them into 6 geographical "regions" (new teams underlined):

Upon starting the game, the player goes into a "Regional Qualifying Round Final" against another team from the same region. After beating it, the player's team goes into the World (Cup) Tournament, in which they are grouped with three other countries in a round-robin. After winning against all of them, the team enters an elimination tournament: the quarterfinals, semifinals, and the final for the World Cup. This type of tournament thus is more reminiscent of the real-life World Cup. If a match ends in a draw, the player has the option of replaying a full game, going to the penalty kick tiebreaker, or playing a sudden death (golden goal) game (the golden goal feature was not present in the original Super Sidekicks); however, the arcade version requires an extra credit for these options.

All subsequent Super Sidekicks games followed the same design and gameplay as Super Sidekicks 2.

Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game an 8 out of 10, applauding its control, intense action, sound effects, and overall arcade game quality.[3] They later ranked it number 38 in the 1995 EGM Hot 50.[4]

Super Sidekicks 3: The Next Glory[edit]

Published in 1995 (Japanese title: Tokuten Ou 3 - Eikoue no Michi, "Goal-Scoring King 3: Path to the Glory"), the third game features 64 national teams divided into 8 regions:

  • Europe A: Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Norway, England, Turkey, Portugal, Poland
  • Europe B: Germany, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Denmark, Wales, Czech Republic
  • Europe C: France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Russia, Greece, Austria, Hungary, Finland
  • Africa: Nigeria, Morocco, Cameroon, Egypt, South Africa, Zambia, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea
  • Americas: United States, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Puerto Rico (replaced Honduras), Panama
  • South America: Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, Chile (replaces Paraguay)
  • Asia A: Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Iran, Vietnam, Iraq, Singapore
  • Asia B: Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan, U. A. E., Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Malaysia

The World Tournament mode is the same as Super Sidekicks 2, above.

The new features in this game include naming the player scoring goals for his team and keeping score of how many goals he scores during his team's use by the player. Alongside the "Top Teams" ranking which serves as a high score table for teams, there is a "Top Scorer" table for individual players. The name and use of scoring players is random.

The second new feature include regional tournaments, in which a team (from any region) can enter a tournament within its own region or other regions. This is good for those players who like a particular team but don't want to be facing the same opponents every time, as they would if they played the World tournament. Championships include World Tournament (FIFA World Cup), Europe Tournament (UEFA European Football Championship), South America Tournament (Copa América), Americas Tournament (CONCACAF Gold Cup), Africa Tournament (African Cup of Nations), and Asia Tournament (AFC Asian Cup).

The game was re-released three years later under the name Neo Geo Cup '98: The Road to the Victory. In order to mirror the 1998 FIFA World Cup, some player names, kits and teams were changed:

  • Croatia replaced Poland
  • Scotland replaced Wales
  • Yugoslavia replaced Finland
  • Tunisia replaced Guinea
  • Jamaica replaced Panama
  • Paraguay returned and replaced Bolivia

However, the game played and looked exactly like the original Super Sidekicks 3. Even the goal animations remained unchanged.

Once again, SNK failed to get official FIFA license and featured fake names. However, some reflect actual players. Roul represents Raúl of Spain, Dahl represents Martin Dahlin of Sweden, and Klinger represents Jürgen Klinsmann of Germany.

In Neo Geo Cup 98, teams face teams of their group in the 1998 qualification instead of regions in the game. For example, if the player selects Spain, they play against Yugoslavia. However, some are inaccurate. For example, if the player picks Brazil, they play against Uruguay before the World Tournament. But Brazil qualifies automatically.

The game was also re-released as a part of SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 on PS2, PSP and Wii.

The two sports reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly both gave the Neo Geo version an 8 out of 10. They praised the graphics, sound, and particularly the easy playability.[5] GamePro called it "a fun, fast-paced game that will appeal to fans and nonfans alike." They particularly praised the graphics and the "quick and intuitive" control interface.[6] Maximum gave the Neo Geo CD version two out of five stars, saying it suffers from "wooden" gameplay and inaccurate ball physics.[7]

Next Generation reviewed the Neo-Geo version of the game, rating it two stars out of five, and stated that "If there were no other soccer games out there, this one would probably be considered great, but..."[8]

The Ultimate 11: SNK Football Championship[edit]

Published in 1996 (Japanese title: Tokuten Ou - Honoo no Libero, "Goal-Scoring King: The Flaming Sweeper") Despite the international title, it is still considered the fourth game in the Super Sidekicks series. It features 80 national teams divided into 8 regions:

  • Europe A: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Wales, France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland (as North Ireland), Iceland
  • Europe B: Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Holland, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Croatia
  • Europe C: Bulgaria, Russia, Turkey, Czech Republic, Romania, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Israel
  • Africa: Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia, Côte d'Ivoire, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Algeria
  • Americas/Caribbean Sea: United States, Canada, El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Honduras
  • South America: Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay (returns from Super Sidekicks 2), Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela
  • Asia/Oceania A: Saudi Arabia, India, Iraq, U. A. E., Iran, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Uzbekistan
  • Asia/Oceania B: Australia, China, Taiwan, Thailand, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore

The players scoring the goals are still named, but individual scores are no longer kept. The regional tournaments have been eliminated and replaced with alternate mode the SNK Football Championship, which is the game's namesake, an elimination tournament in which the player can select any one opponent from any region to play. The last region played is the deciding match. Good player performance opens up a match again a hidden boss team called the SNK Superstars, which features characters from SNK's fighting games as players.

Teams now have a charge bar (similar to the one in fighting games), which is charged depending on how long the player keeps the ball under their team's control. When the bar is fully charged and flashing, if a player is near the goal, they can take a shot that is virtually unblockable, depending on the opposing team. Teams are "ranked" from 1 to 80, mirroring their real-life counterparts.

The Ultimate 11 was one of the few Neo-Geo games to feature a corporate sponsor: Akai.


  1. ^ NEO GEO GAMES CROSS REVIEW: 得点王. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.332. Pg.26. 28 April 1995.
  2. ^ "Nintendo Website Game Profile Page"
  3. ^ "Review Crew: Super Sidekicks 2". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (60): 40. July 1994.
  4. ^ "The EGM Hot 50". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (69): 44–48. April 1995.
  5. ^ "The Next Glory: Super Sidekicks 3 (Neo Geo) by SNK". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (70): 118. May 1995.
  6. ^ "Super Sidekicks Is a Soccer Sensation". GamePro. IDG (82): 71. July 1995.
  7. ^ "Super Sidekicks 3". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (1): 157. October 1995.
  8. ^ "Finals". Next Generation. No. 8. Imagine Media. August 1995. p. 72.

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