Thursday, April 26, 2012

Game of the Day - Tecmo World Cup Millennium

Okay, let's get one thing straight - I'm a complete sports fanatic, but not so much for soccer.  Growing up in the good ol' USA in the 70s wasn't really conducive to nurturing a love of the world's sport.  But playing every other sport you can imagine then (and now) is how I spent most of my free time.

As such, I am somewhat disappointed by the dearth of great arcade sports games.  Other than a smattering of NBA Jams, NFL Blitzes, Hat Tricks and Golden Tee Golfs, there just isn't a lot of great stuff out there (especially quasi-simulations).  Enter Tecmo WCM.

TWCM is a great soccer game.  And there are a lot of arcade soccer games.   Because it is the world's game and a lot of programming comes from Europe and Asia, many soccer arcade games exist.  But I think TWCM stands out among the top couple of best.

It is a 3D game with a generally fixed perspective.  You control the players with a joystick and 3 buttons.  Low pass/shot, High pass/shot and a charged/super shot that shows a gauge filling up for a stronger shot as you hold down the 3rd button.  Of course, the longer you hold it down, the more likely it is that a defender will screw with you before you get the shot off.

You choose a country to play as and enter the World Cup.  Each country has a default formation associated with it.  Then, it's off to the match.  And very simply, if you keep winning, you keep playing.

Most of the traditional soccer elements are included: Fouls, throw-ins, goal kicks, corner kicks, etc.  But the game does a great job of keeping the action going - moving it along after each infraction.  The gameplay itself is fast and furious - much more so than an actual soccer match - so it keeps you on the edge of your seat (or foot) the whole time.  A nice extra is that you can choose your overall strategy by pressing the start button during play.  It will call up strategies of normal, offensive, defensive and others that you can choose with the joystick.  Your team then plays more according to that strategy.  Your current strategy is always displayed in the lower part of the screen.

TWCM does many things well:  The graphics are very attractive and serve the action well.
The running/passing are very smooth and you can feel like you've really made some nice passes and kicks.  To add to your play/strategy there is a heads-up display of the whole field superimposed on the bottom of the screen with colored dots to let you know where all the players currently are.

The AI is great also.  The goalies play well BUT they are not impenetrable.  The defense plays you well, but it's not so difficult as to prevent you from executing your offense with skill.  All around, it's just a great game to play.

Lastly, since I'm a stat freak, I'll mention that in addition to the score of the game, you also are separately awarded points throughout the game for skilled things that you do.  Points for good passes, shots, centering passes, defensive plays and other stuff are given to you so you can have an overall rating at the end of the game of how you played separate from the final score.

Today, there are tons of great console sports games - NBA 2K series, Madden, FIFA, etc.  But for down and dirty arcade play, great sports games are sparse.  Among that sparse crowd, Tecmo World Cup Millennium stands tall.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you actually reviewed this game without bashing soccer or saying that people who like soccer are bla bla bla, etc. It's so refreshing.