SEGA Worldwide Soccer ’97

SEGA Worldwide Soccer ’97
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Game Name: SEGA Worldwide Soccer '97
Media: 1 CD-ROM
Publisher(s): SEGA
Developer(s): SEGA Sports
Genre(s): Sport
Release Date: October 1996
Serial Number: MK81112-50
Region: PAL

SEGA Worldwide Soccer '97 ScreenshotAfter wiping out the dust from my Saturn some time ago, the one of the very first games I played was SWS 97′ which I spent hours with years before. While playing it now I realised I didn’t enjoy a soccer game that much for a long time despite playing PES and FIFA games on my PS2 for past couple of years. This proves that SWS 97′ is at least a decent game even when compared to the newest soccer sims.

The game features the following game modes: exhibiton match, World League, Worldwide Cup (with qualifiers), Cup Tournament and P.K. Shoot out, all of them I assume are pretty self-explainatory.
You can choose from 48 national teams, no clubs here, if you miss that check out the sequel, SWS 98′ Club Editon.

SWS 97′ is more an arcade title than a simulation. The players really like volleys so you’ll see a lot of bicycle-kicks, scissor-kicks and other first-touch moves. The ball curves even more than in FIFA series which is quite an achievement. There are just two feint moves- stepover/sidestep and a rainbow, the second one is quite tricky to do but if you manage to make a rainbow shot it looks pretty cool.

SEGA Worldwide Soccer '97 ScreenshotThe pace of the game is rather average, not slow but also not that fast. It’s hard to maintain a possesion, there’re a lot of interceps, it’s not that easy to get away from defenders, sometimes you’ll just have to shoot from distance to have any chance to score (if you’re lucky you’ll score from a half-line… with goalkeeper!). You can score in various ways though the easiest and the most common one is just go head-to-head with a keeper and shoot, the ball with go through his body and fall into the net (or not lol).

The A.I. is not that bad, at the begining it’ll be hard to win but with some practice even the hardest level won’t be that challenging, you’ll probably outshoot the opponents though it doesn’t mean you won’t end up with a goalless draw. The CPU scores most goals with a header or with some suprise shots but it’s always able to score once in a while and really, in some games that’s a problem.

Before starting a match you should always check your strategy. There are quite a lot of formations available (including my favorite 2-3-5), some tactics like “offensive” or “counter attack” (and they really have an impact on your players behavior on the pitch). There are also 3 tactics you can enable during the match: offside trap, man-to-man and pressing, all of them being quite useful.

SEGA Worldwide Soccer '97 ScreenshotOf course the gameplay has it’s flaws. The keepers are sometimes dumb especially during the centers into penalty box but on the other hand if they were better it would be really hard to score any goal and they still make some nice saves. I also found that controling the keeper works better in this game than in many other soccer sims. AI, as I mentioned, should be a little more agressive, the opposing players rarely use dash to run away from your defenders.

SWS is great as a multiplayer game (up to 4 players). Thanks to quite simple controls you can always enjoy it with someone who plays it for the first time. My brother rarely plays games but we can still have some exciting matches while playing together.

Graphics aren’t that impressive but they deserve a strong “7/10”. The player animation is pretty good, stadiums (3 kinds) are well-done and the are no slowdowns during the game. Also I find the game menus, tables etc. the best I’ve seen in any soccer game.

SEGA Worldwide Soccer '97 ScreenshotGary Bloom does a pretty nice job as a commentator even though it gets repetitive pretty fast but despite this, it’s decent. The lines rarely don’t match the situation on the pitch. Thanks to team name calling the match doesn’t sound like a play beetwen an anonymous teams (like it does in PES or FIFA series).
The music in menus is ok, it suits the soccer atmosphere, there’s also an option to enable some BGM’s during the game instead of commentary (some average rock tunes). You can try it if you’re getting bored with Gary.

Things that are quite important in soccer games are all those little details that seem to don’t matter but in fact they really add a lot. Like short and funny movies showed on the stadium’s big screen after you score a goal and after the last whistle.
The crowd makes a different noise depending who’s the home team (asian teams have different chants than american one’s), lot of various stats, you can check how many intercepts the player made or how many shots a team took during the whole tournament, the “Best 11” and a MVP are chosen after completing the season in World League and so on.
There’s also a player edit mode where you can change the names into original ones (no license here but the team kits are just like they looked like in 96′).

So, SWS 97′ is a definite must buy for every soccer fan that owns a Saturn. It’ll bring you hours of great and addicting (the “one last match” syndrome) gameplay. The game’s really cheap now so you just can’t have it on your shelf.

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