Review by Crocomire
"Possibly one of the best ever soccer games"
Wow. This game is well over 8 years old now. But that doesn't mean it's rubbish. Not at all.
Olympic Soccer is based around the 1996 Olympic soccer tournament. It's a very long time ago now but whether the game is based around that or not, it's still brilliant. There are many different modes of play which I will go into detail about here.
This is an arcade-style 32-team contest, played over six rounds including the Final. Choose the country you want to be and beat all your opponents. You can even play alongside a friend and take on the computer which is great fun.
The Olympic tournament is an accurate simulation of the 1996 competition in Atlanta. There are 4 groups each with 4 teams in. Every team in their group play each other and the top 2 of each group go through to the Quarter Finals. Battle your way against the tougher stages of the tournament and take home the Gold with your favorite country's soccer team!
Olympic Soccer also gives you the option to play a season in your own custom-built league of 3-16 teams. It's always fun to play this in multiplayer and see who can finish on top!
Select 2 teams to play a one-off friendly match. It's best to use this mode to practice getting used to the controls of Olympic Soccer and perfecting your skills.
Olympic Soccer is an amazingly fun game. You wouldn't think it by looking at it but it is. You'd think it was a very old and boring soccer game but that's not the case at all. It's once you actually start to play it that you find yourself hooked.
This soccer game is so unrealistic in terms of how the game can be played that it's one of the best reasons to play the game. The main attraction is how you can score some amazing goals. By holding down the Shoot button you can blast the ball up the field in an instant. The ball moves so fast that and travels so far that you can score goals from almost anywhere on the pitch. It truly is brilliant. I have scored goals from goal kicks at the other end, right from the kick off, from inside my own half, from the opponent's goal side touch line, and from some amazing headers and overhead kicks! The fact that you can do all these just makes the game so much fun. It doesn't need to be exactly like real soccer matches to make it enjoyable. Having a bit of something different can be a very good thing.
But this game comes to life even more when played in multiplayer. Whether you are playing against or alongside a friend you can have a brilliant time. Heading for the Olympic Gold with a friend is a great thing and it can get very tense when you are losing by one goal with just moments to go. Scoring some fantastic overhead kick or diving header against your mate is a fantastic feeling and sometimes you will just go crazy when they tap in a fluky goal to put them into the lead.
So you all know how fun the game is, now what about the difficulty? Well depending on which team you pick, will depend on how good your team is. You will notice the poor sides when they run really slow and tire easily but the quality teams pass the ball and do some cool things when the computer controls them. Usually, the big name teams are the best, like Brazil and Germany. So if you choose a weaker team like China then you will find it very tough to beat the better teams in the Olympic tournament. But even if you do be Brazil, you will struggle in the later rounds as only the good teams go through. There's a big enough challenge for everyone but if you think you're good, try beating Olympic with a poor side and putting many good teams in the tournament yourself.
The controls are very easy to get to grips with and after some practice you can start performing some cool moves and skilful techniques. The D-Pad moves your selected player, with or without the ball. When in possession, you shoot by pressing Square. The longer you hold Square, the more powerful your shot will be. When the ball is in the air, you can perform a volley with this button too. Tapping X passes the ball to your nearest team mate in the direction you are facing. Tapping X twice plays a one-two. Tapping X then O performs a chipped return pass from a one-two. Holding X will hit a long pass to your furthest team mate. O enables you to do a chip, and holding O will increase the power of the chip. Overhead kicks can be executed by pressing Triangle. L1 makes you do a back heel and R1 crosses the ball.
From a shot or chip you can apply After Touch using the D-Pad. To swerve the ball you use Left and Right. To give the ball lift (backspin) you hold Down. And to Dip (topspin) the ball you use Up. By using After Touch you can guide the ball to wherever you want it to go. This is especially useful when shooting at goal. You can score some amazing goals with After Touch.
When you are off the ball, X makes you do a slide tackle. Headers are done by pressing O when the ball is above head height, and diving headers are performed when you press O when the ball is between knee and head height. Triangle enables your player to do a bicycle kick. When you receive the ball from a long pass you can control it with the Square button.
It's all very simple and you'll quickly find yourself doing some really neat passes and scoring some amazing goals.
Olympic Soccer is proof that you don't need good graphics to make a good game. Baring in mind that this game came out in 1996 and the game was one of the first soccer games on the PlayStation, they don't look all that bad. On the pitch, everything is bright and colorful. They aren't realistic at all really and the players don't have any faces! The crowd are the worst looking things in the game though. They are fixed, like they are cardboard pressed onto the screen with colors randomly splatted on. They don't move and the ball bounces on them like it's the pitch when it is hit into the crowd. In a way it's kind of funny how the players and crowd look. You have to remember how old the game is when you consider the graphics in Olympic Soccer. But Olympic Soccer is all about the gameplay. And that's what counts.
Olympic Soccer has some great music! When you are on the main menu picking your game mode, or choosing a team, or on the pause menu, some fantastic music will play. Really, I love the music in Olympic Soccer. This is another high point of the game.
The sound effects during the match aren't very realistic either. Not that it really matters. When you kick the ball or head it, the sound it makes just isn't like what it sounds in real life. It makes like a thud sound. But just like the graphics, the sound effects really make no difference.
The commentary is done by British Radio's Alan Green and he's actually quite funny. Some of the things he comes out with aren't very much like what commentators would say in a real soccer match but this adds to the humor behind it. He does often tend to repeat a lot of his comments too much which can get slightly annoying but if you do ever get mad with him you can switch the commentary off.
Play Time/Replayability 7/10
You don't unlock anything for beating the Arcade, Olympic and League challenges so once you've beaten them, that's that. It's always fun to test yourself by taking on the Olympic tournament with a poor side, or by throwing in a load of top teams. You can get a load of laughs out of this game, especially in multiplayer. If you're a soccer fan then you'll really love this. I still have matches in Olympic Soccer with my friends and brother today. I think multiplayer is what you will come back for really. It never gets boring and those moments where you score some amazing goal will always stick in your head every time you play.
Olympic Soccer is actually quite possibly one of the best soccer games I've ever played. If you look at today's soccer games it's all about the realistic graphics and making sure every single team has the correct player names. All I can say is who cares about all that?. Olympic Soccer is really fun. The laughs lie with multiplayer mostly but I don't think there is much to fault.
I have given the game an 8 because, while I have mentioned about graphics not being important, they do play a role in the looks of the game and that does grade it down a little. Also, there isn't a lot to come back for other than the multiplayer or just trying to score some great goals against the computer. So while it is possibly one of the best soccer games ever, I feel Olympic Soccer deserves an 8.
Any soccer fan who doesn't care about graphics or how old a game is should try and find Olympic Soccer and buy it. It will be very cheap now and worth it very much. In fact, any sports fan should try and get a hold of it. It really is a great game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/22/04
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