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If there is anyone who can be accused of being overfriendly, it’s our own lovely Emlyn. “He’s a weasel” chirped one member of staff. “He’s chubby and cuddly” said another. “He’s a squeaky, friendly mouse” threw in a member of Britain’s yoof.

Whatever you call him, the plain and simple fact is that not many people like Emlyn. Even Princess Anne hates him. Now let’s not jump to conclusions. Just because a game is endorsed by El Wimpo doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to be crap. Far from it. Emlyn Hughes International Soccer is better than any other Speccy footy game that has appeared to date, even Matchday 2, daddy of ’em all.

What sets EHIS apart from the rest are the HUGE amount of options and the advanced control system. First things first, the options. There is quite a large amount of messing about and tweaking you can do to the game before you actually play it.

This is done via four pull down menus that between them carry more than 50 options that range from the normal things like Load and Save, as well as thigs like select a team to play and start up a cup, or season or a league. Ooooooh!

The game options let you change the basic aspects of the game itself. You can choose whether to watch the computer playing against itself, should it get the chance and whether or not to play extra time. There are 10 skill levels to choose from, as well as the chance to play practice mode, which results in all the opposing players not doing anything at all. You can also determine the number of kick directions selectable from 1 (forward kicking only), 3 (forward and 45 degrees either side) and 5 (forward, 20 and 70 degrees either side). You can choose backheel on/off and whether to have the goalie under computer control.

The teams are made of lots of individual players (Nah, really Tone? – AS), each with lots of different stats, governing how fast the character is on field, and his respective attacking, devensive and midfielding skills, all of which can be altered. Load and Save team just save stats and names of the players. Load and Save all saves all details including things like whether you are in the middle of a cup league or season. as well as all scores.

Right, that’s the boring bit over with, here comes the fun. The most important and really hooking factor of the game is that the match is accurate and includes all rules apart from offside. All free kiks, penalties, throw ins and corners are there, and they need to be judging by the accuracy of the gameplay. Everything is pixel perfect. The man currently under your control is highlighted by a halo over his head. Game control is where the game really comes into its own. You can do almost anything in Emlyn Hughes International Soccer (apart from throw coins and punch supporters when you lose) and all from simple joystick in a certain direction, and the man under your control will run in that direction. Continue to hold the joystick in that direction and the man will accelerate until he reaches top speed. Fire acts like a sort of clutch. Hold down Fire and the man continues moving in the same direction if you have the ball. If you don’t have the ball he will either do a sliding tackle, a lunge ore a diving header, depending on the vertical positioning of the mall. If you have the ball, then what you do with the joystick determines the type of the shot. If you push the joystick in the opposite direction to the way the player is facing, then the shot will be a lob. Push the joystick in the opposite direction to the way the player is facing, then the shot will be a lob. Push the joystick in the direction he’s running, and it’ll go along the floor. The length of time you hold down the button selects how hard the shot will be, from 28 different strengths. Pushing the joystick left or right from the direction the player is moving decides which direction the ball will go. Can’t be bad.

Graphics are fab, brilliant and better. All of the characters are smallish, to be sure, but detail and animation is great. All the little men run around smoothly and some of the little animations are really cute. Like the three step goal kick, and the little triumphant wave after scoring a goal. Sliding tackles and diving headers are all catered for in their own sweet way.

Emlyn Hughes International Soccer is the best footy game I’ve ever played, well, on the Speccy anyway, forget the endorsement, it’s pretty darn good, or as the great Liver puddy himself would say, “It’s great”.




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