Monday, 1 September 2014

Goal! (NES review)

Developer: TOSE
Publisher: Jaleco
Released: 1988

Goal! is a soccer / football game published by Jaleco who are perhaps best known for their Bases Loaded series on the NES.


As you start the game the first thing you'll notice is the multitude of options available. The main mode on offer is World Cup which, as you would expect, features national teams. There's also Tournament mode (competition between local American teams), Shoot (a 2 vs 3 set-piece competition), and Vs. Mode (2 players). The nice touch about the latter is that 2 players can play against each other, or on the same team! The game adopts a strange overhead / isometric viewpoint and the camera is a little too zoomed in. This means that you can't really see where your team members are and most of the time you'll end up kicking the ball ahead and hoping for the best. Speaking of teammates, why do they never bother to tackle the opposing player? They much prefer to follow him around the pitch until he either scores or you manually take control and put in a sliding tackle. The game also refuses to let you pause the action unless someone is in possession of the ball which strikes me as a really odd decision. However, the main problem with Goal! is that it's simply way too slow. Even on an NTSC 60hz machine the action crawls along, so you can imagine the horror that I faced as a kid when playing this on a PAL 50hz NES! The game doesn't appear to be very well optimised either as moving your player diagonally causes the framerate to drop dramatically. On a positive note, Goal! has some great upbeat music and a well animated cut-scene during scoring celebrations. The cheerleaders during the half-time show look really strange though and as my wife pointed out: "They're not even in-sync!"

With a few tweaks this could have been a really good football game. As it stands though, it's just too slow and unpolished to be anything more than a short gaming distraction.



Random trivia: The Goal! franchise was seemingly successful for Jaleco and they eventually published a NES sequel in 1992. It was then followed up with a further two games on the Super Nintendo (SNES) called Super Goal! 1 & 2.

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