Top notch soccer thrills
The original Kick Off is one of the best loved old-school arcade-style football sims and which still stands up today as a fine example of the genre. Fortunately, this sequel retains its predecessor's sense of fun and sheer playability while adding in enough new features to warrant to some serious investigating. At first glance and on the surface, Kick Off 2 is very similar to the first game, being a top down recreation of the world's most popular sport which plays out at a furious pace. However, a full raft of new options are now included, beginning with a full tournament mode and although the players are still fictitious, this doesn't really get in the way of your enjoyment. There are also several new types of pitch to play on, including the controversial plastic ones, which add in their own unique challenges by affecting the way the ball handles and which bring a nice bit of variety to things. The control system has also been tweaked, allowing for more precise manoeuvring of your players and for the wide range of moves to be carried out with relative ease. The AI is of a good standard, with players following tactics and with opposing teams putting up a stiff challenge even for genre veterans. The graphics are still fairly simple, with the overhead perspective allowing for little in the way of detail but with sprites that are well animated and fluid. If you want a straightforward but immensely enjoyable and satisfying soccer sim, then this really is a classic. It's fast and furious but never less than fun and it might even be the game that convinces non-soccer fans to try the sport out, in the way that Nintendo's Super Tennis converted a whole breed of tennis lovers. And for sports games, recommendations don't get much higher than that.