Back of the net!
This less than well known soccer game was released around the same time as the almighty FIFA 2000 and although it might have been overshadowed, it actually makes for a nice alternative. It's a bit more pacey and action packed than the realistic FIFA and stands as a nice counterpart to management sims like Premier Manager. This one is focused on the English leagues and has all the teams and players of the period, so it's scope is a little smaller than its competitor. It is fully licensed though, so if you have fond memories of the time, this is a nice trip don memory lane. The range of options is fairly extensive and similar to other games, while the gameplay itself takes a fast-paced and arcade-like approach, which is thrilling and enthralling. Perhaps the game's most interesting feature is the Stars system, whereby you collect stars by winning matches and which can then be used to upgrade your players' skills such as passing, shooting and dribbling. It's a small touch but one which adds a nice element of choice and strategy to things. Other than this, the game is pretty much business as usual for soccer games. It's got some pretty nice 3D visuals which move along at a decent pace and which are certainly atmospheric, with sound to match. The speed of the game keeps the adrenaline going and which makes matches both tense and exciting, while the controls are easy to pick up but which require enough skill to master to keep soccer fans happy. All in all, a pretty solid effort that is worth looking closer at.