Now I've played a few football (sims) in my time, (and it IS Football, not blooming Soccer OK!?!) and apart from a couple rare cases, few, (as Shania Twain wouldn't say), "have impressed me much". Just for the record these few are: FIFA '98 and Sensible Soccer, (bolox you can't seem to get away from saying it!). So anyway it is quite fortunate for me the David O'Leary's Total Soccer 2000, (I am aware I put soccer into this review again!) seems to very much have the look of a Sensible Soccer style game, (oh I give up!).........
Well I guess I had better tell you lot a bit about the game. The first thing I found quite a novelty, being a relative Gameboy novice, was that this game (cartridge) actually came with a battery inside it. This therefore meant that you could actually save games, (woohoo!), instead of having to keep entering passwords, which I think is very annoying. Infact you can save up to 5 different games. Anyway, after actually turning on your Gameboy, (actually, no, strike that, I mean Gameboy Colour because this is actually a GBC only game), there are 3 main modes of play: Single Game, Link Up, and Competition.
Single game, as the name suggests is a single game, so no surprises there! It involves you playing one match against your GBC, where you can choose which team you and your opponent will play for. You can choose from any of the premiership teams in England, and also the teams in the top divisions in quite a few others. After doing this you get to set your team up, playing style, formation and even the players can be changed.
Link Up is like a single game except you need two players, two copies of the game, two GBC's and a link cable, (makes you think that it would be easier just to go and buy a football). Each player can choose which team they want to play with. Then as in the single game you can set up you team and then your away.
Competition mode is the final style of game you can play. This mode has quite a few different options on the different types of competition you can play. You can either play one of the pre-set competitions, which consists of playing in various of the top leagues, or in the European Cup. Or you can make you own cup/league up, where you can choose what other teams you want to play against. In a league you can compete against between 3 and 19 teams (you being the 4th/20th), and you can play either once or twice, with the winner getting either two or three points, depending on how you decide to set up the league.
Match options consist of being able to change the time for each half, (1, 2, 4, 8mins), the type of pitch played on, the computer skill level, and both goal keepers skill levels, plus a couple of other things.
Now to the in game stuff. Nice use of colours, (lot's of green!). The players could have looked a little bit better, as all they seemed to be is a coloured block with a black dot to represent the head. But there were lots of other amusing graphical scenes, such as when you tackled a player with the ball, he would end up sprawled all over the floor, :-). The game play was good, infact very good, there were loads of things which Ubi Soft have managed to pull off really well. Swerving the ball past the keeper is one of my fav's. Infact the only things I didn't like in the game, (that is, apart from getting beat 3:5 against some crap team I had never heard of, what was there name now? Man. United or something, well who cares!), was the extreme lack of control over your own goal keeper, and not really knowing who was your 'active' player. This last thing did cause a lot of players darting away from the action, just because you thought you were controlling a completely different one.
Good footy style music, and good in game sound effects. Although I thought it maybe could have had a few more in game sound effects. Also, no possibility for in game music, which was a disappointment. But that's all you can really fault it on.
Well, this game just about as lastable as a football game can get really. There are a plethora of different modes you can play in, so it will keep you playing for a good while. But I think the real "staying power" in this game comes from the two player mode via a link cable. If you can go by any other footy game modes like these can become very addictive indeed! I like the ability to save you player and then keep your stats, so you know how many games you have won/lost/drawn/goals scored/goals conceded/form. It is extras like these, which give this game the extra credit that it easily deserves.
Overall this is a exceptionally good football game for the Gameboy Colour, I haven't played EA's offering yet but I will be surprised if it will manage to beat this game. It manages to mix, respectable graphics with loads of game options, and great game play. My only advice is, buy it!