I remember all the hype of the FIFA series on Genesis/Sega CD and Super NES back in 1994. And why not? It was all the rage. SNK's Super Sidekicks 3: The Next Glory is an arcade soccer game and not a sim. Released on the Neo Geo a year later, SNK's Soccer game featured larger players and a more up-tempo style of play. It still manage a full 11 on 11 game which was quite fun.
The game uses a side view as opposed to FIFA 94's 3/4 isometric view. Furthermore, the camera automatically zooms in a tiny bit when a player has maintained possession for a short while. It looks cool but it can be rather annoying since it makes it harder to make passes to your teammates because there is less visible playing field. And speaking of the passing, you often have to pass with a "leap of faith" as often you cannot see whom you are passing to. However it isn't all that bad because thankfully your teammates are well positioned and are either where you'd like them to be or automatically readjust to the pass. A lot of thought went into the passing, more that you'd think for an arcade soccer game. You can pass in a couple of ways, there is the standard low trajectory pass, which works almost in any situation and the high pass great for setting up headers and escaping the pressure or getting a pass over a close defender. There's also a pass where you bump it ahead slightly to increase your speed ever so slightly. All this is fine and dandy except when you get in your opponents box. Since the standard pass button is also consequently the shoot button it is difficult to pass to the open man even when you swear you are aiming right at him. Sometimes it works out for the better and you just score a fluky goal but it is the main problem with the game.
Speaking of scoring there is also a signature "chance shot" in which you can take a shot almost like a penalty shot on the fly. A visual cue will appear over your players head as he nears the box and say "chance" then hold the shoot button and viola a cursor appears where you can position wherever you see fit, be warned the CPU defense usually rears its ugly head literally as I have had the goalie beat only for some bonehead defender to step in and take one for the team by getting his noggin hammered with a shot from mid to close range.
The defense is handled with sliding tackles as well as well as illegal checks when you are desperate as well as just positioning yourself in front of the ball carrier and swooping in and taking the ball. Be forewarned as sliding tackles must be done legitimately from the front since yellow and sometimes red cards can be awarded. When a player falls victim to a cheap shot he may sustain damage, which at times is a positive thing, as it will "psyche" him up temporary boosting his stats.
The soccer game features a tournament system where you can play divisions Asia, the Americas, Africa, Europe, the World and there are roughly 50 teams with fictitious players. Play by play commentary is non-existent but the crowd provides a nice ambient touch. The sound effects could of used some tweaking as they kinda suck. Of course there are multiple skill levels from rookie to insane. Games are on the short side about 5 minutes and there is no way to adjust the playing time or clock speed. However there are many chances to score and you can continue if you draw and play the golden goal or even penalty kicks. I really enjoyed playing this game and think that soccer fans and even arcade fans would satisfy their cravings for a fast-paced, action packed arcade soccer fest.