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Super Kick Off. For a history of Kick Off 2 console ports - rating each one of them

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:25 pm
by Referee X
Hello there,

I registered here because the new KO Revival has sparkled my interest for the older Kick Off 2 console ports, and the "console sequel" aka Super Kick Off. Yes, i know that for competitions and for overall best performance there is only one platform, the almighty Amiga. However, I am curious to understand how many ports were done in the past, and how each one was received... Why the series (which clearly is very arcade-like) in a sense "failed" to conquer the console market, if you want, and remained a staple of Amiga users.

So far, I found very little info on the internet, but maybe I'm not looking at the correct sites.

Here's what I gathered:

1.
The original 1989 Kick Off only exists in microcomputer variants (Amstrad/Schneider CPC464/664/6128
Atari 800/130/XL/XE, Atari ST/E, Commodore C64/128, PC (DOS), Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48/128/+2/+3): no console ports of it unless I'm mistaken. For the overall quality of these versions, a short trip to Lemon64 should suffice:
http://www.lemon64.com/games/details.php?ID=1431
http://www.lemon64.com/games/details.php?ID=3076
http://s64.emuunlim.org/gameinfos/kickoff/kickoff.htm
http://s64.emuunlim.org/gameinfos/kickoff2/kickoff2.htm

2. Kick Off 2 was developed initially on the Amiga, and was distributed in a series of data disks that expanded its original content. Here starts the trouble: trying to understand if the console ports were based on the original, or on the expanded content of the data disks.

Here are the console ports:

1. Pro Soccer / World League Soccer (Super Famicom / Super NES USA). Never released in Europe. Published by Imagineer. Panned by critics at release. Can't figure out if this one is based on KO2 or KO1 (?). The option menu is exceptionally bare: no speed settings, no referees. Includes an option to alter joypad control (Pad Mode: normal or easy). Another Pro Soccer exists, not on consoles but on the Japanese home computer X68000. It is supposedly (?) much better than the Snes one. [55% Mean Machines Issue 14 nov'91]

edit: here's a modern review, ironically the game as of 2014, still has some fans. Which probably aren't aware it's a Kick Off game: http://snesaday.com/2014/07/15/day-51-w ... ue-soccer/

2 "Super" Kick Off for Sega Master System Port by US Gold / Tiertex unfortunately, no credits on who actually worked on this version (?). This one does seem "super" in name only, it doesn't have the circular menu of the 16bit Megadrive / Snes versions. The option menu seems very close to KO2 (it adds a fifth duration mode, 2x2). Tiertex usually have terrible reputation but this one was well received. Sega Force mentions the pitch was slightly enlarged to reduce slowdowns. A Game Gear version also exists, which I suppose shares the code as the two systems are very close: reviews rightfully point out that GG runs natively in 60hz. [SMS= 96% Mean Machines Issue 14] [GG= 96% Mean Machines Issue 20 may'92]

3. Kick Off NES. Port by Mike Greenshields of Enigma Variations. Four pitches, four durations, two gameplay speeds, this has the referee AND the offside rule and a "marking" option. Lots of options but critically panned at release. Small and useless radar is especially criticized. Enigma also did the Gameboy port, this time labeled "Super" Kick Off (the "super" prefix doesn't seem to coherently refer to a single version of the game, see below). [NES= 36% Mean Machines Issue 19] [GB= 89% Mean Machines Issue 20]

edit: and here's a recent review of this one, 2016. Yup, the reviewer is not a fan: http://skirmishfrogs.com/2016/01/31/kick-off/

4 "Super" Kick Off for Megadrive (by Tiertex) / Super Nintendo (by Enigma). These were supposed to be the series "debut" on the major console platforms of the time, but something went wrong, and they were critically panned. I'm lumping both releases together, although they are developed by different teams and therefore there should be a gap in quality (?) The circular frontends are very counter-intuitive, so navigating options is a chore. I'm not sure if Dini had already split from Anco by the time of these two releases (?). I am interested in hearing from experts on this forum why exactly these "Super" 16bit versions did fail to meet expectations.

Were these 16bit console versions just a) too late to the party (megadrive version reviewed in early '93, and we're talking of a 1989 original: that's almost retrogaming); b) too clumsy and lacking in presentation compared to the home computer original (for example lacking battery back up and thus ability to alter and save formations); or c) deeply flawed in the core gameplay?


It's important to underline that of all the above mentioned released, only the first one reached the US market (in the form of World League Soccer). All the subsequent ports were a strict europe only affair (although the snes Super Kick Off was also released in Japan, by Misawa). That helps to explain why EA could easily dominate the market with its newborn FIFA series, debuting on the same 16bit systems. Jon hare lamented the same level of protectionism against his own Sensible (which received precious few US ports, a Sega CD one iirc).


===


With these, the history of ports ends. KO3 and Goal! ports are a different story altogether. In several interviews, Dini said that having to leave Anco and being impossibilitated to retain the "Kick Off" IP was devastating for his business. However, judging from this overview, it seems that major damage had been already inflicted to the series, basically dissipating its status with a streak of bad ports. Dini was able to retain complete direction only much later, with Virgin's Dino Dini's Soccer, and even then, crucially only on the megadrive version, the snes version was again outsourced (this time to Eurocom), resulting in more disparaging outcomes in quality.

All that said, how would you expert rate the following conversions (I'll leave portables behind for the sake of mercy):

-Pro Soccer / World League Soccer (Super Famicom / SNES USA)
-Super Kick Off (Master System)
-Kick Off (NES)
-Super Kick Off / Kick Off (Super Famicom / Super Nintendo)
-Super Kick Off (Sega Megadrive)

Re: Super Kick Off. For a history of Kick Off 2 console ports - rating each one of them

Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:43 am
by Freshmaker
Wow! Impressive round up there mate. And welcome aboard! :)

I can't say much about all these different versions as I've never tried any of them, but one thing I find important to grasp regarding anything Kick Off; the control system. I've tried to play a bit with gamepad, and you just don't get the same level of control, and then joy, when playing Kick Off with a gamepad. You need the joystick. And not a flight-stick either, it has to be an arcade-type stick. With that in mind I think much of these Kick Off ports' troubles are explaining itself.

Re: Super Kick Off. For a history of Kick Off 2 console ports - rating each one of them

Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:10 am
by Steve Camber
Hi!

Nice treasure trove of information :)

Referee X wrote:2. Kick Off 2 was developed initially on the Amiga


It was developed on the far superior Atari ST :D, then ported to the crappy Amiga.

Re: Super Kick Off. For a history of Kick Off 2 console ports - rating each one of them

Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:38 pm
by Referee X
you sure of this?
because Hall of Light lists KO1 as "not original Amiga game", but KO2 as an Amiga original:
http://hol.abime.net/2558
http://hol.abime.net/2560

by the way, Mobygames has several screenshots of all the ports, and comparing the pitch size, I can say the Game Gear port is not a straight port of the SMS one. Also Pro Soccer seems to have a pitch size much better than SNES Kick Off

http://www.mobygames.com/search/quick?q=kick+off

@: frashmaker: nowadays, with emulation it is possible to check each one of these conversions with a good stick. although clearly back then it was an issue.

Re: Super Kick Off. For a history of Kick Off 2 console ports - rating each one of them

Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:11 pm
by TheFoxSoft
You are forgetting PRO SOCCER 68 for Sharp X68000 that is the best Kick Off version by far

Re: Super Kick Off. For a history of Kick Off 2 console ports - rating each one of them

Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:59 pm
by Referee X
I mentioned it, but I'm more interested in the console ports - It's interesting that Imagineer was able to do something good on X68000 because the Super Famicom version got absolutely hideous reviews back then.

I'm more interested in: differences between the Enigma variations and Tiertex releases 2) understand why despite the marketing effort, the launch of Super Kick Off didn't ignite interest in console gamers.

it could be one of the following:

1 the ports were good, but required a stick.
2 the ports were good, but arrived very late (after Sensible Soccer's debut on the Amiga)
3 the ports are good, but lack customization, save features and extra features that amiga users had thanks to data disks;
4 the ports are indeed crippled beyond repair, and that could be due to: different ball control, different scrolling speed, altered pitch size, and so on.

Isn't there among you experts (who play the game in official competitions) someone who took the time to try these versions via emulation, just out of curiosity?

Re: Super Kick Off. For a history of Kick Off 2 console ports - rating each one of them

Posted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:59 pm
by Stainy
I can confirm that it was developed on the ST and ported to the Amiga. Straight from the horses mouth.

and yes.. Pro Soccer 68K is a great looking Kick off :) because they had the source code.. as apposed to the other.

Re: Super Kick Off. For a history of Kick Off 2 console ports - rating each one of them

Posted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:29 pm
by alkis21
Darren, I'm pretty sure that the original Kick Off was first developed on the ST, but Kick Off 2 was developed on the Amiga.

Re: Super Kick Off. For a history of Kick Off 2 console ports - rating each one of them

Posted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:02 pm
by Referee X
what about the 8bit Kick Offs... is there consensus about the Master System being the best of the bunch?

Re: Super Kick Off. For a history of Kick Off 2 console ports - rating each one of them

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:06 pm
by Abyss
By 8-bit, you mean the console 8-bit games, i.e. the Master System/Game Gear and NES/GB variants? I haven't tried these, but if you also include 8-bit computers, I can say for sure that the CPC and ZX ports were awful (mainly because of the extremely jerky scrolling)

Re: Super Kick Off. For a history of Kick Off 2 console ports - rating each one of them

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:55 pm
by manicx
All 8bit home micros' versions were crap. Kick Off on C64 had horizontal gameplay, CPC was crappy ZX port. KO2 was a bit better but still crap. C64 was okay-ish but still rubbish.