⚽ Written: January 31st-February 12th, 2020 ⚽
Alternate Title: Soccer Kid [ ⬤ ] [ ◯ ]
Year: 1993, 1994 | Developed by: Krisalis Software
Published by: Ocean Software
Well, I didn't think it possible,
but I very recently managed to successfully play Produce's The 7th Saga, Elnard Lesser Edition, all the way through for the second time (as Wilme) after last year's playthrough as Valsu, making me genuinely consider trying to play through as the other five characters despite the otherwise unappealing treatment it had gotten Westside in terms of difficulty structure, but not right now. I'll wait a little bit before attempting that rabbit hole quest.
Knowing myself, yes it will; but for the time being no more seeing this ridiculous two-frame spectral animation for awhileOh well, I'm sure that won't factor into anything StarBlog-related for the future...... 😐 Moooving ooon!
Their original post-Teque name choice was Chrysalis Softare, but had to slightly alter the spelling due to a dispute with the Chrysalis Records record companyOriginally founded in 1987 under the name Teque Software Development by Shaun Hollingworth, Tony Kavanagh, and Peter Harrap as a subsidiary label, this Rotherham-based British company which acted as developer and/or publisher would change their name to Krisalis Software in 1991. While they were in business they worked on over sixty games before closing down their doors permanently due to being dissolved on November 30th, 2001 (with their final game being the Game Boy Color vehicle The F.A. Premier League Stars 2001). While they occasionally handled home conversions of arcade or PC titles, plenty of games on their catalogue comprised of sports titles (chief among them their Manchester United football/soccer franchise),
Image from GameFAQsand the one game that no doubt springs to mind the most when anyone hears the words "Krisalis Software" is Soccer Kid (produced by Dave Colledge and James Hawkins and programmed by Shaun Hollingworth and Peter Harrap) which originally debuted on the Commodore Amiga on October 1993 in Europe (which reportedly used a similar game engine to the one they used in their Arabian Nights Amiga game) and is the brainchild of key Krisalis Software member Matt Furniss; he worked as the game's designer along Neil Adamson and Nigel Little. The game was a success in its original Amiga state that it would receive numerous conversions over the years,
Images from GameFAQsthe first of which would turn up on the Super Famicom on December 28th, 1993 that would be published by Yanoman Corporation in Japan that would be localized first in native Europe by Ocean Software on June 1994 with North America playing the Nintendo 16-bit version last that August.
Image from MobyGamesYanoman was an exclusively Japanese video game publisher that operated from 1990 to 1997, with their most notable publishing work comprising of Japan Art Media (JAM)'s Aretha and Max Entertainment's FEDA RPG franchises with their last publications being the May 23rd, 1997 release of Climax Entertainment's Runabout (Felony 11-79 for the localized versions) and Yanoman's own Cube Battler: Anna Miraiden on the PlayStation One and Sega Saturn respectively. Generally with the localized release during the '90s if the publisher was different than they would largely (if not completely) replace the Japanese one,
but in this case they haven't been entirely forgotten because Yanoman's logo does appear in a couple stages that transpire in Japan which is fittingly appropriate given their exclusivity in that country.
As for the Western publisher Ocean Software,
they really need no explanation by this point if you've been following my video game blog long enough.
Images from GameFAQsIt's no incident that I bring up their Nintendo 16-bit platformer Mr. Nutz either because like the American SNES version of Soccer Kid (retitled The Adventures of Kid Kleets when, really, it would've made more sense to keep the original namesake which ironically makes little to no sense in native Europe since the sport is known as "football" there while in America it's referred to as "soccer") that too was an American SNES August 1994 release by Ocean.
It is contemporary 1994 at the USA World Cup Stadium where the World Cup Trophy has been snagged away from an alien spaceship;
however, as it attempts to leave the Earth's orbit it gets struck from a series of asteroids which not only makes it blow up
but also shatter the World Cup Trophy into five separate pieces, each of which land in England, Italy, Russia, Japan, and the United States of America. What a tragedy, and who better to recoup the pieces and put it all back together
And don't stare at me, you got the bug eyes! 👀 Hey, kid, sorry about the bug eyes thing, I'll be in my officethan this little hellspawn with soulless demon eyes? Seriously, of all the ways to design his face with that dash towards the screen pose in the intro and area introduction title cards, creepy and unsettling was the best option for the Western SNES release? 🤨
Left: London East End | Right: Double-decker bus advertising Soccer KidIn the sidescrolling platformer Soccer Kid/The Adventures of Kid Kleets you take control of an eponymous soccer kid whom you can move to run left and right, duck down, slide across by holding down whilst running, jump with the B button with your altitude dependent on how hard you pressed the button, by holding down while on a thin platformer you can slide down it by pressing the A button, your main form of attacking enemies is by kicking the ball through the A button, and you can magically summon it at will by holding down the A button at any point (except on conveyor belts).
Left: Running through the sewer eliminating rodents | Right: Knocking that pesky skateboarder out of the wayThere are different tricks you can pull off with the soccer ball, such as bouncing it up and down should you hold down the A button while standing beside it, switch positions while resuming the ball bounce, kick the ball ahead of you, above you, or at a diagonal angle depending on your aim, bouncing the ball with your head, knocking the ball with his head after jumping in midair, doing the overhead kick behind you (which for some reason is always successful when kicking it to the right while it's the exact opposite for when you try kicking to the left this way), bouncing the ball until it firmly lands on your head while crouching, balancing yourself on it after jumping on the ball, or use it to bounce yourself up high after pressing up.
Left: Tree hopping | Right: Holy crap, that nameless prepubescent kid just knocked Lance Armstrong off his bike with his soccer ball, you monster! 😱Each country you venture through is divided into three stages, and the goal for each of them is to reach the end while at the end of the third stage you fight against a boss; at the start of each of them is an exclamation box which you can read by kicking the ball towards it which is the only way to start collecting the cards. Scattered in different portions of each stage are either three, four, or five cards when you search thoroughly,
Left: Sliding across in the rain | Right: There are no clowns in this game 🤡with the total card count per country being eleven and if you manage to collect all of them then after the boss fight you'll be taken towards a bonus segment where you must gather all the food to make a piece of the World Cup Trophy appear and must grab it before the timer reaches zero; failure to collect all the cards within the same country results in just moving on to the next one after defeating the boss. Regardless, once you've cleared a country you'll be given a ten character password for the next one you're flying to.
Left: Bothersome wrench-throwing hardhat diving offscreen | Right: Head bounce practiceOccasionally during the stages proper you'll come across chests which must be broken open with the soccer ball, where inside them you'll procure either a kid icon for a life, a heart icon to replenish all your lost health, a group of hearts to augment your health capacity by one (you start out with two heart but by the end of the game you'll have a health capacity of five), a clock icon to increase the allotted time that you have remaining, a shoe icon to momentarily increase your speed, and a soccer uniform icon to temporarily render you impervious to enemy contact.
Left: Soccer ⚽ v. Rugby 🏉 | Right: That Italian Riviera bird had it coming for flying at such an unnaturally fast speedThroughout the stages you'll come across a variety of enemies that will be defeated through one or more ball kicks towards them, and since there is about a second and a half's worth of invincibility time after sustaining damage should you be unfortunate to carelessly collide with the (same) enemy or land on spikes you'll lose health quickly unless you're in the clear. You'll be at your most vulnerable if all your hearts are empty for should you receive damage one more time at this point, after which you'll pick up either from the beginning of the stage or the checkpoint (or, once you reached the boss, the boss section). Losing all your lives will result in a game over, but you'll be given a choice to use one of your limited continues or return to the title screen which takes you back to the beginning of the stage you lost your last life in.
Left: Ball bounce | Right: Pants ridingThe Adventures of Kid Kleets has got a decent visual aesthetic going for it which were done by Paul Dobson, Neil Adamson, Mark Potente, and Dave Colledge, and the colors are vibrantly colorful with occasional bits of gradient coloring in the backdrop (like for the skies and oceans to name a couple examples, and during the Russia and bonus stages there are flags that remain stationary however they shift their gradient levels to create a feeling of being blown by the wind). The first and third stages of England that transpire in London has got huge double-decker buses with a banner advertising Soccer Kid and what I presume to be Buckingham Palace looming in the background given how wide the building is while the second stage taking place in old home town has got a darker sky with perpetual rain pouring down on you;
Left: Gelato 🍦 | Right: Wait, how can you kill something that's already technically dead? That doesn't make any sense 😕the first and third stages in Italy have got a nice view of the ocean which shimmers a bit in the background given it transpires in the Ligurian Riviera with a sandy texture for the beach segment, some nice houses, and occasional posters foreshadowing the upcoming boss fight against Pavorelli on stage, while the second Italy stage takes place in the Roman Ruins with ancient architecture comprising of columns, temples, engraved murals, and well-designed statues of the Roman God Jupiter (or Zeus as he was known in Greece); the first and third Russia stages have got a dark sky, a rigid structure adorned in snow and ice with plenty of snowflakes raining down from the sky, while the second Russia stage takes place on a moving battleship with an endlessly kaleidoscopic backdrop with the Russian buildings looming in the distance;
Left: You gotta love the visual contrast of the serious realistic statue design of Jupiter next to an otherwise overly exaggerated caricature of a child (and it's a good thing it's painted into the background otherwise this soccer kid would be paying a hefty damage fee for destroying historical and cultural property) | Right: Practicing his balancing actJapan's stages largely take place inside an electronics factory with the computers, various kinds of machinery including robots (especially ones not painted into the background) with occasional bits of the washroom area and when you're outside there's a yellowy orange and fuchsia gradient sky where you'll sometimes see signs featuring the Japanese version's publisher Yanoman's logo on them, and in the Bullet Train stage as it veers towards the left at high speeds there are cars, large piles of wood, and different portions of the train where you'll sometimes see some passengers;
Left: Hey, why is that sleazy motorcyclist driving through the beach?? So recklessly irresponsible! | Right: Paused overhead kick mid-pose after hitting an enemy because... I dunnofinally in the first and third stages in the United States taking place in New York you'll see lots of high skylines with bright lights taking place under a starlit sky where once in awhile you'll see the Statue of Liberty looming in the distance, and in the second stage taking place in California the colors are vibrant as it takes place on a hot beach with lots of sand and wooden walkways (at one point you even see a radio and a lifeguard's tower). The Adventures of Kid Kleets makes really good use of the color green when in the bonus segments and the World Cup Stadium, there are no color-layering effects per se but there is a good deal of dithering to give a similar illusion in certain portions, and I liked that the kid's palette would darken up a bit when you entered enclosed areas or ventured deep inside places shielded from natural light (especially when the Bullet Train entered a long tunnel) which I liked as I felt it was a nice detailed touch.
Left: Advertising Pavorelli | Right: Oh, that Pavorelli, his performance will absolutely blow you away to an electrifyingly shocking degreeThe main character has a decent in-game sprite, though the same can't be said for title screen and area title card models with his overly puffy cheeks and creepy unsettling eyes staring at you (really, it's only his face that I have the biggest complaint about). His running (with the flecks of hair flowing with his movements), jumping, balancing, and kicking animations are solid, his idle animation comprises of blinking and occasionally looking at the screen,
and when standing near the ledge of a platform he has a simple two-frame teetering animation. It's worth noting that during the intermission screen after the Italy and Japan countries as well as the good ending that he has an awkward-looking jump pose as he faces the screen with his arms stretched behind him (I guess).
Left: Oh, piss off, you pesky squirrel and go bother Clark Griswold | Right: Jumping on hot air balloonsAmong the enemy roster you'll contend with bulldogs, coffee holding hardhat construction workers, birds, mice, cyclists, sea pearl spewing clam shells, sleazy motorbikers, Roman gladiator ghosts, squirrels, musclebound squirt gun dudes, jumping swordfish, mad scientists, robots, and jackhammer men, et al, most of whom have choppy two-frame animations when they move but have incredulous single-frame reactions upon being taken out by a little boy as they swiftly fall towards the bottom of the screen. When you reach the end of the country you'll face off against one-dimensional stereotypes based on the country they originate from: a rugby player, an athletic femme fatale gymnast, a sumo, a football player who loses his helmet upon losing enough health, and most shockingly of all an operatic singer whose design is clearly based on the late Luciano Pavarotti.
The soundtrack was composed by none other than Soccer Kid's creator Matt Furniss,
What hasn't this guy done?who's done pretty much everything Sega-based on the MegaDrive/Genesis, Game Gear, and Master System consoles (original, conversion, you name it) thanks to a sound engine developed by Shaun Hollingworth as Krisalis Software primarily provided sound support for those externally developed games made for these formats--he's also got an excellent range which gives his sounds a genuinely impressive and versatile quality about them. 😃
Left: Swordfish | Right: There was no reason to stand inside this cramped up compartment, seems kinda pointlessAnd frankly, I personally feel that his contributions to Sega sound more impressive, though that's just my opinion. The Adventures of Kid Kleets' soundtrack is decent, though I wouldn't call it my favorite or consider it top-tier quality from Furniss, but for what it offers the individual countries' sense of atmosphere it's sufficiently handled in its own right (even if I do think some songs sound interchangeable and similar-sounding). The title theme sets the tone for the worldly adventure you're to embark, the world map theme has got plenty of calypso here and there, and the theme for when you're in the bonus arena is bouncy and eclectic.
Left: Kinda convenient of that battleship to have a swing automatically going back and forth, now isn't it? | Right: 🎵 Have you heard? There's a rumor in St. Petersburg! Have you heard? What the people have to say? HEY! 🎵And much like the first and third stages of each country share the same visual design and aesthetic, so too do they share the same theme while the second stage is the outlier of the three in terms of both visual and sound. London's theme is action-packed while the second England stage's theme has got plenty of calypso and upbeat instrumentation despite the nonstop rain (though apparently it rains in that part of England all the time in real life); the Italian Riviera theme sounds exotic with the synth pop and calypso sprinkled here and there while the Roman Ruins theme has got an imperial auraabout it (because Rome); Russia's two themes have got a heavily imposing sound in their own one-dimensional way; Japan's theme inside the factory while its Bullet Train theme sounds fast-paced; and finally the United States' theme for the New York stages has a slummin' it up kind of vibe while the California theme sounds relaxing and is befit for a sunny vacation theme.
Left: Well, I guess that's one way to get a stupid surprised dog reaction (I'll never tire of Phelan "Phelous" Porteous' brand of humor) | Right: Battling against a gymnastThe normal boss theme sounds busy and hectic with the exception of theme that plays when you fight Pavorelli which is apropos given how absolutely Pavarotti-like it is in terms of composition (I even picked a bit of "Nessun dorma" during the early part), the final boss theme as you face off against the alien that stole the World Cup Trophy in the first place at the World Cup Stadium is more sinister and imposing, and both the ending and credits music are short but sweet. Matt Furniss also came up with the sound effects which are decently chosen like the sounds of the blocks that get destroyed, the ball-kicking sound effects, the spring-like sound as you jump on the ball (or a spring), and when the soccer kid takes damage and says "Ow!" in a high pitch tone he sounds like a chimpanzee. By pressing the buttons Y, A, X, X, A, B, and Start in the title screen, the screen will blink a few times before you're taken to the most plain-looking blue sound test screen ever.
Left: Just an average fighter, but he was brilliant scientist! | Right: Swinging back and forth in a Japanese factoryThe Adventures of Kid Kleets has got two difficulty modes: Practice and Normal--in Practice most enemies don't take as many hits to defeat as they would in Normal mode, and all bosses apart from the first one who doesn't require as many hits to take down are absent (including the alien if you got all five pieces of the World Cup Trophy) while in Normal mode enemies take more hits and you fight all the bosses. There are also two different endings in this game; the good ending is acquired in Normal mode if you got all five World Cup Trophy pieces and defeated the alien at the end (a fight that's only accessed if you collected all the pieces), while the bad ending is more one of an incomplete nature as you arrive pretty much emptyhanded at the end since you got one or some of the pieces of the World Cup Trophy but not all of them.
Left: If this were Synapse & Silicon's two The Lost Vikings games then him being flattened would've insta-killed him; why aren't I paying those games instead? | Right: Coal moleOther conversions of Soccer Kid would be made in 1994 for the MS-DOS and Amiga CD32 computers as well as on the failed 3DO console on May 2nd in the United States and on December 9th in Japan albeit as Great Soccer Kid; Krisalis Software would develop a late in the game Atari Jaguar homebrew version which Songbird Productions would release in America on February 7th, 2000; there were also meant to be conversions on the Atari Lynx and Atari ST during the '90s but got cancelled during development; after Krisalis Software dissolved in 2001 their rights would go to Telegames who developed and published the Game Boy Advance and PlayStation One versions in September 2002 for America and Europe and December 2003 exclusively in Europe respectively (the latter of which was made to commemorate the ten year anniversary for Soccer Kid).
Browsed on eBay just out of curiosityI was pretty shocked to find that the PlayStation One version apparently came with a Soccer Kid-themed plushie upon release after a recent search of the Sony version on eBay for curiosity's sake; no doubt this game was a big deal in native Europe and it probably helped that the sport was famous there. I do have a younger cousin who lives in Italy who's been into soccer ever since he was a child; I thought maybe out of curiosity I'd look into the PAL-only PlayStation One version for next time I visit Italy... but then I saw a World of Longplay gameplay video of it on YouTube and was left thoroughly unimpressed after less than a minute and based on the comments I read it seemed to be a lazily half-arsed conversion (and on its tenth anniversary, no less, yikes!); oh well, my cousin has plenty of soccer games, he'll live a long happy life with those (oh, and Square-Enix's Kingdom Hearts).
My first experience with a game utilizing the Soccer Kid formula as a child during the '90s ironically wasn't the game that bared the name "Soccer Kid" but instead a cartoony knockoff via The Kremlin's Marko on the Sega Genesis when I visited one of my American cousins one time but didn't play too much of that at the time because I wasn't good at it (it also probably doesn't help that it felt rather unpolished and how its "Cartoon Mavericks" mistakenly valued its visuals and exaggerated cartoony designs and animation over the gameplay) and played their other Genesis carts and wouldn't get my own copy of Marko until 2015 which I got to play with the RetroGen cartridge (but wouldn't play all the way to the end until after I got a Model 2 Sega Genesis console which has a clearer and crisper quality in July 2019).
Left: Ohhh maaan, I hope there isn't an enemy robot pretending to blend in the background in front of me... 😐 | Right: SpringNow the first time I actually learned of Soccer Kid was in the mid 2000's on the Video Game Critic website when he talked about the Atari Jaguar version, and I'm embarrassed to even bring up his website at all because hindsight does not do it any favors (in my opinion, anyway) as they were single-image, single-paragraph reviews and that's it (I mean, power to those who can summarize their thoughts in a short amount of words but in his case I didn't feel it painted a whole picture or went into enough detail), but what hurts his site most is I recall some of his reviews spreading misinformation which I'm surprised no one called him out on:
Left: Sumo man | Right: "Mamma mia!" (also, only just noticed Krisalis' neon sign)in his review for Capcom's Super Ghouls'n Ghosts he said whenever you lost a life you'd start from the beginning of the stage (which was true for the last three stages given how short they are, but in the first five there were halfway points), whenever reviewed a Scooby-Doo! game he referred to Velma as "Thelma" which never made sense to me in the slightest (especially since her name would occasionally show up onscreen), in his review for Tose's Nintendo DS port of Square's Chrono Trigger he claimed that you wouldn't be able to save until a few hours in (clearly he hasn't tried accessing the menu during the overworld which did give you the option to save at that point so you wouldn't just have to wait until you stood next to the stars to do it), and in his review for WayForward Technologies' DuckTales: Remastered he bafflingly said that Scrooge McDuck was voiced by Sean Connery (when he was voiced by the late Alan Young, and last I checked Connery was still in retirement) which I think is one of the reasons I got turned off his website completely several years ago because given my affinity for the Carl Barks character that bit of misinformation was so mind-numbingly wrong. 😓 Certain games' existence I may have learned through VGC (like Core Design's Chuck Rock games), but that's all I'll give him.
I would experience Soccer Kid for the first time in the form of The Adventures of Kid Kleets in early 2011, though what caught my eye was Ocean Software's label. I adored Mr. Nutz when I played it in 2009 (being the first NTSC SNES game I bought and first game I ever ordered on eBay) and I kinda, sorta liked The Addams Family: Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt in 2010 even though that one's difficulty was a bit too much even for me. It wasn't until I turned on the game that I realized that Ocean only published and not developed it, and I've played enough games by Ocean at this point to know how they operate--I cannot say the same for Krisalis Software because this is really the only game I've played that was developed by them (which is a stark difference compared to providing sound for Sega games otherwise done by other companies). And I felt the game waaaaas… solid at best, cheap at worst.
Left: Surrounded by animals | Right: Lady LibertyNow the idea of a platformer incorporating the soccer ball element is a great concept on the surface, how enemies can only be defeated by the kicking the ball towards them with the neat quirk that said soccer ball can even collect items for you if you're not collecting them yourself provided you let the ball roll in certain directions (and like a real soccer ball, it ricochets off walls and ceilings and pops upon being poked by a pointy object). Once in awhile it's fun to play all the way through, I appreciated that it included a sense of exploration that occasionally led to secret compartments and sections as well as finding all eleven cards scattered in the country, I liked that pressing the left and right shoulder buttons in the title screen toggled the different palettes of the soccer kid's jersey and shorts
Left: A mouse going out and about in New York, seems normal 🐁 | Right: Clam it, clammy!(a thing I've taken much advantage of for my review as proof of the screenshots, as essentially I turned it on, tried a new palette combo, got to a point, turned it off, turned it back on, used a different palette combo, started a new game, got to a further point, turned it off, rinse and repeat, conscientiously tried to not repeat the same jersey/pants color combo once, all because I figured having him wear the same outfit again and again in my screenshots would've been boring and I didn't want to use passwords because then the score would've started at zero; to say this was an exhaustive screenshot-gathering process would be a gross understatement as it's progressively tired me out 😵), I appreciated its sense of globetrotting, and it's pretty distinctive how this platformer has you remain on the left side of the screen as you hold still and run to the right (same applies vice versa) as opposed to being somewhere in the middle.
Left: All flaws notwithstanding, it's better than Marko at least | Right: You couldn't have told me this when I was still in Italy?!?One would think that remaining on the left section of the screen would be quite the advantage as you run towards the right as you technically have more vicinity of what's ahead of you, however the pacing of the game is way too fast which means you can't afford to let loose your sense of traction unless you want to quickly take damage from an enemy or projectile so you'll have to constantly moderate your movements. There are certain enemies that move at such a fast rate, like that hardhat construction guy who throws his wrench so fast at you that you barely have time to react unless you maintain your distance which does cheapen the experience a bit (not to mention there were certain moments when the collision detection felt rather spotty), I've found in certain cases that enemies will just pop into existence if you got down from an above section of a stage, and I was never a fan of the knockback effect upon sustaining damage when it came to video games (particularly one where you cannot do anything until you get back on the ground which is sadly the case for this game) which I find to be always annoying if not highly inconvenient (especially when it comes to the Bullet Train). 😑
Left: One of these critters is a part of the background, the other is not | Right: "Gator Crossing"? O-of course, because everyone knows the Californian beachside is littered with alligator eggs possibly endangering people should they hatch, ha... haaah… 😅 What is any of this? 😓I surmise the fast pacing might attribute to the upscale in speed by 16.7% from 50Hz to 60Hz as Soccer Kid was a Euro title back at a time when PAL versions of games slightly squished the screen to give it a letterbox quality on TV with 50Hz speed (which wasn't on the video game developers as they had little choice but to adhere to the PAL mode because of how things were set up there long before the video game medium even existed, and the only way to subvert that was to import). But given that you move way too fast it does give it a loose quality in terms of jumps, and it's a bit detrimental to the flow to always move, stop, kick ball to attack, move, stop, kick ball to attack, rinse and repeat the whole way through as it does cheapen the game's speed-based flavor; I don't mind so much when it comes to the (thorough) exploration but it does slow things down a bit when you're simply trying to move forward--then again, those obstacles are there to disguise the overall brevity of the stages if you were to consider it.
Left: Pepsi Cola product placement | Right: Soccer ⚽ meets basketball 🏀… somehow I doubt that would even workAt one point I admit to have considered importing the Super Famiversion of Soccer Kid, but in the end I decided against it especially having after my exhaustive screenshot-taking process for this review but I learned there were differences between these versions: the main character in the cover, title, and stage title card was designed by Koshira Tetsuhiro of Dodge Danpei fame (even though in-game he still had the normal Soccer Kid design), the HUD placement was different, bosses have no health bar, and it had to be played all the way through in one sitting due to their being no passwords--personally, though, I'd say Japan got the better end of the deal since they didn't have to look at genuinely off-putting creeper face in the stage title card screens like Western gamers did. 😫
Screengrabbed and cropped from The Cutting Room Floor's Soccer Kid (SNES) pageBut here is the most baffling change of all: for some reason Ocean Software felt the need to rename the first and third stages of each country making them seem like they take place in different parts of said country when the reality is that the first and third stages take place in the same area (the similar aesthetic touches in these two stages painfully confirm this) which was more accurate in the Yanoman release which had the numbers 1 and 2 by them. In the case of Japan's factory stages it's give or take, in the second New York stage which was renamed Chicago you can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance which is impossible because it's in New York's Ellis Island and Chicago is a city set beside a lake, not an ocean, and guess where the Italian Riviera and Via Colombo are not located: Venice (which doesn't feature anything even remotely Venetian in-game). One might argue that giving the same stage name numbers is a lazy move, but what Ocean did was much worse as it comes across as disingenuous with how misinformative they were stage name-wise.
Speaking of being disingenuous, I found it to be quite the double-edged sword for this game to feature an entire world map and yet have all of Soccer Kid/The Adventures of Kid Kleets exclusively take place in the Northern Hemisphere. Were five countries located in the Northern Hemisphere all Krisalis Software could think of when making this game? I can name plenty of countries in the Southern Hemisphere that are as into the sport (if not more so); and yeah, showing an incomplete world map would've been pointless too, but this is a lose-lose situation in terms of wasted opportunity.
Left: Running through the sewers with neck-high water | Right: Look at how swallowed up by the screen I am (makes for an ideal safe spot)But either way, I bring the locations up primarily because in terms of this game having any internal logic to it, well, it doesn't because it makes absolutely no sense. How is the existence of aliens not as pressingly front page-worthy as the World Cup Trophy being taken? I mean, that's bad too, but still! Why has the world gone crackpots insane? Are they under a control spell? What's their endgame if they're not? Why is both the recuperation and reparation of said trophy a mission that must be undertaken by a prepubescent little boy, one who doesn't have any adult supervision by the way? Do his parents or guardians know he's out and about endangering himself and potentially committing crimes (like causing property damage and animal abuse) in the name of saving the day (our... "hero"?)? Why, during his stay in a country, does he travel Lord knows how many miles to go to one segment only to go all the way back to where he started in the subsequent stage? How can this soccer kid afford enough to get a plane ticket when all he's doing is collecting junk and sweet food and occasionally cards? Are the bosses you defeated offering you a ride, and if that's not the case then what is any of this? Must be greed.
Screenshot of Superman III from my Region 1 Widescreen DVD, courtesy of Warner Bros., taken from my TV; RIP Robert Vaughn 1932-2016But the most mysterious thing that never gets answered is why does he have a magic soccer ball that he can magically summon up at will in the first place??? 😖
Screengrabbed while watching adorno108's twenty-five second clip upload from The Simpsons on YouTubeI know Soccer Kid was never the kind of game that was meant to be taken at face value, but c'mon! That's a lot of nonseniscality to dissect from one game.
Both games can take solace in the fact that neither make a lick of senseHaving played both The Adventures of Kid Kleets and its cartoony knockoff Marko which share so many similar elements (maybe too closely at points) it really does put things into perspective. I'll give Jolyon Myers' game that there was an explanation for Marko's magically enhanced ball, him having an actual name, takes place in one city, not having a disturbing pair of demon eyes *guttural* staring mercilessly deep into your soul *end guttural* when close up, and the European title Marko's Magic Football being more appropriate-sounding for Europe than Soccer Kid (but apparently at one point development it was to be called "Football Kid" but got changed to increase universal appeal) I'll give Matt Furniss' game that it didn't prioritize its visuals and animation over the gameplay, there was a more solid sense of quality throughout and a somewhat fairer sense of design, there was more variety in terms of location settings, it didn't try to imply a future venue featuring the same character that ultimately never happened only for the epilogue to sorta negate it as a failed attempt at a joke, its sense of fun doesn't disappear after the first half, and it's not Marko.
Left: Bonus | Right: World Cup Stadium alien fightI've only played the NTSC SNES version of Soccer Kid, but after almost two weeks of getting screenshots with different palettes each time I don't plan on rushing to try other versions of Krisalis Software's iconic game anytime soon. I did say it was fun to play all the way through once in awhile, which it is but I only did it twice for this review (the second time was because, even when you use up a continue after a password or not, the score resets itself to zero, so I willingly did a continue-less playthrough and even a one-life run and replaced the original white jersey/white shorts palette which had a lesser score). But overall though, it's a solid-ish enough platformer while it lasts, it's not high on difficulty, and it takes roughly thirty-five to fortysomething minutes to beat (and that's if you only focus on the important stuff and don't peruse through all the secrets), though it could definitely have benefited from a better sense of polish and a more controlled sense of traction. It's not exactly what I'd call a great platformer, but it does have an interesting premise and is not bad to play once in awhile. And if you wish to kick off an adventure with a boy and a magic soccer ball, then The Adventures of Kid Kleets is a better alternative to Marko.
My Personal Score: 6.5/10
d(^-^)bTO EACH THEIR OWNd(^-^)b
● Just like Virgin Interactive's Cool Spot, there's a code that lets you access this game's credits (B, A, L, L, A, X, Start). So, um, no need to play all the way through in order to see them, I suppose.
● I'm still not sure whether to call the inclusion of Pavorelli genius or distasteful even though the entire game is virtually one-dimensionally stereotypical with a callow mentality. Pavarotti was alive when the game was made, but he died in 2007, and that's why I feel conflicted about the second boss battle (and this is just retroactively speaking; I don't know how people felt about it during its contemporary release).
● I wish it were possible to alter the palette of the jersey and shorts outside of just the title screen but I'm glad I finally got all the screenshots I needed in the end, now I never want to review this game again!
● This game has occasional moments when it feels buggy: there were occasions after falling enough as I kept holding the right button when the soccer kid would automatically skid as if he were turning around for a second when he wasn't, certain times when I slide jumped with the ceiling a pixel or two above his head it would swiftly drag me farther to an open spot (in the bonus segments particularly), there's the aforementioned spotty collision detection, one time during the gymnast battle I depleted her health and yet was resilient for she would not go down until she took me out and then it was business as usual, and most alarming of all is one time I got to the first boss at the end of England's third stage and he wasn't there but when I turned back a tiny bit and then reverted back to the direction I was going the rugby boss suddenly showed up. And it's got four quality assurance credits? 🤨 … Well, still better made than Marko.
● And WOW, this is the first Nintendo 16-bit game I reviewed since Capcom's Super Famiconversion of Mitchell Corporation's classic coin-op Super Pang back in May 2019, amazing! 😃 Hopefully I lost none of my Nintendo 16-bit reviewing prowess in all that time.
Thank you for reading my review, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think (neither spam nor NSFW allowed); hope you have a great day, and take care! 🙂
What... the misplaced spring hell is that??? 😯