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Gamer Tuesday

August 7, 2012

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights Londom Olympics 2012 Week: Disney Sports Soccer

Developed by: Konami

Systems: GameCube, Game Boy Advance

The whole world has once again united to see its most talented athletes go for the gold and bring glory to their respective countries. We at From Screen to Theme have caught London Olympics 2012 fever and decided to highlight the best sports related creations Disney has ever released. For Gamer Tuesday, I have selected Disney Sports Soccer for the GameCube and Game Boy Advance.

The game's intro

Seeing the game's box art, one may think that Disney has been borrowing ideas from Nintendo yet again. Mickey's Speedway USA was inspired by Mario Kart, and Disney Party (a multiplayer party game which I promise will be highlighted soon) was an attempt to replicate the Mario Party formula but with Mickey and the Gang. In actuality, this game came out way before Nintendo attached Mario and friends to the game of soccer (those efforts turned out to be Super Mario Strikers for the GameCube and Mario Strikers Charged for the Wii, released in 2005 and 2007 respectively). Disney Sports Soccer, however, is at its core a soccer title in the vein of Konami's Winning Eleven with dashes of Sega Soccer Slam throughout its presentation.

Like in Sega Soccer Slam, Disney Sports Soccer features different teams headlined by members of Mickey's crew of friends. Each character is the team captain to a team of characters unique to this game. The teams, along with their captains, are as follow:

- The Superstars (Mickey Mouse)

- The Charmers (Minnie Mouse)

- The Seaducks (Donald Duck)

- The Belles (Daisy Duck)

- The Spacenuts (Goofy)

- The TinyRockets (Huey, Dewey, and Louie & Jos' Carioca)

- The Steamrollers (Pete)

- The Imperials (Mortimer Mouse)

The similarities with Sega Soccer Slam end there, though. Players that believe that gameplay will be severely trimmed down for the sake of a family audience need to leave their fears at the door. As I mentioned, Disney Sports Soccer shares many ideas with Winning Eleven, a video soccer franchise (also from Konami) known for its depth in terms of how the game of soccer is presented. This means that players will feel very close to playing an actual soccer game, right down to the rules that often drive the crowds mad! You can edit your team's formation, substitute your players for better gameplay, and a deep control system that stands up proudly to the likes of EA's FIFA series.

In terms of gameplay modes, you can partake in exhibition matches as well as tournaments with other players. Up to three other players can join in the fun, and you can even link to the Game Boy Advance version using the GBA to GC link cable in order to trade items between the two versions of the games. If you are not satisfied with the way your team members are playing on the field, you can also edit everything from their names to their stats, a mode that was originally praised for its depth. However, it is this sense of depth that made it a confusing title for some as the Disney name suggests it is a family friendly game, yet it's wealth of soccer gameplay features aims itself towards the die hard soccer fan. Taking those issues aside, Disney Sports Soccer is a solid representation of one of the world's most popular sports.

Having just established that the gameplay in Disney Sports Soccer can be just as deep as the most realistic soccer simulator, how does the game stack up visually? It does really well too! The classic Disney characters retain their charm when rendered in 3D. The colors pop with the vibrancy that has become synonymous with Disney and the animation capture the personalities of the characters really well. One of my favorite things about the game is how it doesn't just focus on the Fab Five characters like Mickey, Donald, Goofy etc. You also get to see rarely seen characters like Mortimer Mouse and Jose Carioca (The Three Caballeros). The game also opens with a great CG cinematic that gets you in the mood for a game of soccer.

Sound design also pays tribute to the Disney legacy. The characters were all voiced by their respective official voice actors and offer colorful commentary before, during and after a match. The music doesn't quite strike an emotional core, but it does a decent enough job.

So in conclusion, Disney Sports Soccer looks like it could be an arcade soccer game for the whole family thanks to the familiarity of Mickey Mouse and friends. Yet those that dig deeper will find a soccer game that doesn't put aside depth and goes all out with its gameplay design. Not every Disney fan will understand how the game works, but those that do will find that Disney Sports Soccer will wake up the soccer fan in everyone, all while playing as the leader of the club that's made for you and me!


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