Ciao bella! Er, spaghetti bolognese! That’s about the extent of my Italian, does WC Italia 90 help you with your linguistic challenges? Well, no, but you will end up using a lot more “French” than you would have liked. The fact it’s come out in the same year as the tournament is great, we all look forward to official tournament games (cough, splutter…), the fact the players aren’t licensed is less great but the fake names resemble the real counterparts near enough.
The country select screen is an absolute joy! The world is well represented, all of the playable countries are coloured in and the cursor moves around with elan usually reserved for ballrooms. This is where the good things about WC Italia 90 come to a crashing halt. The rest of the presentation looks like something ported from an Einstein with the sound effects to match. Everything looks promising at kick-
Load up Paint, draw a black circle in an oval and you’ve pretty much got it. The animation when the players are tackling (will get onto that in a minute), heading the ball or doing a bicycle kick consists of one or two frames, at angles that make the top=down view look even more ludicrous. Dribbling is a chore, snails move quicker, but everything is slow so you can literally run rings around some teams. Short passing is painful and supremely accurate long punting of the ball Wimbledon style is an easy way to get into the opposition’s box.
Get your angles right and you can trickle the ball (using the apparent “shoot” button) past the all too lethargic goalkeepers. Tackling is nonsensical, the complete lack of free kicks makes this more like Aussie Rules than football, mauling people is the only way to get the ball. Goal kicks and corners feel completely random and games last about 20 minutes (well it feels like it anyway) and you can’t change this. The in-