Tag: Park Place Productions

150 SNES games reviewed #28: Ryan Giggs Champions World Class Soccer

Ryan Giggs Champions World Class Soccer was the game I played a little last night as well as early this morning. It is obviously a football (soccer) game and it was released on the SNES as well as the Mega Drive. It was developed by Park Place Productions and published by Acclaim.

You might not have heard of Park Place Productions largely because they were a bit of a bright light that burnt out very quickly. They were founded in 1989 and in 1993 they had become the largest independent developer of computer games. They had  130 developers making 45 games for 14 different publishers. At the end of December 1993 the company collapsed spectacularly. Basically they didn’t hit some targets they had been set by publishers and as a result of this they were denied payments, pulled out of contracts and literally left Park Place Productions up the creek without a paddle.

The first thing to note is that the whole Ryan Giggs thing is a bit of a con. The UK release featured a picture of the player on the game box and the cartridge label but any real connection to the guy or inclusion of his name ends there. The German version featured a player famous to them Sepp Maier, and the French featured a team likely to interest them, Paris Saint-Germain. None of the three have anything to do with the game beyond the box art and cartridge label though so from now on sod Giggs I will be referring to this as Champions World Class Soccer (or CWC Soccer if I get lazy).

Modes of play included in the game are the standard type, exhibition match and tournament mode. There are the obvious options to turn certain things off and mess with how long the matches last etc but nothing out of the ordinary.

The game’s presentation is pretty decent. There is a TV announcer talking about the match before it starts – talking as in text along the bottom of the screen, but the text is pretty cool. It mentions which team you are and what is good or bad about you. For example I got something on the lines of the following for my first match: “England have always been good at defence but there shooting record is a little unpredictable”. The in game graphics are pretty much the bog standard average football game graphics from this point in time so I don’t have a lot to say about them, they don’t make or break the game.

I like the fact that there is a big blue star around the character you are in control of. It is very easy to know who you are and then there is a button which seems to exist just to help you do little tricks either dribbling the ball around your feet, turning backwards for a second or shooting forward quickly – well, quickly for this game. Unfortunately this is the point at which my review has to get a little bit sour I am afraid that personally I feel that the gameplay is bad. The game is slow, both passing and shooting are hard and frustrating to the point you’ll soon find yourself turning the air blue. Sometimes it takes a few seconds for your character to become properly attached to the ball like you do in most football games. You will have ran on to the ball and it just wont end up under your control so you’ll be running backwards and forwards hoping it attaches to you and then a computer controlled player will just run straight up and claim it with no problem or pause in proceedings.

In my opinion this game is the worst SNES football game I have played so far. I like the TV start, I like the fact it makes it obvious who you are but I don’t really like the controls or the gameplay. It also didn’t give me my any of my demands such as great goal scoring animations or a voice shouting “Goal!”. I would give this game four out of 10 . It’s not unplayable but there are much better games out there for your cash. If you decide that you simply need this game to live the good point is it will cost you only £4 or £5 to buy it online and get it posted to you.

150 SNES games reviewed #18: ESPN Speed World

“EA Sports – It’s in the game,” as some of the old games used to say. I never quite got this. I didn’t quite know what it really meant. I presumed it meant that EA Sports games had great playability, a certain je ne sais quoi (a special quality which defies explanation).

I never got this myself though. Sure from time-to-time I would enjoy a EA Sports title but most of the time I saw them as being a celebration of style over substance. It was less about what was really ‘in the game’ and what they could put around the gameplay. What they could add to the presentation which would make there game seem like the A* football game or A* american football experience.

This might have seemed a slightly strange start to this review when I tell you that the game I have been playing is ESPN Speed World and that the game was made by a company called Park Place Productions and was published by Sony Imagesoft, you’ll see what I mean with the rest of this review though. The game was released in 1994 exclusively in North America as it was based on a TV series of the same name that was shown over there. The game has an official ESPN license but despite being about racing, Sony didn’t gain a NASCAR license, so you’re racing NASCAR Winston Cup stock cars but the real-life drivers’ names and likenesses are not here. At the start of the race though your met with some digitised footage of ESPN sports broadcaster Dr Jerry Punch which I am sure back in the day looked and sounded amazing but to my eyes now it looks rather poor.

Everything seems to be there – the tracks, the cars, the commentary – it’s only when you start driving that you realise something is really wrong. You don’t feel like you’re in control of the car at all. You feel like your in control of a skidding line. With some practice you can start to score wins but it never feels fun, it feels like a chore from start to end. I have literally have had more fun on racing games on the ZX Spectrum than on this game. This is when you start to realise that people would have realised this game was a pile of trash much quicker if it wasn’t for the licence and the fancy digitised speech and graphics glued on to this basic mess. It is a real lesson in how video game companies tried to polish a turd with licences and a bit of fancy presentation.

I spent £5 on this game including postage. I basically bought it because I was looking for cheap games I hadn’t played or really heard of before. I figured that I would take a shot at this game, and in honesty I regret it. If you want to try this game either because you don’t believe me or you like bad games there are a few important things to consider. The first is it was only released in the US so you’ll need either an NTSC machine, a modified machine or an import converter,  and the second is that you’re more than likely going to have to import it from the US (buy it from an eBay seller over there). This means even if you can get it cheap there’s going to be a fair bit of postage, a pain in the butt weight and a larger risk of it getting lost in transit, or the post services trying to charge you some kind of import tax on it. I strongly recommend you don’t bother as I rate this game as a three out of 10 at best, its certainly one of the worst ones I have played for this series so far.

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