RedCard Soccer 20-03Gamers beware! Although this title claims to be one year into the future, I found it to be crap from the past! Redcard Soccer 20-03 arrives into the soccer scene well before Konami or EA Sports released their 2003 versions of soccer heaven and glory. Midway decides to add a twist to their debut soccer title giving gamers a different game with different rules. Redcard Soccer 20-03 is a fast, hardcore, adrenaline-pumping style soccer game where a normal match of soccer will never seem the same again. Midway is offering gamers a completely new soccer experience, but is it all really worth it? Unfortunately, Redcard Soccer 20-03 is a port that had been delayed for a while to improve gameplay and make the game solid. While itâ€™s going to appear on the Nintendo Gamecube, Midway has given Xbox players a big bonus with exclusive new fantasy characters and arenas only found on the Xbox version of Redcard Soccer 20-03. Although there isnâ€™t much of a visual or gameplay difference from the other console versions, thereâ€™s still more polish on the Xbox version. But is this an advantage in the end? Gameplay: Redcard Soccer 20-03 offers gamers basic gameplay with no real worthwhile modes. Some might feel that itâ€™s not needed because the actual game is so exciting and fun. One you start the game, itâ€™s fairly simple and easy to find your way around and start a game. The main screen to start a friendly game, start an advance game where you can enter a tournament, challenge the world in a â€œworld conquestâ€, and you can also customize your own team. While it doesnâ€™t seem like a whole lot of gameplay action, it will still keep you busy for quite some time. Advance play offers three different game modes of play. The first is world conquest. Your goal for world conquest is to match up against other countries and defeat them one after another. Choose your country of choice and head out to all the continents of the world challenging countries based in the continent. Finals mode lets you completely skip the hassle of world conquest and lets you directly head to the world finals for a chance to win it all. Pick your country of choice and cross your fingers as you go for it all. This mode is much more quicker and efficient then completely going through the ever so long world conquest mode. The last mode in advance play is the tournament mode. This mode allows you and some friends to set up your own tournament of soccer madness. Up to 16 teams can participate in the tournament which can take a bit to fully setup but itâ€™s very enjoyable. Midway always likes to keep it real and fun when it comes to their sports titles. Redcard Soccer 20-03 includes full 11 on 11 soccer action. Fortunately for us, they decided to add a little realism to their soccer title, unlike previous player in NHL Hitz 20-02. Unfortunately, the realism gets lost when you come face to face with the referee Midway has put into the game. The referee can really be a game breaker in decisive games. Heâ€™ll call unnecessary and questionable fouls on plays. Itâ€™s best to try to put the referee strictness bar low unless you enjoy hundreds of fouls, free kicks, and penalty shots in your soccer game. Redcard Soccer 20-03 has probably some of the strangest controls I have seen in a game in a long time on any console. It took me a few angry matches to finally get a good hand of the controls to the fullest. After I was set, it was hard not to forget. To perform a regular shot at the net will require you to press the white or right analog control stick. I still canâ€™t seem to figure out why they couldnâ€™t use the A, B, X, or Y button as a shooting button. Even with this strange control system, Midway has still created a great set of different and thoughtful controls. Pressing the R trigger will give your controlled player a speed burst. Press the Y button will give you a â€œthru-passâ€ where the controlled player after passing the ball, continues to run towards the net giving you another player option, increasing the chances of a good scoring chance. There are many more pass buttons and options that help but is it a little too much? The simple controls in 2002 Fifa World Cup were great but Midway had plans to step up the gameplay a couple of notches. Adding to the gameplay in Redcard Soccer 20-03 is the 1-2-3-4 meter. The meter adds to the gameplay by adding insane offensive and defensive moves. With a certain amount of numbers left in your meter, you can perform great feats and amaze yourself and your friends. If you have two numbers in your meter and you double tap the R trigger (speed burst button) you can perform a fiery double speed burst. Also, if you have three numbers in your meter available and your near the opponents goal (around the 18 yard line) and press the left trigger + the shoot button, you will perform a matrix style, slow-motion shot thatâ€™s uncontrollable, fast, and directly at the net. Adding these options to Redcard Soccer 20-03 really gives gamers the ultimate action in a soccer game that canâ€™t be found anywhere else. Thatâ€™s the Midway difference. One thing Midway never fails to please, is the extras they reward you with for your hard work playing the game. Unlocking hidden teams and stadiums are one of the great features of the game. There are many great hidden, humorous teams and stadiums to unlock in Redcard Soccer 20-03. One of the best ways to unlock the secrets of Redcard is to thoroughly go through the world conquest mode. By going through each continent, youâ€™ll face off against a hidden team in a hidden stadium. Beating them will secure the team and stadium in your hands, and it will then be available to use for regular play. There are, however, problems to the game. The game can get very repetitive and boring after youâ€™ve went through only a couple of matches. Youâ€™ll tend to hear the same reactions and sounds, and see the same emotions and reactions. Redcard Soccer 20-03 just doesnâ€™t give enough push to the game to make it an inforcer. Special shots and player reactions, especially to goals scored, get very old and plain fast.
A pretty big noticeable problem is the shooting and free kicking system. The shooting in Redcard is oddly controlled and itâ€™s difficult to get a shot right where you want it to go, especially when performing special shots. Free kicks tend to get even worse. The option to pass the ball on a free kick is not an option. The only option is to shoot the ball at the net hoping youâ€™ll get lucky and score on the goalkeeper. Itâ€™s a little disappointing to see this but itâ€™s definitely an area to improve on for a future installment of Redcard. More options and gameplay modes would also have made the game more effective and fun. Mini games would have definitely been a big plus to the game. Adding a shootout playoff mode or some MLS teams could have made the game benefit. Although the create a team and player mode is good, itâ€™s still not enough to completely satisfy a hardcore soccer gamer. Redcard Soccer 20-03 is definitely a hard hitting, hard action soccer title with mediocre game modes. They might take some time to completely go through, but itâ€™s really going to get old and repetitive. Redcard Soccer 20-03 really should be a fun, enjoyable game to play, but I really didnâ€™t have fun playing this game, I felt it was a complete waste of my time. Iâ€™d suggest major improvement for next yearâ€™s title, if this soccer series from Midway wants to be successful. To get full use of this game would require going through the game many times for full use and enjoyment. Graphics: Through the years, Midway has impressively improved their visuals in their video games a great deal and this has brought them great success. Redcard overall, looks great, but thereâ€™s plenty of room for improvement for the next title. Youâ€™ll notice great design and push in stadiums and grass texture and also notice poor team and player design. Character models are done well and polished, but not up to par.. Now I know it would be challenging to capture every single player face in soccer but most players on each team look the same, like twins. There needs to be more facial and body design. Only well known soccer players should be easy to notice in Redcard. This is one area Midway will need to take a look at for Redcard 20-04. Player body movement, I must say, is great. Players move great running down the field or hurdling over another player. Players performing a special move or tackle are extremely well designed and detailed. There are hundreds of captures motions and moves that Midway has entered into Redcard Soccer 20-03. The hidden teams and stadiums are very impressive and Midway has always pleased the gamer with their great imagination for different teams and stadiums. The design is done very well and will impress having you want more. Actual team stadiums are also well designed. Stadiums are designed big and they look great. One noticeable thing is the crowd. There fairly hard to notice and thereâ€™s not to many times where the camera focuses in on the crowd. The crowd is, however, lively. Youâ€™ll also notice many country flags being waved around and about. Visuals in Redcard are decent but could have been better. There are great areas such as the grass texture, hidden teams and stadiums. There are also bad parts such as the player and facial design. Midway is debuting a first time soccer title, so there are always going to be some problems to fix for a future installment. I just interest to see what there going to come up with next year. Sound: Oh my, itâ€™s so bad! Definitely nothing at all from what you would come to expect from Midway. The commentary is soâ€¦normal! Thereâ€™s not humor in it at all. Itâ€™s nothing you would hear in NHL Hitz or NFL Blitz. Redcard Soccer 20-03 has crazy, hardcore action and gameplay with calm, pleasant commentary. Should we have predicted this? I never saw this coming. The commentary is very basic and straight forward. Thereâ€™s not too much emotion coming from the commentators. Itâ€™s very plain. Sadly, after playing the game for a few hours, it wasnâ€™t hard to realize what was going come out of the commentatorâ€™s mouth next. Youâ€™re possibly better off turning on the radio or playing a CD. I did enjoy it when a team scored, because the music played while the team was celebrating the goal was catchy and fitted the scene right on. The crowd emotions and cheers are well done, but nothing compared to 2002 Fifa World Cup. Player sounds are also interesting, from the thump you hear when they hit the ground after a hard tackle, to the noise they make when their pushed around. Replay Value: Since thereâ€™s no real soccer competition on the Xbox yet, Redcard Soccer 20-03 might be worth checking out, but buying it is really totally up to you. I would suggest renting the 20-03 version and looking into the 20-04 version more. 2002 Fifa World Cup is more worth checking out than Redcard. The game will keep you busy for awhile if you looking to fully complete the game. Overall: Itâ€™s a solid performance that should have taken the pit stop in the final laps of the championship race. But it didnâ€™t and thatâ€™s why Redcard Soccer 20-03 falls behind in performance. The gameplay will be a little long and challenging but nothing one canâ€™t handle in a few day rental from a store. Go for the rental with Redcard, buying the game might be a foul. --Chris Banovic