reviews\ Oct 25, 2000 at 8:00 pm

Backyard Soccer MLS Edition - PC - Review - PC - Review

Since 1992 Humongous Entertainment has been a leader in bringing games to children and is well known for their perfect balance of creating games which are not only fun, but also educational. Backyard Soccer MLS is the latest Humongous sports game in which children will not only receive hours of entertainment, but also learn how the game of soccer is played. The game itself is a "goal in one".

To begin the game, you pick your own team, logo and uniforms. For your team you may choose your Backyard friends or players from the professional U.S. Soccer Team. The process of forming your own team is an excitement in itself, as the child is able to exercise choice and while doing so, quickly learns what exactly goes into team choice. Each potential teammate has a Skill Ratings box showing their strengths and weaknesses. The first time the child plays the game they may find that your choices were not the best ones they could have made; but the second time around, they are thrilled when they make selections based on the plus or minuses of their first picks. It is a great trial and error process.

You are then ready to begin the game, choosing the level you are comfortable with. After the level is picked, the game is ready to begin, and what a game it is! The graphics are some of the best of any game I have found, and the sound quality is excellent. Children will learn about the plays in soccer such as pass, trap and goal. The play is called out as it happens, allowing the player to quickly pick up on what works best in the situation. Of course a goal is announced in style and very similar to a real soccer game, and gives the child a very real feel of accomplishment.

I have to admit that I love the soccer moms, two women who discuss plays at intervals. For those who have been to their children's soccer games, you swear that these two women were women you must have sat next to once or twice. They add a delicious sense of humor and you can't help but laugh.

Play options are numerous and you can choose to play against the computer, play with a friend, or just try a few games alone. You can only make this a one game play or choose to play a season. The game itself is easy to maneuver as it involves using only mouse and keyboard controls.

This game is for 5 and up. A 5-7 year old will probably need help the first few times around, explained the plays and how each one affects the game. This game is fun, challenging and above all lets all of us learn how to say goooooaaaaaal!

Installation- Requires only the installation of a single CD, which on a 56K modem will take about 10 minutes.

Gameplay 8- The game goes slow enough for the child to get a true handle on the game, yet challenging enough for them to want to continue playing. It is easy to understand and encourages choices.

Graphics 8- The graphics are bold and bright and help with bringing the whole game together. The facial expressions are perfectly in tune with each play. The clubhouse, field and players themselves are clear and engaging.

Sound 8- The sound is crystal clear and so are all the ahhs and yays of the crowd as the team is in progress. The voices are great in texture and there also a myriad of differences so you do not feel as if one player is the same as the next.

Difficulty 5- The difficulty really ranges here, as it changes as it is played. At first, children will need the help of a parent to explain the game in detail; but after the first time playing, they begin to understand the plays themselves. I would say that after three games, the difficulty would be rated as a 3.

Concept 8- The concept is great as it is not only geared toward teaching children about the game itself, but also promoting choice and good sportsmanship. The children have fun while learning to make choices wisely and accept that a mistake in choice is not the worst thing in the world, but a chance to learn.

Overall Score 8- I gave this an overall score of 8 as it is challenging to play yet easy enough for the age groups it is geared toward. The combination of great graphics, clear and very audible sound with a sense of humor thrown in for the commentary makes this one of the must own games for those who love playing sports games.

Game Requirements: Windows: Pentium 166, Windows 95/98, 16 MB Ram, 4X CD ROM MacIntosh:132 MHz Power PC, System 7.5.3 32 MB Ram, 4xCD ROM


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