reviews\ Nov 18, 2002 at 7:00 pm

David Beckham Soccer - GBA - Review

OK … I am not a major soccer fan, only because I don’t get a chance to really watch it and wasn’t really sure who David Beckham was until a couple of days ago. The GBA game David Beckham Soccer provided a neat little background on him going from his youth up to current achievements … so off I went to play the game with a little more knowledge of who this guy was. Well, all I have to say is that if he and soccer itself were anything like this title, I don’t think anyone would watch it at all.


DBS is a game that puts you in control of a massive selection of over 200 international teams, competing against other teams throughout the world in the most popular sport around. You can choose from teams like the U.S., Algeria, and Manchester United … but it offers nothing more than a jersey color. That’s right … there are no team stats, and no telling which team is better in what than whom … so selecting one team from another won’t necessarily determine who’s the better of the two. There are a few game modes to select from, like a single match up, a knockout ladder style league, a season league, and a euro league, which pits 8 groups of four teams each against each other in elimination style play. Other than lots of teams to select from and a few different play options, that’s the end of the good stuff.


OK … when I first turned this game on, I was ready for something really awesome. The opening has this theme music that does a great build up job to the title screen, and pops up with a cool electric blue still shot of David Beckham in the middle of a game, complete with lighting effects that looked fantastic on the GBA. I quickly chose a one on one game, since the opening got me so ready to hit the Futbol field, and slowly felt the excitement fade into boredom, disappointment, and quite frankly … annoyance that a game could be this poorly done. Let me explain …


Starting off, two different looking teams took either side of the field to some crowd cheering and chanting. Not too bad. Then I got a glimpse of the crowd, which looked like a Lego convention frozen in place, and staring out onto the plain green field. Shortly after, the game started and all noise went completely silent. No kicking sounds, no crowd noises, and no running feet or anything. I could have forgiven the plain and blocky graphics and the complete silence, if only things hadn’t gotten worse from there.


Let’s talk AI for a moment … since Majesco and Rage obviously forgot to put it in there altogether. When you select a team, you pick the formation that you want them to take, which positions your forwards, halfbacks, and fullbacks. It’s pretty accurate … all the way up to them pretty much standing there the whole time that way. When one of my players got the ball, passing was kind of a dead issue … considering no other teammates bother to come up the field and help out on offense. It was bad enough that when I would pass the ball, often times they would just stand there and stare at it because it went about 2 millimeters outside of their assigned zone, so it was up to the one player against the whole other team.


When the other team has the ball, you can perform slide tackles to get the ball away and into your possession. The problem with this is that about 80% of the time, a slide tackle will result in a foul for tripping … which brings the ref out onto the field by having him run over the top of the lego crowd’s heads and onto the field (another graphics issue), where he and both teams just stand there for about 10 seconds waving back and forth. Don’t worry if and when you get penalized though since the opposing team passes the ball to your players almost all of the time anyway whether it be a penalty or a throw in (more of a kick in). Since there are no corner kicks, there’s no need to worry about those at all.


Let’s talk about the goalie for a moment, since he was my last hope for something good to say about this game. Well, he’s about as smart as the rest of the lot out there on the field, and is apparently afraid of getting dirty since he never dives or jumps for the ball. He just sits at the side of the goal that the ball handler is coming from, and a shot to the other side gets him lazily jogging over to try and get in front of it. By that time, it’s too late … and a goal has been scored. The same issue is found on penalty kicks, and you or the computer are 99% assured that a penalty kick will be a goal since he won’t dive for those either unless it’s in a sudden death shootout.


Overall, I have to say that this is by far one of the most disappointing and seemingly unfinished games that I have ever played in my entire life. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, and even the most extreme of soccer fans should use caution when thinking about buying it.


Gameplay: 4.1
On the plus side, it’s David Beckham, the controls are easy to figure out, there are 200 teams to choose from, a tutorial mode and a variety of play modes. On the downside, there are three shooting directions … straight, 45% to the left, and 45% to the right … and a whole slew of others including almost no AI at all, dull and repetitive backgrounds, and a biased ref who calls tripping penalties on you even when your opponent was the culprit … to name a few.


Graphics: 4.6
In quick form … the same field over and over again, legos for the crowd, a ref who runs over spectators, and nothing more to distinguish one team from another except jersey colors.


Sound: 4.0
Umm … almost none? There’s a neat theme song, the crowd cheering in the beginning and end, and about a one second crowd chant if a penalty is thrown, but that’s it … literally. The game itself is a silent movie.


Difficulty: Hard
It’s one man against a whole team most of the time, unless you are on defense … and you will be a lot. Don’t worry though; your goalie will cheer you on since he’s obviously not doing anything else most of the time anyway.


Concept: 4.5
Even with a neat little biography on David Beckham, this is by far the worst soccer game I think I’ve ever played.


Multiplayer: N/A
A soccer game with no multiplayer??? What’s the deal???


Overall: 4.0
This has to be one of the most rushed and unfinished game I have ever had to sit and play. Honestly, I wouldn’t buy this if it was the only game out for the GBA. If you are a big David Beckham fan, that’s about the only reason I would say to get it. For those of you looking for a soccer game on the GBA for the upcoming holiday season … stay far, far away.   

Below Average

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