Club Football - LUFC

Games - Club Football Review PS2
Club Football Review PS2

This is the time of year for the annual re-run of football games, Konami have brought out the brilliant Pro Evolution Soccer 3 to replace PES2 and EA have released FIFA 2004. Now there is a new kid on the block by the name of Club Football, Codemasters first attempt at the football genre and a definite hard nut to crack as PES3 provides the purist football gamers with their poison while EA accommodates the arcade styling of the beautiful game.

So where does Club Football fit in? Well Codemaster have been very clever and released several versions of Club Football for various teams around Europe. So if you are a teenager and there is an official football game for your club, such as Leeds United (I can't believe they made a LUFC version either) you would probably skip PES and Fifa series and take home a copy of a football game that represents your team. This is very clever idea that Codemasters have come up with and it is something that is sure to guarantee a good amount of sales from loyal supporters of the 17 club versions that are available.

So is Club Football any good? If you take a look at the screenshots you will notice that this game looks great and the presentation is fantastic on all of these games, the only difference is a couple of logos and a few statistics between each version. Well that is not entirely true because each club edition has had a lot of time spent on the look of the players for each club. We have a copy of the Leeds United and Real Madrid versions and the players are instantly recognisable, which is another great selling feature of the game. The player animations are also very well done, you will even notice the managers reactions on the side line. Some of the tackling animations could have had a little more time spent on them you can get a red card and sent off for some tackles that are distinctly weak and unobtrusive.

Games - Club Football Review PS2
Games - Club Football Review PS2

Club Football offers all the usual modes from quick play to a full season. If you choose to play the season mode you will have to play the team that is on the front of the box, so if you do buy the Leeds game you are in a bit of trouble when it comes to this mode unless you a bloody brilliant that is. Before the game starts Gary Lineker will run through the formations and the teams then the mic is handed over to Barry Davis who does a pretty good job of shouting out all the action on the pitch.

When you start to play the game you will notice that the home stadium of each game is an exact replica of what you see every other Saturday afternoon and the crowd will sing the clubs anthems throughout the game. If like me you will foul the opposing team almost immediately which in turn kicks in a very long animation of the fouling player having an argument with the ref and depending on the ferocity of the foul, the player being sent off. You will get sent off for tackling if you use the sliding tackle in the wrong situation in a similar way to PES3 but Club Football is far more sever with its red and yellow cards.

If you have played any of the Pro Evolution games you should find the controls very easy to get used to as they are the same. Unfortunately Club Football isn't as easy to get to grips with because the commands from the control pad as fairly sluggish, no where near as responsive as PES. On the other hand the goal keeper has a pretty decent AI so you shouldn't concede many goals where the goalie is to blame it will usually be your defence. Club football creates a real challenge for the player, it isn't that easy to score and it will take some hard work to get the ball and keep possession. As you progress though the game you will notice that some little extras become available and there is even some FMV clips available for which ever version you have bought.

All in all Club Football is a good solid game with a few niggling points such as the slightly sluggish control system and the annoying animated sequences after fouling, it's not PES but it is an alternative to FIFA. Considering this is Codemasters first attempt at a footy game they have to be commended for such a great effort, maybe a sequel will iron out all the little bugs and maybe improve upon the already very good game play. If you are a fan of one of these 17 clubs you probably will be buying yourself a copy of this title anyway, it is money well spent.

7.5 out of 10

View Club Football Screenshots