Sunday, October 7, 2012
The characters are blessed with voices, the crowd cheers for goals, and we're all exposed to forgettable red book tunes in the PCE CD rendition of Nekketsu Koukou Soccer. That stuff is largely frivolous, though; the only truly noteworthy deviation from the formula employed for the HuCard version of the game is the anime-style manner in which opening, closing, and intermediary scenes are presented.
While such cinemas were considered obligatory for PCE CD releases, I'm not sure that they affect the NKS experience in a positive way. Animated bits involving the blockheaded in-game sprites often play a significant part in endearing Kunio games to players; eschewing those distinctive character models and rendering the cast members as generic, stupid-looking anime kids detracts from the charm of the affair.
Of course, if we cut away the gratuitous fluff (of which there isn't much anyway), we're left with the same clunky soccer game we can find on chip. Players must make the best of a cumbersome system that allows them direct command of but one member of their club and engage in a never-ending string of awkward scrums for the ball. The winner of a given match is frequently the team that can execute more "super shots," which typically bash goalies aside as they hurtle towards the net.
Lest I shortchange the disc, I must mention that CD Soccer-hen does present more clubs to square off against than does its HuCard counterpart. Of course, this simply resulted in prolonged agony for me.
It won't be that way for everyone, though. Kunio fans are a loyal breed, and those considering a Soccer-hen purchase might as well knock themselves out with both renditions, as each comes cheap and the whole soccer element will probably be considered incidental anyway. Those who have no prior allegiance to the hunchbacked hooligans and are actually interested in acquiring a decent soccer sim would do well to check out Power Eleven instead.