SWOS 97/98

Title           SWOS 97/98
Game Type       Sport
Players         2
HD installable  HD-patch: aminet:game/patch/
Compatibility   all Amigas (AGA enhanced)
Submission      Isaac Abraham 

I remember when SWOS (belatedly) first came out to a mixed response. Some
claimed it was the greatest game of all, beating Sensi Soccer and Kick Off
2 by a mile. Others, myself included, were more critical. Glaring bugs and
features had been left in or out. Most magazines reviewed "unfinished"
copies (and Amiga Format had the gall to claim their`s was finished even
though their review had screenshots that could not have been from the
finished game!). Player values dropped no matter what. In general, it smelt.
However, that was yonks ago, and the latest incarnation, SWOS 97/98,
although slightly unofficial, has been here now for some time, and I`m glad
to say not only does it patch up the original`s faults, it gives a few new
features. For starters, the games takes much too long to load from floppy,
but with a hack off Aminet, it installs to your HD and loads within 5
seconds, and there`s no more disk swapping when loading in edited tactics or
careers either. Player values can easily rise (especially if you edit your
tactics properly). And player knocks heal far faster than previously.
Actually, most of these fixes were evident since 95/96. 97/98 contains new
teams for many leagues, and some tarted up graphics.
Anyway, onto the game itself. You can be a player/manager or manager
(despite what the packaging says, you cannot be a player). You can choose to
play a friendly, DIY cup/league, Preset Competition (almost any competition
anywhere in the world), or go for the Career mode. Here, you can begin as
any team, from the
not-so-mighty-anymore-but-wait-until-next-season-Tottenham to good old
Border Security from Calcutta. Yes, every professional team with supposedly
accurate player stats is here. Here, you play a 20 season career, get
offered new jobs from abroad or even international level, buy and sell, get
promoted, relegated, and sacked. It`s all very compelling, even if you just
go straight to the results, and as a season can take as little as 5-10
minutes, you can pick it up for a quick go, unlike the huge Championship
Manager. One similarity with CM is the in-between season waits. On floppy
A500, you`re looking at a 10 minute wait in between seasons, on my 030-A1200
HD, it takes about 2-3 minutes.
The best thing about SWOS is the in game part. As far as I`m concerned, even
without the managerial bit, it`s still the ultimate football game. You can
do flick-ons, slide tackles, diving headers, lobs, all within the flick of a
decent, microswitched, joystick. Multiplayer leagues are a laugh, especially
when your opponent`s star striker is injured for a few games allowing you to
run away with the league. It`s easy to learn, it`s accessible, you can
choose from 1500 teams, and the players take their shirts off when they
score in true, Paulo Wanchope fashion.
There are still a few niggly faults, like bookings not counting in all but
European competitions, computer players never getting sent off, and so on,
but in it`s (probably) final incarnation, the pros outweigh the cons by such
a large amount, I have no hesitation in awarding this game a huge thumbs up
to any football fan. But then again, everyone`s already bought this game by
now, surely? :)

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