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Overview

Goal! (a.k.a. Dino Dini's Soccer on the Mega Drive and SNES) is Dino Dini's next soccer game after Kick Off 2. Dino Dini is a musician, singer and songwriter who happens to also be a computer game developer specializing in football games, which is the field he is most known for. It's a top-down soccer game.

Goal! was published by Virgin games and it shipped 60,000 units on the first day. Goal! was also converted to Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in North America) and SNES.

Gameplay

Goal! might look like Sensible Soccer (little men on the pitch) but plays very differently. In order to pass the ball the player needs to press and hold the joystick button (or applicable button on the Genesis/SNES controller). The player will keep the ball at his feet. Choose a direction with the joystick and release the button. The player will pass the ball in the designated direction. Shooting is done by pressing the button once and applying after touch. The player can chip the ball, by pushing the joystick up and down quickly. Pressing the button while the ball is in mid-air will result in a header by the nearest player. Sliding is really exaggerated. Sometimes players come flying in. Taking corners and free kicks is easy. Before the kick is taken, a dotted line is drawn away from the ball. This is controlled by the joystick, and is used to determine the angle, strength and trajectory of the shot. Throw-ins also use this method, though, which is a shame because now they tend to break up the flow of the game.

There are four views to choose from. A bird's eye view and a close-up view, up or down or left to right. The game features very intelligent computer opponents who do not just stick to set pieces - they actually think for themselves. The action replay facility has been extended over the previous Kick Off games. The function keys are used to control fast forward, rewind and slow motion functions, very much like a video editor. When a goal is scored, the replay is shown automatically, as is the trend with recent games. The facility is also available for the player to record all of the action replays within a game to disk.

Graphics are clear 2D sprites. Sound effects are limited to the occasional crowd noise and ball bouncing and whistle.

The player can compete in a lot of different European leagues and international tournaments. There are no licensed players though. The player can play with a range to European country teams, of which they can change the starting line-up and formation. All the Premier leagues are in there, with authentic home and away kits and up-to-date squads, as well as a full complement of international teams. The Genesis and SNES versions, however, only have the international teams.

The player can also edit them to create their own custom teams, change the names of all the players and redesign the kit designs and colors, although the actual statistics of the individual players can't be altered, and the teams are all of differing standards. The player can even choose the referee for the match, with each ref's statistics determining what percentage of fouls he spots and how tough he is on penalizing. If a player gets away with a couple of fouls, he's more likely to get a yellow or red card when he commits another foul later on.

Also there, is the Arcade Challenge mode, in which games play successively in five different speeds, until the player loses. As the player wins each game, the goal difference is multiplied by the number of the stage, and added to the overall score. A competition or a practice match is also possible. The most notable exception, however, is the lack of a cup competition. Finally the game lets the player adjust some of the settings, like wind strength, the kind of pitch, the game duration, level of difficulty and game speed of the computer opponent, etc. Many of these settings are missing for the console versions.

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