World Cup Italia '90

10/29/2012 12:01:59 AM

By Tommy

It's the summer of 1990 and football (soccer) fans all over the world gather around their TV screens to watch the World Cup, which is being held in Italy this year. And kids gather around the TV screens in order to play this Sega Master System game - World Cup Italia '90!



Well, maybe only a small portion of kids around the world played it, but I was one of them, although I got it well after the World Cup was over - probably a year or so later. I didn't care about that though - I was just happy to get my first football game (soccer game for those of you who don't understand that football is supposed to be played with your feet).

Before I got this game I had played another game called "World Cup Italia '90" on my friend's Commodore 64, and I liked that one, but it was completely different than this Master System game. In fact, four different games are named after the 1990 World Cup, and it seems all of them had the right to call themselves the "official" 1990 World Cup game. The Master System game was developed by Sega, and a Mega Drive version as well as a MS-DOS version were also made.

Perhaps the reason why there were so many World Cup games that year was because the 1986 World Cup game had flopped so miserably? 1986 was the first year an official FIFA World Cup game was released, but the developers had problems finishing the game in time for the World Cup. Instead publisher U.S. Gold bought the rights to a previous football game, and re-fit it as "World Cup Carnival". Reviewers and gamers were not happy with this, and the game flopped. So when four World Cup games were made for the 1990 World Cup, at least one of them had to get it right, right?

Well, this Master System game is a game I probably feel is a little better than it actually is, because I owned it as a kid and played it a lot. It gets points for charm and great music, but even I have to admit it has its flaws. The field is too small, and it doesn't actually feel like real football. In most cases you can just let the game continue playing without doing anything and the opponents will use a long time to score against you - if they score at all! Your goalkeeper will save most shots. It's also quite easy to score once you find the right technique. I remember being able to beat UAE 38-0 once playing as West Germany, using this technique I developed as a kid where you run against the goal and pass the ball to another another attacker just as the goalkeeper is coming out and then let him shoot into the open goal. If you play against better teams it get's more difficult though.

One thing that's cool about the game is the penalty shootout contest, which you see from a different perspective than the matches themselves. While the matches use a top-down perspective (which was normal for football games from this period), you see the penalty contests from the penalty taker's perspective. I thought this was cool as a kid. You can either play penalties if a game ends with a draw in the last stages of the World Cup (there is no extra time), or you can just select to play a penalty contest from the main menu. You can then either play against a friend or the computer.

All in all this is a game that I have fond memories of, and for its time it wasn't such a bad game. Greater football games from 1990 or before do exist, however...

Download theme which can be used in RetroCopy v1.0:
http://www.retrocopy.com/blogimages/world-cup-italia-90.zip (253 KB)

This theme is quite simple, and didn't take a long time to make. It uses the title screen as its inspiration, and of course the Italian flag, which the title screen tries to look like. The left and right items show Ciao, the mascot for the 1990 World Cup, which could also be found in the title screen. Even though it's simple, I like this theme and I like how the red and green areas move up and down in RetroCopy.


Title screen

In Brazil, they decided to change the title to Super Futebol II, probably because the 1990 World Cup was over by the time it got released there. However, it was only the box which called it "Super Futebol II", the ROM was unchanged and the title screen still said "World Cup Italia '90".



Download theme which can be used in RetroCopy v1.0:
http://www.retrocopy.com/blogimages/super-futebol-ii.zip (260 KB)

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