"Great Soccer" is one of the very first games released for the Mark III in Japan, in 1985. It is also one of the smallest games (32 KB), released on a card in both Japan and Europe (must not be confused with "World Soccer", which was released as "Great Soccer" in the U.S.). Being the first soccer game released for the system, it holds up quite well against later Master System soccer games, which weren't THAT much better, even though they are much larger. That being said, "Great Soccer" is in no way a fantastic game.
The pitch is very small, and actually there are only five players on each team. Maybe you could say it's five-a-side football. Also the game is very slow, so if the field was any larger it would take forever to reach the opponent's goal. It still feels very slow though, and the screen isn't able to scroll so that the ball is always in the middle of the screen. Instead you either see the top of the field, the middle, or the bottom. When the ball gets close to the edge, the screen moves so that you see another part of the field. This can be a bit annoying as you reach the opponent's goal. Often when the screen moves and you can see the goal, it's too late to shoot.
Passing the ball is also very difficult, and another problem is you control both outfield players and the goalkeeper at the same time, which often brings the keeper out of position.
"Great Soccer" has its charm though, and it reminds me of a time when life was much simpler. You can't select which team you want to be, but does it really matter? In "Great Soccer" it's just red against blue, and you can play against the computer or against a friend. As simple as that. And trying to get the players to do what you want is a fun challenge, rather than being frustrating. So I like the game in some ways, even though it's very simplistic and probably didn't take too long to make. There are better soccer games for the Master System, but as this was the first, it deserves some recognition.
Same name, different game
This game must not be confused with the American "Great Soccer", which is the same game as "World Soccer".
An authentic soccer game is now yours for the playing. Kick off! Break through the center and with precise footwork, quickly pass the ball to a team member in your march down the field. Now it's back to you and your get off a great kick! The ball curves and arcs its way towards the goal. Oh no! It hits the goalpost and bounces off but is immediately taken by your teammate who follows up with a shot and scores! As in the actual sport, GREAT SOCCER includes OFFSIDE, CORNER KICKS and many other rules, thus greatly adding to its appeal as a truly exciting and authentic soccer game.