Striker misses

VIRTUA STRIKER 2, for Sega Dreamcast, $60. Rating: NN


Rating: NNNNN


Considering the awesome graphic power of Sega’s Dreamcast system and the tremendous appeal of soccer and soccer games — one-fifth of all households in England have a PlayStation, and most of those also have a copy of the FIFA 2000 soccer game — you might expect Sega to come up with a kick-ass soccer simulator. Not so.

Instead, rather than use its super processor to flatten FIFA, Dreamcast’s footie game is an underwhelming home version of the mega-popular arcade game Virtua Striker 2.


Famous fixtures

As with most arcade simulators, the range of options here is limited. There are only national competitions, no club battles, so those hoping to replay famous fixtures between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are out of luck.

Also sorely lacking are the actual on-pitch moves. Where FIFA 2000 allows for a host of tactics from tricky dekes and telegraphed crosses to leg-breaking, card-inducing tackles, Virtua Striker makes no use of the numerous triggers on Dreamcast’s enhanced controller. The game essentially restricts you to kicking the ball, maybe using your head or occasionally sliding in a back-heel pass.

These limitations are acceptable in an arcade, when the machine has two buttons and your quarter gets you 90 seconds of play. But at home, when hour-long stretches of time are just waiting to be wasted, the shortcomings of Virtua Striker 2 are more frustrating than entertaining. Not exactly the kind of game you’d expect from the folks who’ve brought us NBA and NHL 2K.

Your best shot at replicating the crunching tackles and bicycle kicks of next month’s Euro 2000 challenge at home remains FIFA 2000. Pick France.

mattg@nowtoronto.com

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