Review: Codemasters Italia 1990 (Atari ST)

Equipment Used/Recommended

  • MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator.
  • Speedlink USB Joystick

My Review

So we’re doing a few non-ST Format reviews as well as going back to some older reviews and redoing them with accompanying videos – we’ll also be looking at other formats rather than just the Atari ST. I expect these to come out on Mondays.

So these Monday reviews have so far seen two excellent games in Little Computer People and Mouse Trap. However, sometimes it’s also fun to cover the absolute clunkers. This is one where to be honest you need to watch the video to get a true feel for just how bad it is. It’s really special.

The first thing is that this is a cut down version of another earlier game – that game had 4 modes while this one has two, and one of them is even numbered 3 in the UI to rub salt into the wound. That’s lazy.

The training section isn’t too bad, I suspect it’s there for screenshots. You have to restart your ST to get out of that and into the football game, and none of the work in the gym has any effect on the stats of your players (because they don’t have any).

The game purports to represent the World Cup but your team is named Reds and always plays in red, while the other team, no matter who it is, plays in a yellow-orange puke colour.

If you get a free kick you don’t have to pass it, you can just dribble it.

If you get the ball and dribble it, the other team’s players will mill around not doing much, and won’t be able to tackle you. A goal is a matter of a quick tap from outside the box if going down the pitch, or a quick tap just inside the box then walk it in if you’re going up the pitch. The difference is because going down it chips and going up it sends the ball along the ground. You can score a goal every 30 seconds or so.

The programmers decided that horizontal scrolling was too hard, so instead they flip the screen between the 3 thirds of the pitch.

Verdict

This is a game so bad as to be comical, though it’s not so funny that people spent money on it. It was in the top 3 of the budget charts for months so clearly a lot of parents made the same mistake mine did, buying this on the strength of its world cup connection. Licensing wasn’t so rigorously enforced in those days and it’s more than likely that Ruud Gullit had no idea he was on the cover of this game either. Play this only if you hate yourself.

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