Friday, November 2, 2007

bargain.bin retro review: Sensible Soccer (Amiga)

Bargain.bin is another new column here @ Retro Treasures, cunningly developed to complement the recent addition of eBay Rampage and guarantee you hours of retro gaming pleasure. Oh, yes, and it will mostly be about reviewing and helping you track & grab classic yet affordable retro games.

Admittedly 1992 doesn't feel like ages ago, but try telling this to a 16 year old gamer used to calling football soccer and believing that FIFA is the best thing since sliced bread got sliced... Bah! Anyway, 1992 was, among other things, the year when Sensible Software, already acclaimed developers of Parallax, Wizball and Mega Lo Mania, released the best footie game ever: Sensible Soccer. Or to be precise: Sensi.

Sensi was rather obviously an Amiga 500 football game, that eventually went on and ported itself to every conceivable format (even the Atari Jaguar and the Xbox Live Arcade got a taste) and then spawned ten or so sequels, with the latest one being the surprisingly decent Sensible Soccer 2006. Truth is though, that as Sensi begot Sensi the line reached it's apex in Sensible World of Soccer; SWOS. It had everything the original had, better graphics, a management side and tons more. Was it a better game? Yes. Is the original Sensi still the best footie ever created? Yes. How come? Well, figure it out yourselves mates (hint: innovation).

Now, to the game per se and specifically to its Amiga version which was (still is really) by far the best one available. Sensi, not unlike Kick Off and Kick Off 2 before it, is a zoomed out top-down 2D football game complete with tiny stylized player sprites, who might not be able to control the ball or dribble that well, but definitely do run like hell and are incredibly responsive to the joystick's command. The game features quite a few 1992 national and club teams with proper names, a selection of different terrains that actually make a difference, rudimentary tactics, a surreal league, ueber stylish graphics, great sound, customizable players and in general anything you can imagine a 16-bit footie game could ever manage and more. Mind you though, them features were by no means the game's true strength, they were just the icing on the cake.

FIFA 08, you see, has got all of the above, amazing 3D graphics and tons more, but still plays like shit. Sensible Soccer on the other hand really managed to capture the spirit of the beautiful game and more impressively the pace. The thing feels proper, mostly since the developers tried to emulate the way the game is played and not the way it's presented on TV, and, what's more, all you'll need to enjoy is a one button joystick and mastery of the brilliant after touch mechanic. Oh, and the supported two-player game makes Wii Sports seem boring.

So, care for a verdict then? Good. Sensible Soccer is an absolute classic and as it also turned out to be a huge commercial success, you won't have trouble finding yourselves a cheap boxed copy. Believe me, it's football as the gods intended it to be.

Where to get it (tehe):
Sensible Soccer Amiga:,
Sensible Soccer in general:,
Sensible Soccer 2006: Codemasters, Play-Asia

More Sensi web-bits:

More bargain.bin retro reviews:
Berzerk (Atari 2600/VCS)
Target; Renegade (8-bits)


  1. WizBall! That was a good game to play. Glad to see that it finally got a mention in some article.

  2. Oh, and it will probably get some more exposure dear Blue Gnome. After all it's a personal favorite and has gotten some pretty decent remakes...

  3. What good memories... Nothing to see with the FIFA or Pro Evolution games published today!

    I gave a look on internet and i found theme to replay again, Sensible soccer to download, and download Sensible Soccer 96-97 the one I loved most!

  4. Good old Sensible, best football game ever. :)

  5. Absolutely agree. Can't give up hope on a straight Amiga port to the PC with online capabilities.