The Sega Genesis Challenge – World Championship Soccer

It’s time to mix things up and play some soccer! And not just any soccer, but World Championship Soccer.

Before I begin, let me preface this by saying that I’m not very experienced with sports games, particularly the more realistic variety. I always enjoyed arcade style sports games such as NFL Blitz or NBA Jam where I didn’t have to know player’s stats or what plays to run in order to have a good time. For me it’s about playing the video game rather than playing a simulation of a live game.

World Championship Soccer is firmly planted in that arcade style genre and I had a lot of fun with it for that reason. The game has a top down view point, automatically switches control to the player nearest the ball, and boils the stats down to a handful of values that you will promptly forget once you start playing.

The controls are straightforward with the A button shooting the bowl/slide kicking, the B button passes the ball through the air/switches team members, and the C Button kicks the bowl in the direction the player is facing/switches team members. The game play is pretty frenetic so I found myself rarely switching between members of my team and instead focusing on the player I was controlling at that moment. Stealing the ball from the opposing team is pretty straightforward, but keeping it is where the real challenge comes in.

The stats assigned to each team/player help break the game down into some challenge levels. If you want to have an easy time, use a team with very high stats such as Brazil. If you want more of a challenge, use a team with lower stats such as China.

The graphics and sounds are pretty basic with little to really differentiate each team from the other aside from jersey colors. This is in line with many other sports titles of the time and doesn’t really detract from the overall experience.

If you enjoy arcade style sports games, particularly soccer, I would definitely recommend checking this title out. If you aren’t big on soccer or the sports genre, then this one is probably a pass for you. The gameplay is fun, but it’s not genre-defining and I wouldn’t call it a must play.