World Soccer / Sports Pad Soccer



If this is “world soccer,” then count me out.



World Soccer is known as Great Soccer in the U.S. only. Cause America just has to be different.


PLAYERS: 1-2 simultaneous


GENRE: Sports

RELEASE DATE: 07/19/87 – (JP), 10/1987 – (US, EU)

10/29/88 – (JP – rebundled as Sports Pad Soccer)


Wait, Dylan, didn’t you already review a soccer game for the Master System?


Why yes I did, reader with excellent memory. A few months back, I manhandled Great Soccer, one of Sega’s initial forays into sports for the Mark III/UK Master System (not Great Soccer for the US, which is actually World Soccer – oh, the confusion!). The game was bare-bones soccer at its most adequate – no team selection, difficulty options and little else, etc. – but it was far superior to the company’s paltry SG-1000 offering, Champion Soccer. World Soccer is a limited upgrade to Great Soccer that offers teams, a two-player option, horizontal instead of vertical play, and a nagging sense that your hard-earned soccer dollars have been pilfered.


World Soccer (E) [!]000

Bunch a googly-eyed ne’er-do-wells…


World Soccer is at least true to its name. Instead of being forced to play as a team of no-names, distinguishable only by their bright shirt colors, you have the option of eight soccer teams from around the globe. Argentina, Brazil, France (?!), England, the US, and so forth, are all represented here. As far as I could tell, the teams don’t have playing styles specific to them, so in theory, a team as banal as the US could beat a team as mighty as Brazil (I wouldn’t if I were you, though – such an upset would be reckless mismanagement of world soccer politics). Once you’ve picked a country to play as and a country to play against, the options end and soccer – such as it is – begins.


World Soccer (E) [!]001

In an extremely suspicious play, Brazil scores a goal!


Once you’re on the field, you’ll quickly notice that there’s zero fluidity to any player’s movements, including the computer’s. Imagine taking a little soccer player action figure, putting a ball in front of them, and moving them in short, sharp bursts, like a pawn in a chess game. That’s the soccer in World Soccer. Because every player moves this way, though, the playing field is level. Stealing a ball, passing the ball, and making goals take the same amount of time for both you and your opponent because of the five frames-per-second motion. This doesn’t make it right, but it does make the game fair.


World Soccer (E) [!]002

                  All is right with the universe.


Sega’s Sports Pad supposedly makes World Soccer come alive with freshness, but there’s little discernible difference between playing with the Pad and the regular controls. One might think that the trackball would smooth out the player’s movements, but no. They remain as stilted and frustrating as ever before. So what purpose does the Sports Pad serve in World Soccer? Well, if I had to theorize about some split-second decision made by a random Sega employee almost thirty years ago, I’d say Pad support was included to either a) justify the Pad’s existence in the first place (since this is only one of three games the Pad is compatible with). Or b) to trick consumers disappointed with World Soccer into thinking that the Sports Pad will set the game right. Oh Sega. Why must you fill our heads with lies and our consoles with bad sports games?


World Soccer (E) [!]003

This goal has been sponsored by Preparation H.


The Sports Pad doesn’t give World Soccer a reason to exist, but at least the game is mercifully brief. Two 3.5 minute quarters and you’re done. To some, this might seem like limited value, but to those of us who aren’t the biggest soccer fans or who don’t want to deal with Sega’s confusing attempts at soccer, a seven minute game is plenty of time. And if you’re really looking for a reason to play World Soccer more than needs be, there’s always two-player mode and, for some reason, a penalty kick mode where you and the computer alternate shots into each other’s goals. Let no player say that Sega doesn’t give. They just give on their own unusual terms.



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15 thoughts on “World Soccer / Sports Pad Soccer

  1. All I want is a soccer game where you can recreate all the fun and excitement of a bloody property damaging soccer riot, right in the comfort and safety of your own home!

  2. So as much as I want to comment on this terrible game I’ve never played I have a totally unrelated comment. I was thinking this morning while driving into work how it would be funny if on April Fools’ Day you wrote up a review for a fictitious Twin Peaks game released on whatever Sega system you are on by that time. I see all the Agent Cooper pictures and I love Twin Peaks. Just thought I would pass it along…I imagine you could do a lot with that considering how insane the show is and how atrociously it would be imagined in a game.

  3. I have the distinct feeling I just got the dismissive ellipses coupled with the patronizing “interesting idea” and the “yeah, we’ll talk about that later” promise. That’s ok…maybe it is one of those dumb ideas that comes to you when you’re driving to work on a Monday morning…but I will remind you and I am going to come up with some dumb pictures of Coop in Tibet fighting the Log Lady and eating donuts and apple pie and coffee.

    1. Not patronizing. Just something I never would have thought of. Then it got me thinking, Why hasn’t anyone come up with a homebrew Twin Peaks game? They have a friggin Great Gatsby game for crying out loud.

      So yeah, remind me. April 1 feels too far ahead to make promises, but I don’t want to disregard it.

  4. It’s a deal! I will remind you and I am going to make some pics while I’m at work…like I’m going to work at work or something…I associate Nesticle and Segadoes with my last two jobs more than I associate the jobs with the jobs…so keep up the good work!

  5. Good review as always Dylan.

    I like this game, I could happily while away a couple of hours playing this with a couple of beers.

    The thing I found refreshing about it was that unlike many football games of the era including the FIFA games that came later was that there was no formula to use to score a certain goal – you know on the FIFA games where you run up the wing and curl it past the keeper resulting in a goal nearly every time.

    In this game I noticed is that whoever you play the level of difficulty for the opponent is selected at random, you would find out fairly quickly as well if the opponent starts kicking your butt immediately or if you sail into a four goal lead, I liked this aspect of the game as the easier games allow you to understand how the game works and a lot of the time I found if I missed chances it was my error and not poor controls.

    The simplicity also appeals to me as an easy pick up and play game with no frills, I accept its shortcomings and enjoy it for what it is, I would give it a solid C.

    1. Thanks Munchymagic. I appreciate your insights.

      I’d comment on them, but I… really don’t remember much about this game. I reviewed it over five years ago, apparently? Yikes.

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