I remember staring, down and dejected, at a Tv screen after a typically dismal England performance. The commentators were as exasperated as I was and they asked a bullish, foppy, dredlocked Ruud Gullit for his analysis. What followed was a long and passionate monologue extolling the virtues of the dutch game. He dubbed the dutch style of play “sexy football” and soon everyone was mixing two of the most incompatible words in the english language to describe the beautiful game.
|For a laugh, the BBC pit "Sweet shot" Sue against
"a-a-abysmal defendin" Alan
Ou sont tes heros aux corps d'atheletes?
Now, if human endeavour has taught us anything irrefutable over the past get years, it’s this: sex sells. However any teenaged boys salivating over the prospect of bikini clad maidens cavorting seductively with a bladder of branded leather can stop right here. Similarly so can the rest of you expecting legions of orange shirted Netherlanders sweeping majestically across turf in free flowing 4-3-3 attacking formation. This game isn’t exactly for you lot either. What it can offer however, is a dodgy pun, some fine pixel art and a fun coffee break kickabout.
Sexy Football, as it’s name sneakily implies, is a confrontation between the two genders of the human race set within the confines of the beautiful game. This game at first glance appears to be beautiful itself , seemingly based on the game which consistently ranks alongside Pro Evolution Soccer as the greatest football game ever. Sensible Soccer.
|"Wodja mean I play like a girl?!"
Aim for the stars and you may reach the skies (or at the very least make it hard for the keeper)
Of course the limitations of flash mean that at this time, Sensible Soccer running in a flash window on your browser just isn’t possible. Thankfully, the devs have realised this and curtailed their game design accordingly. Each team now consists of four outfield players and a goalkeeper making each match the equivalent of a playground five-a-side jumpers for goalposts kind of affair. Funnily enough, the size of the pitch doesn’t really seem to reflect the reduced player count and the pitch can seem gargantuan in relation to the tiny sprites.
The controls are suitably simple with the arrow keys moving the selected player in the chosen direction, and the obligatory buttons for pass and shoot. That’s probably as much as anybody needs to know to begin playing the game, the only other trick in the player’s arsenal being the game’s own take on Sensi’s much lauded ‘aftertouch’ feature; holding the pass and shoot keys down determines the power and pressing the direction keys allows the player to swerve the ball in mid flight.
The game also sidesteps the thorny problem of dealing with throw ins and deadball situations by never letting the ball leave the pitch. The entire pitch has an ice hockey style border around it which prevents the ball leaving the field of play. This speeds up gameplay considerably and on the highest difficulty setting really gets the adrenalin rushing.
The main disadvantage in having the pitch enclosed is that matches can at times start to feel more pinball than football. It’s a common complaint which has afflicted many football games to this day, but oddly enough it doesn’t matter so much here - the game’s style and pitch dynamics ensuring it all feels part of the design.
|Amiga fan Ralph's Speedball 2 celebration had long since
ceased to amuse his team mates
Timed To Perfection
Released during the mania of Euro 2004, Sexy Football could have so easily been a cheaply produced mini game with a plonked on high score table - thankfully the developer appears to be a proud one. By basing their game on Sensible, the developers have shown ambition and confidence in their ability. That their game in practice tends to play more like Speedball 2 rather than Sensible Soccer is not a bad thing, and only those expecting a bona fide soccer simulation (and really, with this version of the flash player, who has the right to?) will have cause for complaint. All in all then, a decent if not spectacular game, lovingly crafted and beautifully scented with a knowing touch of retro. Sexy Football is well worth that half time coffee break.