One of the very best (if not THE best) soccer games ever made, Dino Dini's seminal classic Kick Off 2 was a huge success on the Atari ST and Amiga, although, as usual, it attracted little attention of PC gamers due to poor marketing and limited distribution. I'll let this wonderful review of the game for an Amiga magazine speak for itself:
"Undoubtedly the best game ever created. This seminal footy sim was unleashed on an unsuspecting public back in the late summer of 1990, as the sequel to the original Kick Off from a year earlier. Despite being almost 8 years old, incredibly this game is still available in the high street - try your local branch of Game.
Hailed as a classic from day one, reviewers made comments such as "sheer brilliance", "miss it and you'll hate yourself for the rest of your life" and "THE best game ever produced."
Even the arrival of the highly-praised Sensible Soccer could not dislodge KO2 from its rightful place at the top of the footballing tree, and modern games such as ISS Pro and Actua Soccer pale into insignificance upon comparison. Unlike today's soccer simulations, Kick Off doesn't rely on flashy graphics or realistic team data to impress. 100% gameplay is the order of the day here, and it takes many hours of practice to become a competent player.
Newcomers to the experience are often put off by the speed. Although hard to control at first, perseverance pays off, and it gives a sense of real achievement when the player is able to pull off breathtaking moves at a seemingly-impossible pace. Reaction times are paramount, and concentration must be maintained at all times to become a succesful player. The top-down viewpoint and utilitarian visuals are perfectly adequate and do not distract the player from the task at hand - the game has been designed to be played, not to be looked at, and it shows. The simplistic appearance hides an incredibly versatile game, with an almost limitless tactical depth. A wide range of shots - including aftertouch - are available, and fully accessible with a one-button joystick (another feature that modern games could learn from).
Of course, no game is perfect, and KO2 has a number of bugs that occasionally manifest themselves in dramatic fashion. However, they emphasise the character of the game, and it's endearingly quirky nature. Just like real football, you never quite know what is going to happen next.
Despite the spartan graphics and sound effects, this game is a shining example of quality software. It retains a cult following to this day and has yet to be bettered, or even equalled. My friends and I spent many, many happy hours playing Kick Off 2, and it still gets a regular outing. Simply the most competitive, most demanding and most rewarding 2 player game ever (immaculately) conceived." Highly recommended!
Note: Fans of the game should be pleased to know that Steve Screech, one of the designers behind this classic, is designing the sequel to the game entitled Ultimate Kick Off, due out in November, 2001. Visit the official site below to learn about the true sequel of Kick Off 2 or arguably Goal! (not ANCO's Kick Off 3, which was designed without input from Dino or Steve).
Reviewed by: Underdogs