Before there was any of the FIFA games on the PSOne/PS2 there was, in 1983, Heads Up. Another football game I can recall from roundabout the same era was the Commodore 64’s International Soccer which was one of the first cartridge games released for the C64. I remember playing International Soccer back in the 80’s and how impressive It was graphically and AI wise.
Having only acquired Heads Up in my Vectrex collection lately I was eager to see whether the guys were able to produce a faithful rendition of the much loved world game (Go Australia!). Pleasantly surprised I was and you can definitely see where the endless amount of FIFA titles spawned from for the newer consoles. And I do declare that I believe it is every bit as good and better than my memories of the C64 classic.
In Heads Up the player controls a team of stick-like vector men who have the ability to pass, bounce and kick for goal and, I am happy to say that the player can actually have some control, be it minimal, over the goal keeper. This is a feature lacking in many football games.
The game is played over two consecutive 3 minute halves and to state the obvious it is the players task to outscore the opposing team which is either computer controlled or put in the hands of a fellow Vectrekker. The player which may have a better play on the ball, that is the one closest to the ball, can be easily switched to by pressing one of the Vectrex’s control panel buttons. Tackling is even present, be it crudely, and it’s worth hunting down the opposing team’s player, to try and emulate perhaps Harry Kewell or Mark Viduka from the Australian Socceroos.
A sudden death play-off occurs if scores are tied at the end of two halves, this adds to the games appeal. So maybe it’s not the PS2’s FIFA 2005, but vectors were always cooler, it will keep you and a friend coming back for more vector fun.
**Heads Up is known as ‘Soccer – Football’ in Europe and Australia.
Review written by Daniel Foot