If you read the other review that was written for this issue on another PC Soccer game, you will notice that I mentioned my son Jackson is now playing soccer. When this game came in for review, he wanted to play it and when no one checked it out at the meeting, I relented and let him have his way. He thought that was cool and offered so generously to play the game and let me in on what he thought about it. If you want to learn more about Soccer Mania from Lego Software, please read on. It really is an interesting concept they have come up with. After awhile, I really started to like these little LEGO characters. It was more entertaining than I imagined it would be.
The game installed with no hitch onto my Windows XP system. The minimum requirements for the game are Windows 98, 2000, Me or XP operating system, a Pentium II 350 MHz or faster processor, with 64 MB of RAM 50 MB of free hard drive space. You also need an 8X CD-ROM drive, a 16 MB Direct3D capable video card using the Nvidia GeForce 4, 3 or 2 Nvidia 256 or Nvidia Riva TNT2 or TNT; ATI Radeon 8500, ATI Rage Pro 128, ATI Rage 128, Matrox MGA-G550, G450, G400 or SiS 315 chipset with a DirectX 8.1 compatible driver. A DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card is also needed to play this game. Recommended is a 500 MHz Pentium III or AMD Athlon systemwith 128 MB of RAM, 32 MB or more Direct3D capable video card with DirectX 8.1 compatible driver. Finally, for multiplayer games, you have to have an input device for each player. You could use the keyboard for one player and a Gravis Gamepad Pro, Microsoft Sidewinder Game Pad, or a DirectX 8.1 compatible controller with 8 or more buttons for the others.
The games are fun and fairly easy to master, although there are a lot of controls to master and bonus parts of the games called “Power-Ups” that alter your teams abilities when they are enabled. You can collect only one at a time, but you can store them for use when you are ready. Controls reverse is an example of a Power-Up and what it does is let you reverse the controls of your opponent. Bomb Ball changes the ball into a ticking bomb and when the fuse burns down, any opponents near it get laid out briefly. There are several others that make the games more fun and more challenging.
You can play with game controllers or the keyboard, it is up to you. Inside the game there are many options to choose from the main menu. You can play exhibition matches, play in a league for the Lego Cup, learn the controls and practice your skills in the Skills Zone or jump into a Lego soccer game using the Quick Start choice. A nice feature is to be able to load previously unfinished games that you have saved. Like Quick Start, the Exhibition Mode is for a maximum of two players but it lets you predetermine some of the options in your game. For example, you can play two players cooperatively (on one team) or competing against one another. Skill Zones let you develop your passing, shooting, dribbling, tackling, defensive heading or overall soccer skills.
Finally, the real prize in this game is the Story Mode, where you compete in tournaments with the goal of finding the Brickster and the Qualifying Cup. You start by trying to qualify for the “Lego Cup”, which is like a Super Soccer Cup and the winner gets a beautiful trophy. The Brickster snatches the trophy from you and you go on adventures to find him and recover the trophy. To start the story, you have to select your team. Then you can edit your team and once you are ready, you select a field and assign controllers and off you go. For the Lego Cup Tournament, you are one of 32 teams to begin with. Each team plays a round-robin schedule and only the top 2 teams advance. After that, it becomes a single elimination tournament, with one loss, you are history. The games themselves are fast-paced and fun with the players even displaying human-like emotional qualities.
The game is available at the Lego Shop
online for $29.95. I also saw it priced at $9.99 on Mediaplay.
The game is rated E for everyone by the ESRB and is suggested for players ages 6-9.