International Superstar Soccer 2
The International Superstar Soccer series has always been the football game of choice for football fans who have owned a Nintendo console, whether it be a SNES or a N64, and just to keep with tradition Konami have had a version ready for the UK release of the GameCube. Even so early on in the GameCube's life this version has two competitors in the shape of Virtua Striker 3 and EA's World Cup game. Will ISS 2 still be the football game of choice on a Nintendo console? Let's find out.
As the title suggests ISS 2 is based around international teams. There are 58 teams in total and 5 game modes on offer. There's Friendly Match, International Cup (which is the World Cup in all but name), Custom League, World League (which features a Euro or American championship) and Training. You can also edit the players and teams if you really want to.
ISS 2 retains the competitive nature of it's prequels and still manages to give you a difficult challenge on all but the easiest difficulty level. The game has retained the brisk pace of earlier versions, although you can slow the game down or speed it up if you like, by default it is on the 3rd of the 5 game speed settings. There is also a decent amount of official names used in this version so you won't need to spend ages changing the modified names which was always a niggle in the earlier versions of the series.
The game looks fantastic and whilst the gameplay isn't on the same wavelength as Pro Evolution Soccer (PS2) the visuals are definitely one step ahead. The stadiums, although only a few in number, look fantastic. The lighting and shadow effects are the best I have seen in a football game. The players look good also but one disappointment is the animation of the players as they seem a bit wooden at times.
Generally speaking ISS 2 is a good football game but there are some 'features' of the game that will niggle. You'll often notice the ball behind a player miraculously appear in front of them in a instance without any effort from the player to put it there. Players occasionally seem to bounce off the player who has just tackled them and this makes it difficult to get a tackle in. Shots, set pieces and long passes use power bars but for me I found them to fill up too quickly. A slight tap of the shoot button almost fills the entire power bar. There should have been a setting in the options menu to alter the sensitivity of the power bars. Perhaps the biggest complaint is the occasional tendency of the referee to give penalties for fouls that are just outside the penalty area. This doesn't happen too often but for an ISS game to have such a glitch is unusual.
One improved feature deaf gamers will be unaware of is the match commentary and stadium announcer, who announces substitutions and goal scorers name. Not one football game has subtitled it's match commentary so I suppose it was always going to be a lot to hope for.
ISS 2 is just about the best football game on the GameCube. Virtua Striker 3 was poor and World Cup 2002 is perhaps going to offer little after you've won the World Cup for the umpteenth time. ISS 2 has some problems but on the whole it offers an action filled game with easy to use controls and has enough game modes to keep you busy until the mighty Pro Evolution Soccer arrives on the GameCube.
Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10 ISS 2 isn't the finest football game ever but it will keep you satisfied until Pro Evolution Soccer arrives.
Deaf Gamers comment: As per usual with sports titles the commentary is not subtitled. Generally though the game is fine for deaf gamers.