A few days ago I discovered that HAMSTER Corporation discontinued several classics from the collection ACA NEOGEOsuch as the sequel to Super Sidekicks and his last installment of 1995 without counting his spiritual successors. And of course, I got a little nervous thinking that the same thing could happen to the first one in 1992.
Because I have the idea of getting the complete collection of those SNK classics little by little as it is much cheaper than buying a real Neo Geo along with its cartridges, which was one of my teenage dreams. And as I started 2022 with the wonderful Ted Lasso As for series, I got homesick for remembering this mythical arcade for direct soccer lovers.
Super Sidekicks, the beautiful sport according to SNK in 1992
At that time I did not miss any representative. It did not matter Kick-Off like Sensible Soccer, just like the first FIFA or the beginnings of Konami’s International Super Star Soccer. And if we talk about recreational, both Super Sidekicks What Virtua Soccer they were regulars in the arcades of my beloved city.
I always had good memories of the SNK classic, apart from the fact that I never got to replay it on those emulators. That’s why I had the golden opportunity with ACA NEOGEO, which without being a very careful collection (a lot of care is missing in relation to the history of SNK) served as the perfect excuse to remember it, taking advantage of the fact that in 2022 it celebrates its 30th anniversary
In 30 years I had not erased the image of the goalkeeper rejecting balls from almost any position. There had to be some trick… And not by forcing the rebound to immediately finish off with a plank or volley. It cost me, I’m not going to lie to you either. It was not until I saw the video of Néstor, from the channel With 5 Duros, with the help of the advice of the expert Carlos Dacosta, when I remembered part of those tricks that I had forgotten from that stage based on seeing other masters in situ.
Every football game has its tricks and Super Sidekicks was no exception., Wow. The machine was very creepy in advanced matches, skipping all logic regarding the level of each team or the mastery of the featured players. But if you understood the mechanics of the game you could score goals relatively easily. For example, to increase the probability of scoring after a rebound, you had to hold down the fire button, because that way we anticipated the rival defense.
It was not a video game that offered colorful football, in the sense that it was not possible to make elaborate plays or control the gifts, reducing in turn the type of effective shots from the front, with few that entered the first, except those that were produced from the center on the wings to the classic english style…
Looking back on it today, a minimap was missing to know where each footballer was, especially because of that camera that let us see a very small part of the field. We had to be guided by the arrow that indicated the direction of the closest footballer in the face of a potential pass, or already at the edge of the area with the SHOOT warning to indicate that the shot on goal was enabled. No, you couldn’t shoot from midfield.
He laid some foundations that were later modified
today it turns out unthinkable that a football game has only two buttons to carry out all the maneuvers, but there were others at that time that had only one, such as the aforementioned classic from Sensible Software. In Super Sidekicks
It was curious, because technically there were no faults… except with certain pushes. There it was. Although more curious was to discover another of the tricks, where it was almost more effective not to use the mowing to steal, but simply “go through” the rival footballer to take the ball cleanly. Now, in extreme situations, mowing was life insurance, especially against expert players or when the machine wanted to ruin your dream match.
Super Sidekicks was a constant give and take, with a game so direct that it can hardly be seen today. Part of that fault lies with what was stated in a few paragraphs earlier, as there were few movements and shots that were effective, although the truth is that a major trick could be sneaked in from the upper outer corner of the area: a center-shot before which the goalkeeper, sometimes, stayed still and without moving his arms, while we sang goal.
On the other hand, SNK implemented with this saga the figure of the Ace (Expert, in its version translated into Spanish), who was nothing more than a player who stood out above the rest of his teammates. Each team had one, but their position varied. And to top it off we couldn’t modify the formation.
In view of the success of the first Super SidekicksIt took less than two years for SNK to release its sequel in early 1994. And here came the changes, for better or worse. Without going any further, a third button was introduced that was used to tap the ball while we increased the speed, while in defense it was used to change players, finally. Also, the animations were improved.
This opened up a new range of possibilities, such as the trick of head touches until reaching the area… And although among the specialized critics it enjoyed better marks than the first, among the public they still like the 1992 classic more for offering a purer experience and without the AI being so creepy.
Unfortunately, the flame was extinguished by the emergence of EA Sports and Konami with their well-known soccer bets, seeing how the Super Sidekicks 3 de 1995 it was little more than an update on the sequel. Interestingly, that third installment would have a remake in 1998 under the name of Neo Geo Cup ’98: The Road to the Victory, experiencing its transition in the less popular The Ultimate 11: SNK Football Championship. A cruel fate, forgetting its roots (both in name and formula) for a saga that is still fondly remembered from its time in arcades throughout Europe.