Platform: Atari Jaguar
Soccer Kid is your average platform affair where you control a young lad who plays soccer and uses his football skills to get around various levels. The story is that the World Cup has been destroyed by an asteroid and you have to find all the pieces. Not exactly Lord of the Rings, but there you go.
The game did fairly ok on various platforms, including the Amiga; so well in fact that a Jaguar conversion was produced. However, reviewing this game in this feature can only be for one reason. Sadly the Jaguar never really took off as well as it should have done, and Soccer Kid was one of those conversions done towards the end of its life.
As losses were made, Atari had to cut back releases, and only really 3D titles seemed to be the main priority releases to try and attract one last batch of supporters. Soccer Kid was caught up in the cutbacks and sadly didn’t quite make it before the Jaguar faded into obscurity.
The conversion was essentially forgotten about until one man came across the game, Carl Forhan. Carl was an Atari fanatic since the age of 10, and was a instant fan of the Jaguar platform when it came out. Like many fans, he was disappointed with the amount of games cancelled and the lack of released titles for the Jaguar, so Carl did something incredible and opened up Songbird Productions to save various cancelled and released games and give them a new lease of life by acquiring publishing rights and selling them for people to enjoy.
In 1998, Carl came across the company who had been a candidate for publishing Soccer Kid on the Jaguar, and they still had the ROM of the game. Carl obtained the ROM, and once he realised that this was indeed a complete game (or virtually at least), he contacted Krisalis and negotiated the rights to release the game on the Jaguar as intended.
In 2000, Jaguar fans were treated to the game they should have had back in 1995. Although not fully a commercial release, Carl made sure it looked like one with professional packaging, labels and cart production done for the game. A fantastic effort by Carl was met by support from fellow Jaguar owners purchasing the game, and enjoying the efforts of a programmer who would have wished his work to be enjoyed by others.
A playable rom wasn’t available to comment on the game, though reviews from various sources give a mixed opinion about the game. Many jump to praise the game and its publisher, and talk of fluid game play and graphics throughout which put the Amiga version to shame, where as others feel it is a standard platform affair.
To enjoy Soccer Kid you have to be a fan of platform games, and the game is a great example of how well the Jaguar can handle 2D as well as 3D. Check out the video clip of the Jaguar version, kindly supplied by Carl.
Overall a great finding for the Jaguar community, which is now being enjoyed by those as intended.