Wasn’t Liverpool The Game released in 1993? Yes, it was – but it seems that Grandslam had a previous version underway in 1989, a long long time before its eventual release. But what a difference though between the two!
This earlier version had a Emlyn Hughes perspective, but then the final game from 1993 had a top down Microprose Soccer approach to it.
Looking at the magazine screenshots that snuck out, the first version looks a bit crowded and not quite as good as the final edition. Your Commodore magazine however oddly reviewed the game and gave it 92%, suggesting that it had been complete.
So after that review, why did Grandslam not release it? Many years after we first set up this entry, Dave Spicer shed some light on the game with the following:
“I can give you a little bit more info about the 1990 version of Grandslam’s Liverpool game. The last person to work on the game was Paul Rogers, who previously wrote Time Solider for Smart Egg Software.
Paul inherited a semi-working version of the code and was given the unenviable task of trying to turn it into something workable within a very short time period. I supplied a few sound effects, purely as a favour, although I’ve no idea if he actually ended up using them.
Paul’s whereabouts these days is anyone’s guess… Maybe you can track him down?”
No exact reason why the first version was never released. As the game was completed, it could have been reworked into a budget football game if it were that bad. The Amstrad version was actually released. The Amstrad release is is odd, as the ad described that version as ‘under consideration’ whereas none of the confirmed versions surfaced.
Your Commodore speculated that Grandslam went under, only for them to reappear later (possibly after a takeover). So its likely the C64 edition was caught up in all of this. Your Sinclair reported in 1990 that Grandslam had brought in the receivers, so the CPC version must have just sneaked out before then. We guess someone must have came in and saved Grandslam, as they lived on for many years after and eventually did release another Liverpool title.
Well, we got hold of Paul Rogers, and he confirms that it was a case of “don’t worry, most of the work is done” from Grandslam when he was given the game to finish off (which someone else had started and left).
However, the game was in a right state and he ended up having to restart things again with the same design and sort the mess out. Paul goes on holiday at somepoint, and when he gets back he finds a load of suits saying that the company has gone into administration – and so it was left incomplete. Grandslam later reappeared and had the game done from scratch in 1993 by Arc Developments.
So there we have it! The first version was never complete, and Your Commodore therefore reviewed something that was never complete. That’s pure 92% gold, and up there alongside the 100% rating for Last Ninja 3 shortly after its big spread on System 3.
So what about the game? Well, Paul managed to find his disks and got the game up and running in 2020, and we’re hoping to see digital back ups at some point to be able to add onto the site. Exciting news and findings, so watch this space!
Contributions: Phil Davis, Brendan Phoenix, Dave Spicer, Paul Rogers