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Heroic Sports Football - An original football simulation with heroics both on and off the field
‘Heroic Sports Football’ is a game that gives you more control over the action than any flash-based football game I have played so far. Putting you in charge of the complete football experience, from recruiting the players of your choosing from a generous database of footballers to controlling the actions of each of your individual team members, the game allows you to experience more than simply a few limited aspects of the sport of football. Many games focus merely on allowing you to play an aspect of the sport which is limited to penalty shootouts, goal scoring or purely managing your team without ever seeing a hint of the football action. This game refuses to restrict itself in this manner, and puts the player in charge of their very own football team that must train, improve and play matches in order to become the best fictional club in the history of make-believe sporting adventures. The usual restrictions that also apply to other football games such as absence of weather conditions, absence of excessive facial hair on the players, having no control over your team, and not being able to carry weapons during the game (perhaps the most ridiculous of limitations in this day and age).
Even the title screen looks epic
As a departure from the usual monotony of your average flash-powered football game, the main crux of the footballing action actually takes place on the pitch with you being in complete control of the action. The gameplay in this respect is much like that of any paid-for football title, with the camera hovering over whichever player is in possession of the ball, following whoever you choose to pass to and keeping you involved with the action throughout. A small indicator in the left hand corner of the screen shows you the position of every single player on the pitch, allowing you to follow the situation no matter where you may be on the field. A semblance of artificial intelligence is even displayed by the opposing team, making the playing of the matches a somewhat challenging affair.
The entire experience takes a format that feels like an adventure game and is divided into sections of literary distinction (the training level is entitled the ‘Prologue’). Since you cannot play a game of football without a team, the experience begins with the customisation of your ‘star player’ where you choose his appearance and his performance attributes. A tutorial follows this in which the footballing action is demonstrated to you in a ‘learn by doing’ manner, giving you the chance to take charge of your team in a little on-field action; the controls are displayed on the screen for the duration of the tutorial (and indeed throughout the game, should you be particularly forgetful) as you practice some movement, passing and scoring in order to get accustomed to the feel of the action and also the overhead view of the action, which is viewed at an angle about thirty degrees from the true birds-eye view typical of the original ‘Grand Theft Auto’.
Another dimension is brought to the game with the allowing of the player to control the action that takes place after the whistle has blown, as opposed to being limited to simply on-field action like many other football games available on the internet. Firstly, you have complete control over the selection of your team, being allowed to manually select your players or leave it up to the game with the ‘auto-select’ option, which chooses generates a team for you which you can then accept or re-shuffle according to your own desires, but more importantly your monetary situation. The main menu of the game reads like the job description of a football manager (or thereabouts) in that you can view your imminent matches, the league ladder average stats of your team, average stats and even the weapons available for purchase from the shop. Of course, many things in the game depend on the amount of money you possess, which limits your ability to purchase weapons and also which teams you are able to select.
Money is won by either entering into friendly matches or by playing league-table matches. The initial lack of skill points/attributes in your team is a limiting factor which means that you will have less success at the start of your venture, but by being successful in your matches you are rewarded with stat points that you can allocate amongst various skills. Playing through the game in this manner is of course quite challenging, but for those interesting in a more fast-tracked progression, you may also win money from playing friendly matches, which have the added advantage of having no bearing on your league-table success; entering into friendly matches is a way to stack up the cash in order to be able to purchase teams of elevated skill and capability. In this respect, the gameplay appeals to both the avid football fan who wish to invest large amounts of time into a game, and also those who simply like to dip in and out of their flash games in a superficial manner: it speaks volumes about a game when it actually gives you the choice and doesn’t simply impose a set of rigid, predetermined formats upon you.
This Is My Rifle; There are Many Others Like It
Ok, so you aren’t going to be given rifles to step up the action from sport to blood sport, but as a consolation prize, you are allowed to customise most aspects of your main player’s appearance. You are given the opportunity to control the appearance of your player’s hair, skin colour, and even the player’s beard style; I challenge you to find another football game out there that allows you to be the editor of a man’s facial hair. of Giving your player the appearance of a distressed hobo or Mr T can be an amusing experience, and reminds you of the freedom that you are afforded throughout the entire game; a freedom that you will struggle to find in any other flash-based football game out there.
This Guy’s Got Talent (Points)
You team’s performance in the game rests on the basis of skills points which are won through successful match outcomes and can be distributed to your star player throughout the areas of skill; these are comprised of Speed, Tackling, Stamina, Passing and Kicking, and have a direct effect on the performance of your player. You begin the game with an initial 80 points to spend on your star player, and will continue to win further points to spend throughout which you can use to transform your star player from a scruffy-looking bearded gentleman to a player of elite character (who still has a beard). Your stamina is possibly one of the most important attributes, since you can quite easily run out of steam in a match and find yourself lacking in pace, having considerably detrimental effects on your performance.
Favouritism is encouraged in this game; distribute stat points to bring your player from zero to hero
The health bar of your player is also something you must keep your eye on, since its depletion will mean a literal death for your player, making it extremely unlikely that he will be able to participate in the remainder of the match. Stat points are awarded every few matches and should be distributed as you feel necessary, depending on which aspect of your star player’s performance you wish to enhance the most. The acquiring of stat points is one of the incentives for the player to continue playing, a feature which is common to many flash games, but one which holds more weight in a game of such ridiculous fun and ludicrousness.
Fire The Groundsman
Is that a fiery pit of molten rock I see by the penalty box? The traditional answer to this question in a regular game of football would of course be ‘probably not’, but since we’re talking about this eccentric game of ridiculousness, the answer to the question could very well be ‘yes’. This is due to the inclusion of various objects, obstacles and inconveniences that are scattered throughout the pitch in some matches. Your match can be going extremely well, but things could take a turn for the worst with eventualities such as passing clouds to obscure the view, sandpits which slow you down, oil spills to change the traction on the pitch and even pits of molten rock which has an extremely detrimental effect on your health, leading to your death should you continue to come into contact with it. These various inclusions within the matches add to the wildly unpredictable nature of the game and serve to further set it apart from other football titles out there.
Rules? What Rules? Convention is tossed into the fiery pit of lava that literally occupies the pitch as part of the 'hazards' feature.
The game offers the feature of in-game power-up items which can be found scattered over the pitch throughout the matches. These power-ups offer you various advantages over the opposing team with things such as dynamite to give an explosive edge to the player that picks it up and a whirlwind function that blows the defenders away from you when you come into their proximity. The items continue to materialise with functions such as a rocket pack and med pack (renewing your player’s health), though all of these items only affect the player temporarily.
Bending the rules, Breaking the Law
Adding to the outrageousness of the game is the throwing of the rules to the wind that takes place when the players are allowed to brandish various weapons during the match. These weapons aren’t simply given to you, but are available for purchase in the shop section on the main menu. Sadly, the game doesn’t simply allow you play the game whilst swiping various blades around the pitch and injuring the opposing team; the weapons fulfil a more sensible and useful function. Having various weapons equipped with various players serves to increase their stat points according to which weapon you have chosen to give them. Weapons range from basic swords and axes, to more formidable items such as maces and more terrifying blades; many weapons are not initially available and must be unlocked, but this is all part of the fun and merriment of the game.
Should you find yourself struggling with your team’s players, you do have the opportunity to trade your players with others that are available to you. This option allows you to swap out some players when you begin playing the game since their attributes can be somewhat lacking. Much like real-life transfers, however, the player can refuse to accept the trade based on their disapproval of your current club’s status. You know you’ve reached a low point when a player rejects a trade-based transfer to your team because of the poor reputation of your own club; perhaps you should work harder on training your own team in this case.
Grab your boots, get your bearded self to training camp and enter yourself into the minimum number of recommended tutorial levels because by choosing to play Fizzy’s quirky football title, you’re embarking upon one of the most comprehensive flash-powered football games on the internet, and you don’t even need a season ticket.