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Red Card 20-03 Package Art
 GENRE
  Extreme-Sports
 DEVELOPER
  Point of View
 PUBLISHER
  Midway
 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
  1-2
 CONNECTIVITY
  no
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Red Card 20-03

Midway began extreme sports action since before Christ was a cowboy, but they really stepped to the fore with the release of NFL Blitz a few years back. Now, they have an entire line of sports titles based on the Blitz premise, including Red Card Soccer 2003. Some of these extreme titles are incredibly well done (like NHL Hitz) while some are a bit off. Where does Red Card stand? Read on to find out.

visuals

You certainly won’t have a problem discerning the action on the screen. There are some really sweet looking lighting effects during the boost moves and there’s even a “bullet time” when you hit a boost move near the box. I have to say that the slow-mo bullet time that was pioneered in the Matrix is now becoming more of a cliché than anything else. While it stuns you for the first few times, it becomes stale after a while.

Red Card captures extreme soccer in a solid visual fashion. All of your in-game HUD’s are easy to pick up on; from formations, turbos, and boosts, you’ll spot them all easily. What you won’t see as easily is the bloody net. Sometimes you’ll find that you have to kick the ball, but in the “action” cam setting, there’s no net to see until after you shoot so you really don’t know where to aim. Badness.

Other than the ref that looks like Kojak, everything is pretty solid here.

audio

Solid but off. Let me explain: First and foremost, the over-the-top Midway sports games always have an over-the-top announcer. Midway found two limeys waiting to check out a book at the library and put them in here. They’re totally boring. Also, sometimes the whole audio hiccups after a “bullet time” episode. I think a better job could’ve been done here.

gameplay

The same issue that bothers the audio attacks the gameplay. This game seems to be “tweening” between being arcade or simulation. In one instance, you can hit a boost turbo kick to the head or flat out tackle, but then every once in a while the ref hits you with a yellow card. I see that hitting from behind is off the books like it is in real FIFA games, but still, something about Midway’s games like Hitz makes it more fun with no rules at all.

When I first saw that the control scheme assigned the shoot button to the largely forgotten (with a good reason) Z button, I was peeved. But in the end, in soccer, you don’t really shoot that often, do you? Plus, the turbos are nicely accented in the control scheme on the shoulder buttons. It’s a nice pattern that you’ll get used to quickly and yet it will still offer some depth. Plus, you get a few “boost” moves every half which can put you over the top if used correctly.

One thing I was wondering (getting back to the tweener thing): Why would Midway opt for an 11 on 11 set up? They should’ve taken the Hitz route and put less players on the field and tightened up the action on a smaller field. This would’ve really helped the game carve a Midway identity. I think the 11 on 11 thing is a major drawback to Red Card.

Well, there’s 50 teams and if you can’t find the Crazy Canucks in there (Canadians), you can always make a team. You can then run that team through several play modes. Again, solid but could be better.

multiplayer

Definitely the highlight of any Midway title. Enjoy the teeth-smashing fun of over-the-top soccer with one other pal... what the? Where’s the four-way play?! Oh Midway, you messed up here, my friends. There’s no excuse for having only a two player mode.

overall

This game lacks identity by being stuck between sim and arcade. In addition, the two-player only multiplayer takes away from the serious fun of Midway sports gaming. Finally, Midway should’ve opted for smaller teams rather than 11 on 11 play. Think of Hitz, Blitz or Jam. This was a major game design folly here. Red Card is still solid fun, but I have to say, when compared to the incredible NHL Hitz….Midway, there’s the drawing board…get back to it!

final score 7.0/10





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Staff Avatar Eric Mattei
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"Lost like tears in rain"


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