May 22, 2002
Red Card - Review
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There are some pretty wild tackles.
It's pretty amazing when you think about the numerous soccer based games that most developers have been aiming for a simulation styled game, rather then the often popular arcade styled games. Midway, noticing this gap in the Playstation 2 market, have decided to tackle soccer as thier next over-the-top game in much the same vein as NFL Blitz, NBA Jam and NHL Hitz. Red Card, which is known as Red Card 20-03 is being released just in time for the World Cup tournament in Japan/Korea this June, although this Midway game doesn't have any official license to the official competition. It is however, a worthy game that should be considered.

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Crowds are a little average.
Playing Red Card is one very enjoyable experience. Although the number of tackles in the matches is daunting to begin with, you soon learn that retaining posession in clear space is the key to this game. With a game based on brutal tackles it's not surprising that setting the referee strictness on any more then minimal results in the game being almost unplayable with every tackle resulting in a yellow or red card. Turning the strictness off allows a more full-on tackle fest, but one which can be avoided with correct timing of passes and speed boosts. If you've ever played any of Midway's other sports titles you will have some idea of what to expect, although Red Card isn't quite as extreme.

The game modes in Red Card include friendly matches and a finals mode. However it's the World Conquest that will keep you interested in this game the longest as you pick a team and then play countries from all around the world. It's possible to set options such as the game length, the stadium, the weather, the referee strictness and the difficulty among other things. Red Cards, being a Midway title, has some pretty strange things. For instance the first team I played after picking Australia in the WOrld Conquest was a team of soccer playing Dolphins (yes, the water animal), defininately something not seen in any other soccer game.

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The stadiums are very impressive.
There are some niggles in Red Card that I would have love to see remedied. The first is the goal keeper who, while at times brilliant, is equally as often downright stupid. I don't know how many times the opposition took a shot at goal only to see my goalie rolling around on the ground before teh ball even gets near him. Also he seems to lack intelligence with cutting off angles especially when opponents are close to him.

Graphically, Red Card is something of a mixed bag. While the players aren't overly detailed their animation is solid enough as they run and slide around the pitch and jump over sliding players. Even the aggressive tackles impress as they leave a light yellow streak. The matrix styled rotations as the player does a powerful shot at goal is also magnificent and gives the game that extra edge. Grass textures on the pitch are possibly second to none, and that includes the Konami, EA Sports and Sony soccer games. The biggest disappointment, however, is the crowds which aren't much better then what was available about 5 years ago. There is very little movement, even when a goal is scored and there is a massive roar through the speakers. But this isn't about the action off the pitch anyway. All of the 12 stadiums on offer are magnificantly designed and detailed with some solid lighting and shadowing on the players.

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Player models are impressive.
Like almost every other area of the game the sound has both good and bad areas. The crowds and music are the most exciting and adrenaling pumping area of the game with some great triamphant music after a goal is scored. The announcers are also fairly good, but do tend to become repetitive after a while especially with a couple of select phrases. Still, Red Card is pretty solid overall in the sound department.

It must be said that Red Card is a great game for soccer fans becoming tired with endless simulation styled games. This is first in what will hopefully become a new series for Midway, and it deserves your support. With a few more additions, a little more spit an polish and a little more extreme styled action this game could have been magnificent. As it is, Red Card is much better then average and a tremendous amount of fun especially with some mates around.

GRAPHICSLovely field and player textures, solid animation, poor crowd detail.
SOUNDThe commentary is repetitive, but the music and crowd are excellent.
GAMEPLAYIt's not as extreme as Midways other sports titles, which is a shame.
VALUEThis is a fun game that will have you back, plenty of game modes.
OVERALLRed Card is an impressive game that just fails to be as extreme as Midways other titles. Still, if you sick of soccer simulations and are looking for somthing different then this isn't a bad title at all.

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