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banner Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 11:30 GMT
Let's play: David Beckham Soccer
BBC Sport Online reviewer David Gibbon says David Beckham Soccer is nowhere near as good as the real thing.

It someone had asked me who would be the biggest name to have endorsing your soccer game, I would almost certainly have said David Beckham.

After he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Ladbrokes predicted this title had a good chance of beating Harry Potter to the top of the Christmas charts.

But following poor early sales, will it live up to all the hype?

  David Beckham Soccer
Format: PSone
Price: 29.99
Publisher: Rage Software
Genre: Football
Also Available: N/A

Rage Software have certainly put their money where their mouth is, splashing out a whopping 600,000 on a TV commercial.

But gamers are generally not as influenced by a good licence as the games companies would like to think.

To be perfectly honest, David Beckham Soccer isn't a complete rotter.

But when it's got the likes of FIFA 2002 and the stunning Pro Evolution Soccer hanging around - it doesn't really stand an earthly.

The familiar slogan says playing this game allows you to "train like him, play like him, be him" - and you can, to a point.

Top of the list has to be the excellent training mode.

David Beckham Soccer
The heads are an odd shape

Here, Becks takes you in hand and provides challenges on passing, shooting, defending and, of course, his trademark free kicks.

The game has over 200 teams and features friendlies, a full season with league and cup competitions and arcade modes.

Bizarre

On the graphics side, it's a game of two halves.

The stadium is very impressive - with lots of attention to detail, right down to the flares in the crowd.

The players themselves, however, look like they've been put through some kind of mechanical crusher.

Some of the heads are a bizarre shape and the body forms are all wrong.

Even the football looks more rectangle than spherical which, in today's world of advanced gaming, is something that should never have been allowed - especially in such a high-profile game.

The gameplay is the most important aspect of any football title - and this is where David Beckham Soccer really falls flat on its face.

  Gibbon's verdict
Graphics: 76%
Playability: 78%
Sound: 64%
Realism: 73%
Overall: 74%

The controls are very primitive, there's no real through-ball button and - surprisingly - no nifty tricks or moves common to other football games.

Despite this, David Beckham Soccer can be a good laugh for a few hours - especially when you're taking part in a multi-player game.

But, overall, everything about this feels rushed. Rage have clearly been keen to cash in on the Christmas market and as a result their creation has suffered dramatically.

If there is a sequel, let's hope they do a better job. But for now, ignore this and stick with FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer - they're much, much better.

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