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video game review

Accolade's Pele! (For Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, $59.95). Champions World Class Soccer (From Acclaim for SNES, $59.95; Genesis version, $49.95). World Championship Soccer II (For Sega, $54.99)


If you followed World Cup soccer, you might want to lace up those cleats and try one of the following games.


The oldest of the trio is Accolade's Pele! I played the Sega version, and it's great if you like to control many of the variables.

In addition to solid graphics and good control, Pele! gives you six game options: exhibition, practice, start tournament, continue tournament, start season and continue season. As the last two indicate, you can stop your team's season in the middle, then power up and resume it later.

One player can compete against the CPU, or you can invite a friend over. Pele! lets you pick teams, uniforms, change the level of important attributes such as offense, defense and aggression, and even substitute for players.


Another solid effort that gives you a lot of control is Champions World Class Soccer.

CWCS has the best graphics and the most realistic game play. It's so realistic that when the goalie lets one get by him, he jumps up and down in frustration.

You can select from among a one- or two-player exhibition match, begin a tournament or resume a previous tourney, using a password. You pick from among 32 national teams, select from four formations and decide if you will control all, some or none of the goalie functions. If you pick none, the CPU will defend your goal. It does a nice job.

On the screen you have a clock showing time elapsed, the score and a "radar" feature that shows the position of all players on the field. I found that pretty useless, because it looks like a bunch of colored dots floating on a green background. Besides, if you take your eye off the field, your opponent steals the ball.


The easiest to play--and my favorite for that reason--is World Championship Soccer II.

You can select an exhibition or a challenge round in which you play against 16 increasingly tough opponents. You can also play any game--and any team--from the 1986, 1990 or 1994 world championship, or build your own championship tournament from 32 of the world's top teams.

I don't even like soccer, but this game is so easy to control that I won my first six matches, including a crushing 5-1 defeat of Sweden and a hard-fought 2-1 overtime win against Bolivia.

You get all the options of a real game--penalty kicks, overtime, corner kick, throw in, slide tackle. The graphics are large and clear and control is excellent.

If you're a soccer fan, any of these carts will give you a good taste of what the real thing is all about. If you're not a fan, you might be converted.

And if that doesn't happen, take heart. Football season is just around the corner.

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