Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 06/24/02 | Genre: Sports
Midway has really done a great job in the past few years developing some incredible new titles. With successful updates to Blitz and new franchises like Hitz and Slugfest, Midway has taken a "sim oriented" sports market and breathed new life into the genre by giving players a chance to hit harder, score faster, and become a super-star athlete. While most of the time the action is a bit unrealistic--it is fun and entertaining. However, in their latest title, Midway has taken the "Blitz" out of RedCard and tried to make a hybrid simulation/arcade game. The end result is a mixed bag. While it isn't all bad, I was expecting a lot more.
RedCard 20-03 tries to cater to soccer fans and action-sports gamers with adrenaline-style action and aggressive gameplay, including 50 international teams, stadiums and fanatical soccer fans from around the world. Filled with exaggerated, spectacular action, RedCard offers over-the-top animated moves including slide tackles, flips, bicycle and scissors kicks, as well as jukes and shimmies. Players can choose to compete in a single game with as many as two players in Friendly Mode, challenge their friends to a quick, single-elimination tournament in Party Mode or set their sights on the championship by choosing World Conquest, where they compete against the remaining teams. To capture the final glory and win the cup in Finals Mode, players are pitted against skilled international teams where they compete for the Cup Championship.
An aggressive player artificial intelligence system offers various scoring and penalty opportunities in which players gain the upper hand on their opponents by building up their team's momentum and improving their player's abilities and attributes. Adding further to the intense soccer action, RedCard 20-03's exclusive Time-Warp camera effects feature delivers 360-degree, realistic replay animations and allows for increased shooting velocity when gamers approach the scoring range. Additionally, ten highly detailed, rule-breaking fantasy teams--such as Dolphins, Martians, Ninjas, Matadors, Apes and more--offer RedCard 20-03 players an added dimension of fun to the over-the-top gameplay.
Graphically, RedCard is pretty good looking. While the characters are lacking some detail that newer titles have that were shown at E3 2002, there is enough variety in the models to keep them distinguished from one another. The one great thing about the graphics are the shadow effects. They are very nicely done. On the other hand, the commentary is very entertaining and for the most part keeps up with the action well. However, the music and sound effects are average at best...
While I am not a huge fan of soccer, I found myself having fun with this title for most of the time. But I must mention that RedCard 20-03 tries very hard to be simulation and adds in a turbo and "super fast passes and kicks" to try and distinguish itself from the "sim-oriented" competition. I found myself wishing they chose one path or another. RedCard is not deep enough to be a simulation and it is not unrealistic enough to be an arcade title like Blitz or Hitz. So while I had fun at first--I began to get a little bored of the "sim-like" action after a few times out and began to wish the game was more like Blitz. However, after continuing to play more and getting used to the controls and how the game plays, I ended up having more fun with RedCard than I initially thought I would. In one of the most memorable moments, I found myself squaring off against The Dolphins. After my 7 to 1 slaughter of these creatures, I couldn't help but smile.
There are a lot of options in RedCard to keep the player busy. You can create a team and award them attributes by beating other teams in the single player mode. Players also choose from a variety of gameplay modes including Friendly Mode, Tournament Mode, World Conquest Mode, and Finals Mode. However, the best feature in RedCard 20-03 is the multiplayer mode. While the single player contest seemed to get old fairly quickly, nothing beats sliding into your buddy, stealing the ball, and running up the grass for the score!
So, you are probably asking... what is different in the Xbox version. First off, the graphics are the best out of all three versions. By now we have all learned that the Xbox is far more powerful than either the GameCube or the PS2. It should come as little surprise that a title appearing on all three consoles would look best on the Xbox. In the end, I recommend checking out RedCard 20-03 if you are a soccer fan. If you don't already own the PS2 or GameCube version, you may find the shortcomings of the title to be just the right combination for you. Personally, I find more enjoyment in the "arcade style" soccer games. Hopefully Midway will choose to go this route for next year's version...