I had some friends over on Saturday to play some games. I had Ikaruga, Raging Bless and Socom all ready to go. It turns out the evening was dominated by the Xbox version of Soccer Slam though. From about six in the evening to almost midnight it was nothing but killer kicks and trips to the soccer shop. I live in an apartment and the chick above me is always complaining that Kara and I are too loud even when we are just sitting on the couch reading. Now Soccer Slam is a game that requires yelling when you’re playing it with friends and I was a little worried about my future in this particular complex. Over shouts of “Fuck you Angus!” and “Suck it Nova!” I tried to caution my friends against being quite so boisterous. In the end we decided that goals would be celebrated with the silent waving of ones hands and curses directed at the opposing team would be kept at a reasonable volume. It’s no secret that Tycho and I were huge fans of the Gamecube version of SS and the Xbox version has some tweaks and features that make it even better. One of the most frustrating things about the GC version was that Killer Kicks rarely resulted in a goal. We always felt like if you’re actually able to execute one of these Matrix inspired mega kicks you deserve the goddamned point. It seemed that maybe one out of every hundred killer kicks ever actually scored in the GC version. Now on the Xbox these same kicks find the back of the net with satisfying frequency. Visually the game looks pretty much identical. The Xbox version has some fantastic weather effects that I don’t remember being in the Cube version. Maybe I am just spacing out here but I don’t remember snow or rain on the cube. Word is there are also some new hidden teams to unlock. It’s probably not worth buying if you already have the Cube version but Xbox owners should certainly pick this one up. The single player experience is nothing special but if you get some friends together this game is a fucking blast. It’s easily one of the best party games on any platform.
It also gave me a chance to try out the new Xbox controller from Gamester called the Phoenix. These are the same cats that put out that fantastic GBA flood light we were raving about a few months back. Their new Xbox controller is another victory for them as far as I am concerned. It’s tiny bit smaller that then even the official type S controller and it has rubber grips and better button placement. The start, select, black and white buttons that are round and small on the type S are now longer and oval shaped to fit your thumb better. It’s a small change but it makes those buttons much easier to activate. I’m not sure if it’s in stores yet but keep an eye out for them if you’re in the market for some extra controllers.