Friday, 7 October 2011

Rugby World Cup 95 [Mega Drive] - Harry Yack's great cash-in special [1/2]

In the Mega Drive's lifespan of approximately eight years, the world saw tens of titles looking to emulate the grand old sport of football. Sensible Soccer, Super Kick Off and countless FIFA titles courtesy EA Sports graced Sega's premier console, most of which enjoyed a modicum of success piggybacking various domestic and international football competitions.

Somewhere in all of this, its noticeably more hands-on cousin was lost in a quagmire of freshly churned Saturday afternoon mud. Rugby fans were starting to feel left out - up to now, Mega Drive owners only had Domark's International Rugby to satisfy their virtual rucking and scrumming urges. In 1994, Electronic Arts came to the rescue with a brand new rugby title that only slightly borrowed from a certain commercial soccer series. With such promising pedigree and with the 1995 World Cup on the horizon, how could it possibly fail?

For those with a vested interest, Rugby World Cup 95 is a decent simulation of the sport. EA's trademark isometric viewpoint lends an element of individuality, while the FIFA International Soccer-style menus add familiarity. Doesn't cover up the fact they were blatantly stolen though, does it? :P In fact, it's all very FIFA. This does not prove too much of a problem, however, for it's certainly playable.

Though the controls are relatively easy to get to grips with, the kicking mechanics are somewhat difficult to master even after you've been mucking about with the game for about a week. As we know too well, however, no game is without its flaws (perhaps excepting maybe the odd Mario release), and the odd bug --such as occasional player invisibility-- doesn't necessarily detract from fun factor.

For those with not a sliver of interest in rugby, you could happily go about your everyday life not even knowing this game exists. Then again, you could say that about countless Mega Drive titles, so I suppose I'm being unfair. I guess I'm trying to convey the point that while Rugby World Cup isn't exactly essential, it is a worthy time-killer.

The burning question for rugby fans alike remains thus: how does this game shape up in comparison to International Rugby? Soon, my friends.

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