Grass Roots [heavens above biz]

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Grass Roots [heavens above biz]

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Name:Grass Roots [heavens above biz]

Total Size: 36.44 MB

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Stream: Watch Full Movie @ Movie4u

Last Updated: 2010-12-01 10:51:42 (Update Now)

Torrent added: 2009-08-26 11:32:31

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5.ITS FREE!!!!

One might assume it's quite courageous (or suicidal) for an independent to tackle the overpopulated sports genre - but the truth is that it's a woefully unexplored field. Although sports games have been flooding the release schedules for the past 20 years, 99% of them have instinctively tried to recreate the "professional" experience. The power of recognition practically guarantees commercial success, and yet it also imposes great restrictions on the gameplay. Fans of the wrestling games will be well aware of the difference between my "anything goes" exposés and the predictable merchandise of THQ and their WWE license. That difference is passion and creativity - qualities that can only be exercised when you step back from reality and inject a little imagination! And so it is with this simulation of football (soccer) as you've never seen it before...

Jumpers For Goalposts
As you may have gathered, my interpretation of the sport takes things out of the stadiums and back to the streets that we can all relate to. I've always felt that the principles of my wrestling games could be applied to any other sport (or industry) with equally compelling results, and this is just another example. The same cocktail of evolving characters, heated confrontations, and make-or-break turning points return yet again to create the closest thing to an RPG that soccer has ever seen! With more than a passing nod to my own childhood, it casts you as the restless leader of a group of school friends that ditch the classroom for the playing field - and proceed to get embroiled in a series of sporting adventures...

The World At Your Feet
The first victory for the RPG approach is that those repetitive leagues and tournaments are replaced by a free-wheeling bid for world domination! A Risk-style subplot requires that you notch up a victory in each of the 20 separate territories spread throughout the world. Success on the playing field allows you to pass through and plot your next move on the neighbouring countries - whereas failure sends you right back where you came from and hinders your progress. In addition to being an ambitious concept, the feature is also one of most audacious graphical achievements that my work has ever required. If you ever want to improve your knowledge of geography, try drawing the world! Then try drawing it in various states of disarray - with the areas you've selected or conquered highlighted for all to see. Fortunately, the hard work is up there on screen to see - making sure your adventure is as fun to plot as it is to play...

Whose Ball Is It Anyway?
Making your way to each territory is just the tip of the iceberg. A dramatic encounter awaits you at every turn, as you discover how the locals will react to your presence. Up to 50 unique storylines are waiting to unfold in each area - depending on your status, your relationships, your environment, or even the ball you happen to be carrying! Rather controversially, there are also instances of racism, sexism, and criminal behaviour. When you're dealing with the fragile egos of sportsmen, no issue is too large or small to wage war over! Fortunately, it's all part of the journey and helps to add a little meaning to each contest...

A Match Made In Heaven
Not only are the storylines mixed up by each team they're applied to, but they're also enhanced further by the fact that any one of a dozen match variations can be tagged onto the end! The context and the rules are mostly interchangeable, so (as with the wrestling games) even the most repetitive angle promises to play out in a new way. And we're not just talking about being a little strict on the rules here and a little lenient on them there. Although that remains a major factor, one of the game's biggest innovations is that there are distinct TYPES of match. The standard "side versus side" contest can be switched to a 2-on-2 jam in one goal, an every-man-for-himself scramble against multiple opponents, or simply a nail-biting penalty shoot-out! In the context of a training session or exhibition match, it's even possible to play a bit of harmless "pass & shoot" with your team-mates...

Man Management
The matches and confrontations may form the backbone of your story, but the rest of it is written by you - and how you react to the many turning points that precede and follow each game. As in previous games, your team-mates and fellow characters have an agenda of their own and often approach you with life-changing ultimatums. Whether it's the way they dress or how they're used, the people around you have an endless list of requests that must be dealt with. Granting their every wish risks ruining your plans, while being unreasonable is likely to send them packing! Each character's mood is knocked back and forth by their dealings with you and their success on the pitch - so the wrong thing at the wrong time can have disastrous consequences. Fortunately, your squad is an organic beast and can be fed new talent via the same negotiation process. After each spontaneous meeting, you can choose to approach players deliberately - hoping to recruit the rivals that impressed you while dismissing the team-mates that let you down. In this fashion, your team (and those of your opponents) evolve every step of the way and ensure that each journey has a different cast of characters...

Tale Of The Tape
Of course, the strengths and weaknesses of each player are paramount in your mind when deciding who to use and who to abuse! In keeping with the arcade concept, this game breaks the statistics down into 5 simple qualities: "Power" governs how hard a player can kick the ball, "Accuracy" governs how successful those kicks are likely to be, "Skill" affects how easily the ball is controlled, "Speed" determines how fast a player can move (in all situations), and "Stamina" determines how long they'll be performing at full strength for. Between those 5 basic attributes, practically any playing style can make its way onto the pitch - and it's easy to see the difference between them. Not least because there's a great new display for each character's profile. The above wheel of statistics finally puts paid to the rectangle of text that we've seen in practically every game for the past 3 years! It sits to the right of the player's name, and shows all 5 statistics at a glance. The figures are even colour-coded based on how potent they are - with reds shades indicating weakness and green shades indicating perfection...

No Pain, No Gain
As ever, the above statistics are not set in stone. Not only do they fluctuate with each performance, but they can also be trained specifically in the gym! Fans of the wrestling games will be well aware of the "intensity" system that reappears here. Each course of improvement can be approached at any one of 3 levels of dedication - each more productive than the last. The only catch being that tougher regimes take a greater toll on the trainee's body, and leave them with less and less health to perform on the pitch. A character's energy is sapped by every second they spend in motion, and is restored every week in accordance with their stamina. When they're running on empty, they might as well not be there at all - so training becomes a delicate balance if you want your star players to be match fit...

Cruise Control
The strengths and weaknesses of each player will become abundantly clear when you hit the pitch! Not only does a player need pace and stamina to make an impact on the field, but they also need a certain amount of skill if they want to hold onto the ball. One of this game's love-or-hate features is that it uses super-realistic ball physics to make you responsible for every touch of the ball. As in real life, it's all too easy for the ball to roll out of your control if you move more fancifully than the player can cope with! Fortunately, there are plenty of tricks to give you a fighting chance. A player will automatically tuck a ball under his feet when turning on the spot or receiving a fast ball, and high balls are likewise chested down for your convenience...

May The Force Be With You
A player's various skills also come into play when releasing the ball. You have 3 basic kicks at your disposal, which are all affected by the kicker's potential power and accuracy. You can either shoot, pass, or lob - and holding down each command increases the force of your attempt. Similarly, you can also add aftertouch by holding the relevant direction during the kick. With the exception of shots, these actions aren't targeted by default - so the player must once again take responsibility for the consequences! Wherever a direction is held, the player will assume you want to aim in that direction - and only by consciously selecting no direction will the player aim for his nearest team-mate. No such accuracy is available when hitting an aerial ball though! By pressing any command near a ball in mid-air, the player will automatically execute the most appropriate header or volley to reach it - whether it's a bullish diving header or a fanciful scissor kick. Back on the ground, a cocky player can employ yet more novelty moves by pressing 2 commands together. These include the above crossover kick and an elaborate flick-up to confuse your opponents...

Super Keeper
Stopping those shots is ten times harder than taking them, but fortunately there's some sophisticated goalkeeping AI to help keep a clean sheet! Telling the computer how to save a ball that could be approaching at any height and any speed is no small feat, but I've managed to produce a surprisingly robust system. The keepers have no fewer than 10 unique animations to call upon - each standing a chance of catching the ball whether it comes high, low, or anywhere in between. In true MDickie style, there's also plenty of unpredictable clumsiness! The ball can be dropped anywhere between catching it and returning to feet, so a skilful keeper becomes just as important as an agile one. The plague of clumsiness also ensures that any shot is worth a crack - so you never reach the point where you know what is or isn't guaranteed to hit the back of the net. It's not all about stopping the ball though. The keepers have just as many options once it's in their grip - as they can kick it up field with the "Shoot" command, or roll it out to a team-mate with the "Pass" button. If they're feeling particularly brave, they can even drop it to feet and venture outside the area...

The Danger Zone
It's not just the keeper that needs to worry about stopping the ball. Before it gets that far, your defenders should have already neutralised the threat with their range of tackles! In addition to simply muscling the ball away from an opponent, you can step in more forcefully with a lunging tackle or get even more physical with a dangerous sliding tackle. And if that doesn't bring them down, you can also resort to a blatant shove! It's practically guaranteed to incur a free kick, but it's guaranteed to halt your opponent's momentum too. If you're especially lucky, you might even leave them nursing an injury! As in the wrestling games, every painful fall risks long-term damage - and can certainly take its toll on a player's precious health. Even if you do survive a dirty scuffle, you can at least expect to emerge with an increasingly bloody selection of scars! The same system from the wrestling games returns here to chart the damage of each player. Those games may be on the backburner, but their violent spirit lives on...

Mob Mentality
Since there's no referee, it's down to the players themselves to keep the match in order. Whenever a potential foul (or any other spot kick) occurs, the victims earnestly claim it while the perpetrators shrug their shoulders in protest. To add fuel to that battle of wills, you can even pretend to be fouled (as in real life) - which results it even more vitriol and a special diving gesture! In fact, gestures of all kinds are a major part of this game and help to add a lot more personality to the proceedings. Once a spot kick has been awarded, there can be yet more bickering about giving the kicker some space. Meanwhile, each character has his own unique taunt which comes into play when randomly confronting any nearby rival during a break in play! They also have their own unique celebration animation upon scoring a goal - all of which ensures the players act as differently as they play...

The Art Of War
If you want to make the most of your team's potential, you have to pay as much attention to the tactics as the line-up itself. Although most matches are only 5-a-side, there are still all manner of formations that the 4 outfield players can assume - ranging from sturdy squares and diamonds to imbalanced attempts to attack or defend. In fact, you can set different tactics for each purpose in this game - and by combining different attacking and defending formations, you can paint your own unpredictable masterpiece! You can even fine tune the position of each individual player to create formations that don't even exist by default. And if things aren't working out as planned, you can return to the screen at any time by hitting the "Escape" key during a match. You can even make substitutions by replacing a current player with someone on the bench - although this does involve loading the characters in question from scratch, and can bring a slight delay to the proceedings...

Racial Harmony
In addition to editing the way a character plays, you can also tinker with their profile and appearance - or change absolutely everything via the main editor. The first thing you'll notice is that the feature has a new layout for the first time in 5 years! From day one, the characters have always taken centre stage while being surrounded by options - but in keeping with the unique presentation of this game, things have now been pushed to one side. There are also plenty of more subtle changes in the way it works. Since the players in any team are required to wear the same colour scheme, this game pays more attention to HOW they wear the kit rather than what they wear. Once the kit has been established, you can select any conceivable variation - ranging from humble vests to t-shirts and open neck shirts (with long or short sleeves). The game also makes more of an effort to accommodate the shorts that footballers inevitably wear. Not only are there more of them than usual (and provided in better detail to boot), but several models are specifically designed to make the most of them. The biggest breakthrough of all is that all kits and costumes are designed to be racially consistent too. Instead of relying on images with dedicated black or white flesh, the game now automatically paints the flesh of ANY costume to match the shade of the character's face! The system is so versatile that it even extends to a third shade that falls in between, and allows Asian and South American appearances to be faithfully portrayed...

New Balls, Please
The balls you end up playing with can be just as unique as the characters themselves. Not only are there all manner of different colours and designs, but there are also different shapes and sizes to contend with - ranging from sensitive "floaters" to heavy deflated lumps! That's exactly how they feel when kicked too, so you have to adjust your playing style accordingly. In fact, anything can be used as a ball - and you may even come across egg-shaped American footballs that bounce awkwardly on the ground! As with the costumes, you can even add your own customized creations. The game scans the "Balls" folder and loads in any correctly named additions, so you can have a field day experimenting with new designs and gimmicks...

Pitch Perfect
One of the game's most noticeable innovations is that it takes the sport away from the pristine pitches that gaming is used to. There are no fewer than 14 distinct locations - ranging from official outdoor pitches and indoor halls to urban streets and open landscapes. And their aesthetic differences are just the tip of the iceberg! Each venue plays differently too - especially away from the norm, where the action takes place on uneven terrain. They don't even promise to be the same size either! Every venue has a slightly different width or length, which forces you to reassess the way you move around the field and approach the goal. Speaking of which, makeshift pitches need makeshift goals too! Where goalposts aren't to be found, you may have to make do with traffic cones, piles of boxes, or trashcans - neither of which are a good indicator of the goal's upper limits, and force you to rely on your intuition when trying to score...

All of the available venues are neatly distributed among the territories to ensure that each part of the world looks and feels different. As ever, the atmospheric options are also on hand to make sure that even the most repetitive location offers a new experience. Each match takes place at a distinctly different time of day - from dawn, daylight, and dusk through to various degrees of night. Many of the more unusual locations also have their own aural ambience - such as traffic that can be heard in the distance of inner city areas, and the unmistakable sound of the coast in tropical settings. However, most of the aural atmosphere is provided by the small crowd that curiously attend each match! Using the tried & tested effects from the wrestling games, they now vocally react to each tackle, decision, and goal attempt. The concept of "good guys" and "bad guys" even plays out in the fact that the crowd cheer the home team and jeer the visitors, which is a reminder (were it ever needed) that your team is a long way from home...

Front Row Seat
Regardless of the location and atmosphere, there are plenty of camera angles on hand to help you appreciate the view! The game is so versatile that it allows you to combine any angle with any game speed to create your ideal playing experience - whether it's the top-down view of old or the default side-on perspective. Each method has no fewer than 4 further variations, which allow you to select the perfect distance too. Best of all, the controls adapt to your angle of choice - so they remain 100% playable at all times! The less playable angles, however, are still there for those that are a sucker for TV-style presentation. The "First Person" perspective is purely for novelty purposes, but I'm a huge advocate of the "Spontaneous" setting - which starts at the default angle and occasionally strays to give you an off-kilter view of the action. Whatever angle you choose, you should find that the game sensibly adjusts it to make the most of spot kicks. In preparation for free kicks, it pans slightly ahead so that you can plot on the goal - while corners are accommodated for by coming further back so that you can see the area...

Back To Basics
Of course, all of the above features can be mixed and matched to create your own dream contests in the "Exhibition" mode. Here, you can select any match type and fine tune every little rule to suit you. Then it's off to the pitch setup screen, where you can combine any location with any atmospheric conditions - and specify which of the many balls to use. After that, all that remains is to select the teams or individual characters involved and you're free to play a match of no consequence with fresh players! You can even choose to make it a multi-player contest, with one team on keys and the other on gamepad - complete with a "handicap" option to ensure an even playing field between players of different skill...

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