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UEFA Euro 2004

So, you're English. Qualified for the European Championships and all that. Good for you. Just remember that there are millions of people in Britain who will only be watching Euro 2004 to see your boys choke.

Scottish, Welsh and Irish football fans, having failed to get through qualifying, will love it when you get knocked out. That in itself is Euro 2004's killer advantage over England International Football - rather than being stuck with England, you can take any one of 51 European nations and play through a whole Euro campaign, from friendlies to qualifying, to finals, to glory. Yes, even Scotland.


Totally Bangin' Man
It places you firmly in the patent leathers of your national team coach. You have 40 eligible players to craft your squad from, each one subject to injuries, suspensions, and a new morale system. If a player is banging them in for his club his morale will shoot through the roof, but if you drop him or play him out of position he'll be sick as, um, some kind of tropical bird. A cockateel or something.

But Euro 2004's still primarily an on-the-pitch game. We're pleased to see that EA has actually reacted to the requests of FIFA players and not just blatted out the same game. Give-and-go passes, dummy and chip shots, diving headers, bicycle kicks, and a new Pro Evo style crossing model have all been added.

Pro E NO
Unfortunately, and we've been stifling this for about 300 words, it hasn't got Pro Evo's instinctive feel. Euro 2004 has some ten new skill moves pulled off with deft flicks of the right analog stick, but skinning a defender one-on-one is like trying to nail some squitty diarrhoea to a wall. The gameplay is frustratingly slow at times and we hate the complicated corner and free kick systems.

But you've got to hand it to EA. Euro 2004 is slick, well presented and impeccably licensed, and we'll eat our own faces (we draw the line at faeces) if it doesn't sell like really nice cakes heated up. But no matter how sweet it is to see Scotland stuff England in the final, it still doesn't capture the beautiful game like Pro Evo.

The verdict

Like a slinky temptress in filthy undies who beckons us away from Pro Evo. Nice additions and seductive licensing make it more than the average FIFA rehash.

PlayStation 2
Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts