Back in the era when PES and Fifa did not exist, we used to play soccer videogames in which you can perform jumping knee kicks, uppercuts and even sometimes tackles. Hat Trick Hero aka Football Champ for the European market, was the soccer game in arcades in which I wasted thousand coins. Super Sidekicks for the Neo Geo almost featured the same recipe, à la SNK. MVS System and F-1 are two arcade hardwares that could be called 'twins', as they were pretty much identical on their technical architecture. Capable of equivalent performances, the some details that might differentiate the two games are a slightly higher resolution and a superior amount of colors for Super Sidekicks, and also the year of release (two years later for SS). Indeed, Taito released several updates to its title, such as Euro Champ 92 ', which is a copy of Hat Trick Hero. There's no significant changes between these softs in any case, the next sequels of the game using a rough 3D and standing as far less good than the first drafts.
The SNK game is finer than its opponent, the zoom is more precise and cinematics successful. It packs more stadiums (rain, night, day) and the players are drawn a better way, looking more realistic. On its side, Hat Trick Hero is not too bad though and full of nice details, such as faces of the players and their expressions which are visible in a small windows at the top of the screen. However, when the game zooms in a goal or a fault, the pixelation is important and then it looks pretty ugly! This is still a detail in the game, as overall graphic quality is good enough for a soccer game. The point is still going to Super Sidekicks for its finesse and aesthetics standards, a bit higher.
SUPER SIDEKICKS............ 84%
HAT TRICK HERO............... 75%
Another realization point on which doubt is not allowed. The animation of Super Sidekicks a notch above the Hat Trick Hero's one. The players' moves are well decomposed, zooms and action are more fluid too. SS uses zoom-out for some phases of the game (goal kick) while HTH use a rather coarse zoom-in. Without being horrible, Taito's game animations are clearly inferior, and that's partially due to the hardware. But this has no effect on the gameplay, as if it's not aesthetically very good, the game still features a fast animation and a dynamic gameplay.
SUPER SIDEKICKS............ 90%
HAT TRICK HERO............... 83%
This part is more disputed, as both games have a good level of quality and some small defects too! Rock music rather successful in SNK's soft, no music for Taito's one. The mood of the public is far more successful in this one, because in Super Sidekicks the roar of the crowd is totally fucked up... It simply sounds like a 'made in China' vuvuzela concert... The voices are good quality on both sides with a little more fun in Taito's acting. We are granted nice samples too on intermediate screens, goals or when selecting teams. SNK, which has accustomed us to remarkable sound environments in its games, has a bit missed the boat here. Point to Hat Trick Hero!
SUPER SIDEKICKS............ 69%
HAT TRICK HERO............... 81%
The number of teams is not really significant (twelve for SS, eight for HTH) as it is a pretty irrelevant criterion for this comparison, as the differences from one to the other are imperceptible. In Super Sidekicks, it's possible to participate in the "SNK Cup" tournament, that consists of three group matches, semi-finals and final. Hat Trick Hero doesn't make better. The SNK game offers to change the gaming time, and you can also play Exhibition or Versus. The difficulty can be set too. Many options are missing in Hat Trick Hero which still offers for two players a similar lifetime as Super Sidekicks, because of its well-designed less "serious" gameplay. The two games pack interesting features, and a good dose of fun. Lifes are substantially equivalent, with a Super Sidekicks a bit more complete.
SUPER SIDEKICKS......... 86%
HAT TRICK HERO............ 84%
With only two buttons to play, set the same way - shoot/long pass, pass, tackle/illegal move) our rivals are quite similar. Everything moves well and commands respond nicely, with more technical moves in Super Sidekicks, but more fun in Hat Trick Hero! About the precision, HTH is a little better but it's due to more limitations in the ball physics and technical depth of the game. Anyway, Taito's baby is really fun, with punches and jumped knee kicks, the referee who's sometime like a punching ball; photographers hit by the shoots and many other tricks... There's dozens of little details like these that make the game so incredible. SNK plays in a little more serious and a bit more complete register, including dramatic penalty sessions. Technically, our rivals have about the same level, but Taito makes a difference with its game going totally crazy at times, which is particularly catchy and fun for two players. Slaps concerts guaranteed!
SUPER SIDEKICKS............ 82%
HAT TRICK HERO............... 89%
Technically, the game of SNK is better, but the craziness of Hat Trick Hero provides it a short victory with its gameplay. The better graphics and animation of its competitor didn't manage to match the pleasure of play and fun. Certainly, Super Sidekicks is doing very well in terms of gameplay, and it's always a pleasure to play alone or with a friend! But players might return willingly to HTH with a smile on their lips, for its fun and quirky side...
HAT TRICK HERO