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Captain Tsubasa (キャプテン翼?) is a game about soccer, developed by Tecmo in 1988 and published in Japan for the Famicom. In 1992, Tecmo translated and published the game for the NES in North America as Tecmo Cup Soccer Game, and in Europe as Tecmo Cup Football Game. In these translations, you must fight your way from junior league all the way to the finals of the World Cup. The game contains elements from RPGs as the players have skill levels that rise with experience, and are primarily controlled by inputting different commands through a menu system.
Captain Tsubasa was a popular manga and anime series that chronicled the life of a very talented Japanese soccer player, and the Famicom version of this game features many of the popular characters from the cast of the series. Tecmo Cup Soccer Game is a heavily westernized conversion of the Famicom game, featuring a different main character, a different introduction and more western-looking players.
Considered to be the first of many games based on the series, this game was the innovator of games that would be known as "Cinematic Soccer". Rather than having direct control over the action like a standard soccer sim; the game has a cinematic angle with the player having to choose his actions from a timed list and the results of these actions are animated on screen. Present-day games with a "career mode" setting would be inspired by this game's setup.
The changes from Captain Tsubasa to Tecmo Cup Soccer Game include:
- The intro was slightly changed. When the game was turned on, a lonesome soccer ball can be seen on a blue floor, rather than being accompanied by a young Tsubasa (on a green floor, probably to indicate grass) as in the Japanese version. Also, in the Japanese version, the plane was still shown (without the sky) in front of the logo, while in the American version, the plane was not shown in front of the logo at all.
- The main character (and pretty much all other characters except for the lovable announcer and the whistle-blower) have been altered. Tsubasa, a spiky-headed, black-haired kid, has been changed to Robin Field, a blonde young adult.
- Moete Hero, the theme for Captain Tsubasa, in the intro and the second half of the game, has been replaced.
- When a new game begins, the words above the announcer that says "ON AIR" have been replaced with "TECMO!". Also, the "JBS" logo has been omitted.
- The board behind Billy, the instructor, goes from green to blue. There are no kids sitting down with him. In other words, he is alone in that square.
- The password system uses English characters instead of Japanese characters.
- In Captain Tsubasa, the player had to go through a short little sidequest after each match to have Taro Misaki play on his team, but Taro's Tecmo Cup Soccer Game counterpart joins the team right away and is portrayed as Robin's brother Cecil.
- The quality of all goalkeepers in the game was dramatically upgraded, with some GKs (particularly the Zaps and Ninjas) being able to stop the special shot of Robin. Also, the GKs of Arabia (Argentina in the original), and Cameroon (formerly Uruguay) are very hard to beat.