The American Youth Soccer Organization, or AYSO, is a youth soccer league whose goal is to build character through such tenets as balanced team play, positive coaching, and good sportsmanship. While these are admirable traits, the organization should also be warned about the peddling of poor quality merchandise to unsuspecting youths. The spirit of good sportsmanship, however, has inspired a positive spin on this review.
Like a walk down memory lane, AYSO Soccer's opening DOS installation reminds us of how much fun it is to edit your config.sys and autoexec.bat files and struggle with sound card compatibility issues. The charming, uniform graphics also invoke the warm nostalgia of a bygone era - namely the age of the 8-bit Nintendo system - with 22 pixelated boys, who are entirely uniform except for a slight variety in skin color, kicking and chasing a soccer ball around a bright green field.
Showing off is not encouraged, so the sound quality is kind enough to lower itself to the level of the graphics, producing a grand total of three muffled sound effects: the slide, the kick, and the ball hitting the post. Not wanting to single anyone out, the play-by-play man reserves comments like "That's not much of a tackle" for completely inappropriate times, either well later than or completely unrelated to the action actually happening on the field.
It's good to remember that it really doesn't matter if you win or lose, particularly because every member of every computer team is faster than every member of any team you control, and they have the ability to stop their kicks before they go out of bounds, slide tackle two or three of your players at the same time, and curve shots at impossible angles into your goal. Good sportsmanship is practiced as well as encouraged, as evidenced by your goalie's willingness to let a soft shot rebound right to an opposing player in front of the net and by your defender's pounding the occasional loose ball directly into your own goal.
While there's not much good here, there are several tournament and season modes if you're so inclined. Also, real AYSO player names and teams were included in the making of AYSO '97, so young soccer heroes around the country will be able to look through the rosters and find their names; a player editor lets them change their name or appearance if they're embarrassed.