Different Versions of Emlyn Hughes International Soccer

ALTHOUGH WE HERE AT EHIS64.NET mainly concentrate on the Commodore 64 version of Emlyn Hughes International Soccer, we nevertheless acknowledge the fact that it was not the only platform that the game was released on. All in all, five different conversions of the game were made, with releases ultimately appearing for Commodore 64, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amiga OCS and Atari ST.

On this page we have attempted to point out all the differences between these five different versions of EHIS. The differences range from the smallest and most insignificant facts about spelling inconstancies to the more general (and somewhat subjective) reflections on how the different ports actually play and feel. Because of our bias towards the Commodore 64 version, it has been chosen as the general standard of measure to which the other versions are compared.

The discussion has been arranged under the following sections:

If at any point you feel like there is way too much data and way too little sense in all this, scroll down to the bottom of the page to the "Feel" section, where we offer a brief review of each version.

About the comparison

DUE TO TECHNICAL LIMITATIONS the games were not tested in their original environments, but instead on various emulators available for the PC. The following table lists the emulators primarily used as well as the sources for the game files.

Commodore 64 Amstrad CPC ZX Spectrum Amiga OCS Atari ST
Commodore logo Amstrad logo Sinclair ZX Spectrum logo Amiga logo Atari logo
Emulated with CCS64 3.0 beta 1.5 Emulated with Caprice 32 3.6.1 Emulated with Spectaculator 6.25 Emulated with WinUAE 0.9.92 Emulated with Steem Engine 3.2
The tape and disk images used can be downloaded from our downloads section

Release dates & people

AS GRAHAM BLIGHE wrote every single version of Emlyn Hughes International soccer, the games were released as they were completed, rather than putting them all out at once. Interestingly, the Amstrad loading screen identifies Michael McLean as working on the version, although he was no more involved with the project at that point. It is not the only mistake in that particular screen, however, for also Graham Blighe's family name is miss-spelled. Note also how the Amiga version is ©1989, as it was originally scheduled for autumn 1989, but got pushed back all the way until June 1990.

Commodore 64 Amstrad CPC ZX Spectrum Amiga OCS Atari ST
The loading image used for C64 The loading image used for Amstrad CPC The loading image used for Spectrum The loading image used for Amiga The loading image used for Atari ST
Released in
October 1988
Released in
May 1989
Released in
March 1989
Released in
June 1990
Released in
June 1990
Released by Audiogenic
Arcade programming and A.I. by Graham Blighe
Produced by Peter Calver
Graphics and animation by Andrew Calver ?
Strategy section by Michael McLean ? Strategy section by Terry Wiley, closely following the design of the earlier versions
Music by Barry Leitch No music Music by David Whittaker

Strategy Section: Default settings & spellings

THERE ARE A FEW DIFFERENCES between the selections that are considered defaults between the five versions. Similarly, there are a few spelling mismatches.

Commodore 64 Amstrad CPC ZX Spectrum Amiga OCS Atari ST
The C64 Options menu The Amstrad Options menu The Spectrum Options menu The Amiga Options menu The Atari Options menu
The pointer is a red arrow The pointer is a blue arrow that changes to gray when over blue areas The pointer is a red arrow
Changing a list item works by pressing down the button and pulling the joystick either left or right Changing a list item works as in the earlier versions, but when only the button is pressed on a list item, either the following or the previous item is given depending on the button pressed. With the mouse, the left button scrolls the list backwards, the right one forwards.
A menu opens by clicking on the menu header A menu opens by taking the pointer on the menu header
Duration: 10min Duration: 12min
Extra time: No Extra time: Yes
"Practice" "Practise" "Practice"
"Equal Skills" "Equal Skill" "Equal Skills"
Skill Level: 1 Skill Level: 5
Kick Directions: 5 Kick Directions: 1 Kick Directions: 5
Auto Reselect: Off Auto Reselect: On Auto Reselect: Off
Points for win: 3 Points for win: 2
Substitutions: 2 Substitutions: 1 Substitutions: 2 Substitutions: 1
No "Music (on/off)" setting "Music (on/off)" available

Strategy Section: Colour settings & other menus

AS THE DIFFERENT PLATFORMS GREATLY DIFFER in their abilities and ways to handle graphics, it is not surprising that their colour settings are very different.

Commodore 64 Amstrad CPC ZX Spectrum Amiga OCS Atari ST
Team colour settings on C64 Team colour settings on Amstrad Team colour settings on Spectrum Team colour settings on Amiga Team colour settings on Atari
Colour menu: Pitch, Line, Ball Colour menu: Pitch, Line, Flesh, Shorts, Goalie Colour menu: Pitch, Player Colour menu: Team selection, Set colours
Each team has separate home & away shirt colours that can be chosen from 16 default colours Home team always in white shirts with flesh-colour stripes, away team in green shirts with flesh-colour stripes Home team always in transparent (i.e. field-green) shirts, away team in transparent shirts with black stripes Each team can be given colours for flesh, shorts, shorts stripe (not written), socks, socks stripe (not written), shirt 1 (home), shirt 2 (away, not written) and the sleeve (long or short). The colours can be changed through RGB settings, except for the flesh colour which is chosen from a list. The possibility to change the team flag is also available. As with the Amiga version, but the "shorts stripe", "socks stripe" and "shirt 2" texts are visible and no team flag selection is available
"Format disk" in Game menu No "Format disk" in Game menu
"Team colours" in Game menu No "Team colours" in Game menu
No "Catalogue disk" in Game menu "Catalogue disk" in Game menu No "Catalogue disk" in Game menu "Catalogue disk" in Game menu
No "Make data disk" in Game menu "Make data disk" in Game menu
Next match is always shown Next match is shown only in the Edit team and Pick team windows

Strategy Section: Teams & players

THERE ARE A FEW rather interesting differences in the players' names between the five versions. The only team that is exactly the same in all of them is West Germany, while Spain changes to Brazil and Argentina in Amiga and Atari respectively, and the Commodore 64 version is the only one with its particular Irish team.

Commodore 64 Amstrad CPC ZX Spectrum Amiga OCS Atari ST
Exiting Ireland on C64 Exiting Ireland on Amstrad Exiting Ireland on Spectrum Exiting Ireland on Amiga Exiting Ireland on Atari
Pointer changes to red square for Edit Team Pointer stays the same (arrow) for Edit Team
Double-clicking exits Edit Team Clicking on the "Game" menu header exits Edit Team
Exit confirmation box order is: return, approve, discard Exit confirmation box order is: return, discard, approve
Team names are given with all-capital letters Team names are not in all-capital letters
Player names are not in all-capital letters Player names are in capital letters Player names are not in all-capital letters
Default player (computer) written in all-capital letters Default player (computer) written all lowercase
Max fit: 100 Max fit: 99
Team 1 (England) As C64, but Alderton instead of Alderson
Team 2 (Scotland) As C64, but McAlister instead of MacAlister, McGregor instead of Macgregor
Team 3 (West Germany) the same in all versions
Team 4 (Spain) As C64, but Fernandez instead of Fernadez, Pinaro instead of Pinero As Spectrum & Amstrad, but team name Brazil, Buendia instead of Peinado, Marquez instead of Chinchilla As Amiga, but team name Argentina
Team 5 (Italy) As C64, but Diatti instead of Piatti, Capelletti instead of Cappelletti, Tortellini instead of Tortelloni, Orieta instead of Orietta, Minelli instead of Minelloi
Team 6 (France) As C64, but LaCroix instead of Lacroix, Beinex instead of Hanaire, LeClerc instead of Leclerc
Team 7 (Holland) As C64, but Val Arpels instead of Van Arpels As C64, but all "van"s spelled with a small v
Team 8 (Ireland) Completely new player names: O'Reilly, Beath, Flynn, O'Mally, Joyce, Shaughnessy, Caffrey, Lenehan, Mulligan, Kennedy, Boyle, Finnegan, Byrne, Kelly, O'Hanlon, Molloy

Arcade: Graphics & sounds

EMLYN HUGHES INTERNATIONAL SOCCER was never famous for its sounds, although Leitch's theme song does have its admirers. Meanwhile, the graphics obviously got much prettier towards the the Amiga and Atari versions.

Commodore 64 Amstrad CPC ZX Spectrum Amiga OCS Atari ST
Kickoff on C64 Kickoff on Amstrad Kickoff on Spectrum Kickoff on Amiga Kickoff on Atari
Human player marked with a different shirt colour Human player marked with an arrow above the player
Time, score, player names and other information displayed over and below the match area in their separate places Time, score, player names and other information displayed over the match area in their separate places Time, score, player names and other information displayed on a screen below the match area. Time and score not visible most of the time. As with Amiga, but the screen is above the match area in front of the advertisement boards and the audience
After scoring the player runs down to celebrate After scoring the player runs up to celebrate After scoring the player runs down to celebrate
Advertisement boards repeat five different ad texts: Match, Audiogenic, Early Times, Match Magazine and Coca Cola No advertisement boards Advertisement boards repeat three ads: Super League Manager, Audiogenic and Match. The colours of the Super League Manager boards change according to the teams on the field.
Static audience that looks like a bunch of gray potatoes. Audience noise audible all the time, with special reactions to goals or good chances. No visible audience and no constant audience noise. Chants after a goal and reactions to a good opportunity audible. The audience looks like actual people and they wear the teams' colours. Constant chanting and other quite realistic reactions to the match proceedings audible throughout the game. After a goal the supporters of the scoring team wave banners.

Arcade: Technical details

YOU WOULD THINK that the playing fields, player speeds and shot strengths should be more or less the same from one version to the next. You would, however, be wrong. If you really want to know your EHIS, take a close look at this table!

Commodore 64 Amstrad CPC ZX Spectrum Amiga OCS Atari ST
Throw-in on C64 Throw-in on Amstrad Throw-in on Spectrum Throw-in on Amiga Throw-in on Atari
Goalkeeper always opens straight forward Goalkeeper can open straight forward or to either side
All free kicks are short Free kicks can be given either as short or long
It takes a player (with Equal skills) 9.5 seconds (on the game clock) to run from the middle to the end of the field with a ball 13 seconds 9.5 seconds as with C64
It takes a player (with Equal skills) 5 seconds to run from the bottom to the top of the field without a ball 6 seconds 4 seconds 5 seconds as with C64
High shot from top speed (with Equal skills) from the edge of one's own penalty box sends the ball 1/2 the way on the opponent's half 3/7 of the opponent's half 4/7 of the opponent's half 3/5 of the opponent's half
High shot from standing (with Equal skills) from the middle of the field sends the ball 3/5 of the opponent's half 1/2 of the opponent's half 2/3 of the opponent's half 5/9 of the opponent's half 1/2 of the opponent's half

Arcade: The "feel"

AFTER ALL THOSE NUMBERS you must be wondering which version is the best? Well, the number in our domain name should give you a hint, but if it doesn't, or if you just want to know how all these different versions actually play, read on!

The Commodore 64 version

Spain scores on C64 As the C64 version is really what this website is about, it should not come as an especially big surprise that we really like it. Sure, it does lack a few features such as longer free kicks that are found in later versions, and it also has some bugs... erm, features... not present in the subsequent ports, but all in all it seems to us that Blighe and the rest of the team got it right on their first try. And somewhat paradoxically, possibly the biggest advantage that the C64 version has are the relatively poor graphics. Although the players look and move like lego®-men, the fact that once can easily see which part of the body the player is going to handle the ball with gives one far more control over the proceedings than any of the later versions of the game. As we have pointed out in our general EHIS section, we consider the Commodore 64 version the greatest football game ever made for any computer.

The Amstrad CPC version

Spain scores on Amstrad The Amstrad version of the game is the slowest of the various ports. Although the difference is only a few seconds, for someone more used to the other versions, it feels that a run through the opponent's defence takes forever. Amstrad's graphics are sharp, but the inability to change the shirt colours makes playing visually rather repetitive. Similarly, the lack of any audience save for some noise after goals or near-goals seriously hurts the atmosphere. Yet, the biggest downside of the Amstrad port must be the smallness and roundness of the players, at least when compared to the C64 guys. It is not so much the difficulty to see them but the smaller reach of the players and the fact that one can no more really control the game on the pixel level that causes the game to become less of a science and more of what other soccer games are like. Finally, the lack of advertisement boards on the side makes judging your position on the field difficult when there is no goal or midfield area in sight. But after all is said and done, even with these defects Emlyn Hughes International Soccer was probably the best soccer game offered for the Amstrad CPC system.

The ZX Spectrum version

Spain scores on Spectrum The Spectrum version is faster and handles better than the Amstrad one, yet it is even less enjoyable to play due to the shirt colours being very confusing to say the least. As the only difference between the two teams' shirts is that the away team is striped, it is nearly impossible to distinguish individual players in tight situations. Spectrum is also plagued by the same audio-visual problems as Amstrad - namely, the lack of advertisement boards, audience and the smallness and roundness of the players all make the experience of playing Emlyn Hughes International Soccer on Sinclair's ZX Spectrum much further away from Nirvana than what it should be. But to repeat the closing words for Amstrad, we are yet to see a better soccer game for Spectrum, either!

The Amiga OCS version

Brazil scores on Amiga The Amiga version of Emlyn Hughes International Soccer probably looks and sounds the best, although Whittaker's theme song does pale in comparison with Leitch's brilliant C64 tune (which, on the other hand, is also somewhat more annoying after the umpteenth loop). As the possibility to give long free kicks is combined with a more intelligent A.I. that causes one's computer team mates to be better positioned, the Amiga version makes a more tactical playing style easier to pull off. On the downside the goalkeepers seem weaker, and not seeing the time and current score continuously is a small but annoying hindrance. In the end the Amiga port is quite a good one, and although the versions differ somewhat, the choice between it and the C64 version probably ultimately boils down to the simple matter of which machine one loves and has got more used to. (And the C64 version arguably needs more skill.)

The Atari ST version

Argentina scores on AtariThe Atari port of Emlyn Hughes International Soccer is technically the same as the Amiga version with the same advantages and shortcomings. Yet, it is surprising to see how much the position of the information board matters. Although the audience is far from being a crucial part of the game, for some unexplainable psychological reason having most of it blocked throughout the match distracts a great deal. On the other hand, it is perhaps more natural to have Spanish names given for Argentinian players, rather than for Brazilian ones as with Amiga. Yet, it is altogether puzzling that the makers couldn't include both teams, or any other non-European teams for that matter.