Liverpool FC-The 90's (1996) (NTSC)
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|Year Of Production||1996|
|Running Time||59:15 (Case: 62)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||None Given|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The third and final one hour presentation in this series, this time our panel was set the impossible task of deciding the Liverpool Team Of The 1990s when the decade was only half over. The 1990s were a sad and disappointing decade for the club, as they watched helplessly while Manchester United redefined the term 'domination'. One F.A. Cup and one League Cup was all they could manage. There is a hint of expectation of further success from the panel which is a reflection of the FA community at large at the time (1996). After the previous two decades, no one could believe that Liverpool would have such a hard time filling up their new trophy cabinet.
This panel is again filmed in their own environments rather than being brought into a studio where, as any bunch of aging footballers have a tendency to, they seemed to become a little rowdy. The four (the blurb can't count!) panellists are Jim Baglin, Mark Lawrenson (still sitting in his backyard), Peter Beardsley and Jan Molby.
Comments are heard from Graeme Souness with Barry Venison nodding wisely at his sage words on the 1992 F.A. Cup triumph. There were few offerings from anyone apart from the panel and this brief cameo of last decade's panellists.
There is the now-familiar smattering of great footage of each player in action as their merits are discussed. This is further enriched with great coverage of the 1992 F.A. Cup final.
The team was selected as follows: Goalkeeper David James, right back Rob Jones, Central defenders John Scales and Mark Wright, Steve Nichol as left back, the incomparable Steve McManaman was named on the right wing, Steve McMahon and Ronnie Whelan in central midfield, the illustrious John Barnes on the left wing, Robbie Fowler and the legendary Ian Rush were the selected strikers. Steve Nichol, Ronnie Whelan, John Barnes and Ian Rush are the players honoured with selection in both the team of the 80s and the team of the 90s.
Special Note: Despite the packaging stating that this disc is in PAL, it is NTSC only. You will need equipment capable of playing NTSC DVDs to play this disc.
It seems that they finally have it right. The transfer is quite clear and crisp from start to finish. There seems to have been more effort put into filming the panel in their various locales, and the transfer looks better in nearly every aspect. Obviously the source material is much better, and much newer as well. It is apparent that the technology used to shoot football went through significant upgrades through the late eighties and early nineties. The interview segues are actually marginally worse to watch than the football.
This title is presented in 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.
The extra effort all around is visible in all aspects of this title. The sharpness is no longer a barely tolerable aspect of the title, instead it is a relatively pleasing thing that really does seem to have had some extra effort put into it, so much so that they have introduced some very annoying edge enhancement into every scene with Jan Molby and the Peter Beardsley scenes as well. There is still some low level noise, but this is very minor.
Colour is excellent for most of this title. The only real exception is the Jan Molby set which seems to have been washed out a little, muting the colours and affecting the contrast. There is no bleeding, blooming or otherwise poor colour exhibited in any other part of the title.
Along with the bonus edge enhancement of this title comes a hint of extra aliasing. This is particularly noticeable as the player's numbers are shown at the announcement of each player (beginning at 55:05), but is apparent at various other times (such as at 16:28). I didn't particularly notice any chroma noise or grain this time. There is one obvious film artefact at 3:20 but there is really very little visually to complain about this time.
The audio is another Dolby Digital 2.0 224 kilobits track. In keeping with the added quality of the video transfer, the audio is a notch or two better than in the other titles of this series. It still seems as though there were serious words crossed between a couple of the sound engineers about where to set levels; they jump from cacophonous to muted and back again as they switch from musical interlude to football footage to panellists. I didn't feel the need to turn up the overall level quite so much this time, which was better.
Mark Lawrenson still sounds reasonably clear, but the other three experts have their moments where they sound muffled, woofy, or a little indistinct. As usual, the various commentators were always clear, distinct and understandable. Audio sync was not a problem with this transfer at all, and was completely spot on.
There was no music in this title except for the theme at the start and end, and the occasional one or two bar grab during a cut scene. This is identical in all ways to the previous title. I caught a couple of bars of new music for this title, but the featured music was predominantly the same as on the previous two titles.
There was some excellent use of the rear channels in several pieces of game footage this time, really filling the crowd out right around you (e.g. 33:27 and from 55:05 onwards). It was a feature that was not used often enough. The interviews were also no longer limited to the front channels, the rears being used to fill out the sound whenever the panelist's voice was used over footage. These instances of surround use really only served to remind me that they weren't there for most of this title, and left me wondering why they were totally absent in the other two titles.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu and extras are fundamentally identical to the last disc. The menu is functional without being inspiring. It has about 2 minutes of various clips from the feature though these are obscured by a large Liverpool F.C. emblem over the top.
The blurb mentions the following extra features:
There is a fairly comprehensive annotation of each player's career. A great reference!
There is a fairly comprehensive annotation of each manager's career. A great reference!
1990s Club Profile
A single paragraph outlining the great side. Hard to justify calling anything this sparse a profile.
Did You Know?
Little more than an added piece of trivia on a profile, this hardly seems worth mentioning as a separate extra.
Unmentioned are the little red soccer balls that appear at various times through the stock footage. Activating these will take you to some relevant info such as a player profile or campaign information.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This disc is not available in Region 1.
A much better effort in all ways. Still disappointingly short and lacking in extras, but this is a significantly more watchable title.
The video quality is average.
The audio quality is average.
The extras are unsatisfactory, being little more than a few paragraphs of historic information.
|DVD||Marantz DV-4100, using RGB output|
|Display||Metz Artos (82cm, 16x9 CRT Display). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front: Krix Lyrix; Centre: Krix Centrix; Rear: Krix KDX; Subwoofer: Aaron Sub120|