The die is Castolo

Ah, the way we were. What’s quaint about this screenshot isn’t just the style of it – the old-school PES interface and colouring and whatnot. It’s the fact that I’m playing against Le Mans in a league encounter. Le Mans are one of my Division 2 opponents. And there are only 8 teams in Division 2.

I’ve played 6 matches in Season 1 and I’m already almost at the halfway point.Not a bad opening record, that, especially considering I started on 6* difficulty. I never normally open a Master League campaign on the ‘I’m proper hard, me’ difficulty.

The Defaults are as rubbish as I remember them.

On the right is my Formation along with my Starting XI, if they’re all fit and in form (they never are).

A 4-3-3 is the only formation I can play classic PES with. The game mis-calls it 4-2-1-3, in a nice tradition that continues to this day.

Jaric gets the nod at DMF over Dodo simply because Jaric is the better player. Jaric is my ‘he’ll do until Mathieu comes along’ player.

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Libermann again. Ximelez is as wonderfully rubbish as ever. Ordaz is a pleasure. And Castolo…

I’ve scored 2 goals in the league so far, and 1 in the D2 Cup. (First leg ended 1-0 to me.)

My very first goal in PES5 was scored by a certain Myth.

Look at him doing That Dance after that relatively straightforward finish following an AI blunder. I thought: you cheeky bastard

Regular readers will know that I have something of a love-hate relationship with Castolo. It’s only ‘something’ of a love-hate relationship because I have never loved Castolo.

When PES fans wax lyrical about Castolo, I never think they’re remembering Castolo. I always think they’re remembering his previous incarnation, Castello – back then he truly was a remarkable player, even a phenomenal one.

When the switch from Castello to Castolo came along, I found him poor. The only distinguishing feature was pace, and I’m more of a pass-and-move football gamer.

So Castolo, for me, became The Myth of Castolo, and I enjoyed making fun of the enduring renown that rightly belongs to his previous incarnation, Castello.

I know, I know – you have always turned Castolo into a superstar, he’s da best player ever, etc.

The point here is that I never have, and I wonder if I ever will.

So maybe now’s the chance to try. I will keep Castolo this time around on PES5, and see what becomes of him,

Here are the stats from my two opening matches. It’s worth noting that PES5 doesn’t always produce inflated fouls/free kicks counts.I only conceded 1 foul in that one, but got a ton (relative to PES2015-17) against me.

More balanced here:

I’ll try not to crow all the time about the plentiful fouls and free kicks that most matches are liberally sprinkled with. But it’s hard not to be thrilled by the experience of having fouls and free kicks in a football game, when they so clearly make general gameplay better by many orders of magnitude.

In more recent football games, particularly PESes 2015-16-17, the virtual elimination of a proper fouling mechanic means that the gameplay easily degenerates into a trancelike button-mashing state.

An abundance of fouls and free kicks makes for a richer, more complex, more PES-like experience. If there’s a serious case to be made for the opposite viewpoint, I would love to hear it.

One final piece of whimsy:

Trevor Brooking says ‘Pro Evolution Soccer 5’, followed by a wonderful PES5 ‘blurt’ sound.

Click that to hear exactly what it promises.

There’s quite a bit about PES5 that I don’t recall from its original year of life. I don’t remember experiencing the thrill of hearing Mr Brooking speak the title of the game before.

I heard it this week when I started the game up, then left the room for a few minutes. When I returned, the automatic demo match had just concluded and the game was reloading the main menu screen, and Trev uttered the immortal words instead of Peter Brackley.

We must imagine the Hammers legend, sealed in a recording booth in London, circa late 2003 or early 2004, a set of outsized ‘cans’ clamped onto his head, speaking the line over and over until he got it just right. Or do we think he nailed it first-time like a pro?

Note the change between ‘Evolution’ and Soccer’ – that strange pause and shift of emphasis. He says ‘Pro Evolution’ in a higher register than you’d expect, and then speeds up on ‘Soccer 5’, making it a sort of surprised-sounding announcement. Voice-over producers never simply wing it, everything is carefully weighed and assessed, so Trev’s rendition of the immortal phrase was no accident.

You can right-click and Save As to keep that sound clip for yourself. Me, I’m thinking of making it (or the ‘blurt’ sound just after it – or both) into my text message alert sound.

Updated: 25th April 2017 — 09:47


  1. As nG asked, here’s my PES PC summary:

    3 – It came from nowhere like a vision of 3d loveliness. How did it run so smoothly on a mediocre PC? Who cared it had fictional teams and not enough of them. It played like a dream and was miles ahead of FIFA on the PC.

    4 – Never played. I was still loving PES 3, it cost me nothing (ahem!) so why go buy a newer version?

    5 – Bigger and better than PES 3. From memory I can’t remember if I patched out the fictional teams and players.

    6 – Thus began the buying every year. PES 6 played like a dream. I definitely patched this and played it in all it’s KitServered gloriousness. It was awesome and may be my second favourite PES.

    2008 – This should have been epic. The PC version was going to use the same code as the XBox; fantastic! Except it really wasn’t.

    2009 – Better, but it never pulled at my heart strings.

    2010 – By now I never played PES unpatched. My routine was get patch, buy game, install game, install patch, play. This was a vast improvement. Played heavily, but I think it would be shaded by PES 6 for returnability.

    2011 – A tick to 2010’s tock. Was this the year of stumblegate?

    2012 – This was the one for me. It would be the one I would return to if I were to choose. By now I was designing my own retro kits and adding them to KitServer. I played a minimum of 10 seasons in my first career and was well into a second.

    2013 – I think I bought this. If I did it has faded into obscurity compared to 2012.

  2. I have a weird memory when it comes to PES in that I can’t remember specific games before PES 5. I remember players including Castelo – he had a cornrow hair style before PES 5 didn’t he?

    We knew it of course but it really is shocking to see how ‘easy’ ML is now in its early stages compared to back then. I remember battling for match after match just for a sniff at goal, let alone actually score one.

    And of course the transfer system meant it was just possible to sign players a little better than what you had but no more.

    Anyway, good to see the old default gang in the spotlight again. I look forward to continuing updates while I slowly play through the second half of my season six of PES 2017.

  3. I have a feeling these will be the most glorious pes chronicles updates to date…
    Werd is sure to notice RBC Roosendaal sitting in your d2 btw. Wasn’t there a d3 in pes 5 as well by the way?

  4. My goodness this has me salivating! I can’t allow myself to overhype it in my head, especias I’ll be ploughing my money into a new (old) TV to play it on too)
    As Shed says, that’s one of my big memories too. The struggle to score goals in your first season was ridiculous, EVERYONE was just so damn slow in every way! For me I’d always use the transfer window to try and bring in a pacy striker. Looking forward to scouring the game for potential signings and gasping “Oh s*** I forgot all about him!”

  5. Chris99 — thanks for the list, a very intriguing look at a PES modder’s life there. I wonder what you would have made of PES2014, the great ‘Hidden Master’ of PES games. So few people stuck around with that game that the PC modding community was quite barebones, but there was still activity.

    Shed — if I make a clear goal-scoring chance once per match it’s a novelty — and then Burchet or Fouque or whoever will usually shank it wide. After playing PES5 solid for a week now, I see what the forumites are saying when they say the shooting is too assisted over the last however many years.

    #1 — no Division 3 in PES5. PES3 was the last one with more than 2 divisions, I believe. I’m pretty sure it changed to 2 divisions for PES4. And PES5 definitely had 2 of course.

    Mike — it’s brilliant. And my first signing — which I’m contemplating right now as it happens — always had to be a versatile midfielder who could play in a number of positions. I usually went for Ono, but feel the need to try something different this time. I’ll reveal who on Friday.

    Also, you don’t have to have an old TV for the PS2 version. It’ll work on a modern HDTV, but the picture will be stretched and possibly blocky. So the solution there is to configure the output to display in 4:3 ratio, i.e. like the old TVs. It’s a couple of presses of a button on the remote control to do this. All the best with that….

  6. Shed – I’m reassured by that lack of clear memory, I was worrying I was defective in some way by not knowing exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard of ‘that’ schwarz etc.

    Mike – I’d really leave it on anything other than pc, my dip into 2008 is because it’s as far back as I can go without feeling sad at the state of the old girl. Just look at the chunky build of NGs players and imagine them in pixelated blob form.

    By the way I started the new ml as Celtic. Only reason is I realised I’d be in one of those multi European nation league twos and thought a back story of the premier league inviting ‘the best of the rest’ to try and feast on some crumbs was as good as anything. So it’s me, benfica, anderlecht, etc. And I will be delighted when I score. The idea you could be promoted in season one was always laughable. Till recently.

  7. NG That’s tantamount to bullying!

    And rightfully so.

    Actually a versatile midfielder was another of my first signings. My all time favourite was Stephanie Dalmat a French player, and also Liverpool’s Igor Biscan.

  8. ahh that unmistakable PES5 ‘bloop’ sound, friendly, welcoming and yet business-like at the same time. Not sure that such a sound would even be possible on the PlayStation 4

    #1 – PES2 had 3 divisions but we have been on 2 ever since, with the exception of PES6 on PSP which had a bizarre 3 division ML structure. I am pretty certain that the shift to realistic leagues has made footy gaming worse – long depressing 50+ game seasons in contrast with the drama and momentum you could get with just 8 teams in your league

    loving the list Chris99, you clearly have an eye for a good PES!

  9. Ah i was mistaken then. BTW the bloop sound is so comforting. wasn’t that also on ISS or is my memory failing me again?

    As for FIFA, as always I find it so hard to get into it. It just feels quite “iffy” for lack of a better word on the pitch and I cannot shake that feeling for the life of me. I almost managed with fifa09, I managed briefly with FIFA15 but that fell by the wayside due to personal stuff and now I find myself struggling once again. Started 4 careers mode and am kind of pushing on with my Leicester but I find my mind wandering.

    Got one ace up my sleeve…I could of course get PES17 for PC on the cheap (it always is) and patch the hell out of that. Or maybe my footing gaming season is just over and I need to move on..

  10. The ‘bloop’ or ‘blurt’ was also surely the sound that signified the input of a correct combination of buttons to adjust all the names?

  11. For anyone unhappy with the move to ‘no fouls football’ I’ve just witnessed the AI being booked for diving in the box. Why would konami decide that was something worth dropping, its outstanding. Have only scored one goal in five games though. Truly awful defaults, and at the moment a lack of obvious individual traits.

  12. Mike – it’s a real shame the electric kettle is the peak experience of your technical life (what with you being ‘not technical’ and all), as the PC is really the proper gateway to experiencing classic PES in the year 2017. My laptop is host to a cornucopia of PESness, with every PES from PES3 to PES2015 all present and correct.

    Uncle Turf – I’ve had that happen in PES2017 and in most editions of PES since its introduction – which was in PES2008, I believe. It’s not been dropped, it’s just very rare, so rare that it’s not surprising you’ve just seen it for the first time.

    #1 – ISS had its own range of menu blurts.

    And re. FIFA – imagine me holding up a flat palm to the camera and saying, ‘Sorry, not this year.’ And firmly shutting the door.

    I am so happy not to be doing the FIFA thing this year.

  13. Really?! Blimey you are privileged. I was thinking two penalties in 350 games was good going but I haven’t seen a foul for diving in the last five years at least.

  14. Uncle Turf – yep, just the 1, also my first for many years, and it just had to be in PES2017. Konami have left this is in for the drama of it, as you always think a penalty has been given to the AI at first. I recall a few others here saying they’d seen it this year and a few mentions on the forums too. For me this is very much in the zone of seeing other players encourage late substitutions to speed up when going off the pitch, or the goal decision system in FIFA – in a computer game it’s just atmospheric mood music rather than anything to do with gameplay.

  15. Just played the last 3 games of the season and I had a penalty and 2 red cards for Spurs. Boom!!

    I finished 4th, 15 points behind Man Utd. And I missed out on CL next season as Everton won the Europa League and Arsenal won the CL and finished 6th.

    Another chance to win the Europa League I suppose. 🙂

  16. I’d forgotten just how painful season one used to be. Two goals in eight games and no prospect of any type of tactics or approach other than booting it and hoping for the best. I didn’t realise 2008 had a 20 team division two either, I was expecting around 16 max. Think it shows that these were my wilderness years – post golden age, pre-BAL, possibly the years I indulged in marathon sopranos/west wing sessions rather than playing games?

    On the up side this ‘myspace’ thing they’re advertising looks good, might invest in that and the ‘vodafone’ they keep pushing.

  17. I can let you have a Betamax recorder at a reasonable price, then you can keep your games for posterity.

  18. Lloyd – I hope you bought a lottery ticket after your penalty and 2 red cards match. PES2017 needs the possibility that that could happen in any match.

    Uncle Turf – I haven’t got time to look back through my posts in 2007-2008, but I’m pretty sure I enjoyed PES2008 at first too. You’ll know when you’re reaching the end when you discover one day that you can literally run circles around the AI with most players. You’ll get there. Unless you implement strict abbeyhill-type House Rules for transfers.

    Chris99 – I’ve already offered him access to the exciting new Videodisc technology that it going to revolutionise home entertainment.

  19. I’ll be ok with that if/when it happens. It means I can put it back in a box with a memory rather than it sitting there winking at me and saying ‘you don’t know’.

  20. Uncle Turf – the PS2/PSP ‘version’ of PES2008, on the other hand, was a pure-bred classic PS2-style effort rather than the rushed next-gen attempt that was the PS3 version. PES2008 on PS2/PSP was PES7 in every way that mattered, a truly fantastic game and one of the best PS2 versions ever. It was the culmination of so many years of excellence. Arguably for that reason the best instalment of the series on PS2! Yet it is strangely forgotten and never talked about, either here or on the forums.

    While we’re wandering about in the halls of forgotten/neglected PS2 PES games, I believe they kept making them for PS2 right up to PES2011 or PES2012. Google and YouTube between them confirm this. Each of those unplayed PS2 games would have been markedly different from the PS3/PC version. Meaning there are around 4 editions of the game on PS2 than nobody, not even the hardest of the hardcore, seems to have played. Spooky.

    Now there’s an offbeat football gaming quest for the diehard PES completist. Get and play all the ‘missing’ PS2 games from PES2009 onward (or from PES2008 if you skipped that too, as most did).

  21. I see your 2009 and raise you this….

    2014 was still a PS2 title. Not just ‘the one that got away’ but is living in Rio under an assumed name.

  22. Hello! Ex-commenter and full time lurker here. Just wanted to confirm that PES2008 on PS2 was outstanding,for me the best PS2 PES, possibly my all time favourite PES. Played it to death back in the day, as I didn’t have a PS3 for a long time. Interestingly, I also had PES2010 on PS2. Nowhere near as good, felt like a half arsed effort to make a bit of money on the side. Moved onto PS3 after that, and it was never the same again…

  23. I have a trace memory of PES2014 being not just the last PES game on PS2, but the last PS2 game full stop. This article confirms. I also vaguely remember somebody on a PES forum having played it and said it seemed crazy-fast compared to the PS3 games.

    So if we discount PES2008 on PS2, which so many of us played and loved, the games from PES2009 to PES2014 inclusive were pretty much unplayed by anybody. That’s 6 (SIX) entire PS2 PES games – utterly distinct from their PS3/PC namesakes, remember – that are completely unknown to the fandom. Uncelebrated. Unplayed. As many PS2 games again as the ones we all remember and talk about (PES1 to PES6).

    Is that a project for a rainy day or what?

    Filbert – wasn’t PES7 (aka PES2008) on PS2 the absolute business? Great shame they never ported that or any other later PS2 version to PC.

    Hmmm. I’ve just remembered emulation. Emulation of old consoles on PC is now pretty decent.

    Definitely all a rainy-day project though. I’m playing PES5 and nothing must spoil that or take any of the precious time I need for it.

  24. well I had the PSP versions of 2008, 2009 and 2010. There were a few drawbacks, such as the lack of R2, just one stadium and the PSP’s grindingly slow load times, but on the whole they were well up with the finest of the PS2 editions. PES2009 PSP probably the best

  25. abbeyhill – knowing that the PS2 and PSP versions of PES2008 were identical (and the saves were swappable across consoles, in an eerily ahead-of-its-time sort of way), I’d say you’ve played the PS2 versions of PES2009 and PES2010. Wow. That’s… I just don’t know what to say. That’s special.

    ‘Play all the missing PES PS2 games’ is definitely going on my PES bucket list.

    It’s like when they find lost William Hartnell Doctor Who episodes in somebody’s cellar, or something.

  26. when I was trying to sell my flat that year all that was left in it was an old TV, PS2 and PES2008 – memories of long Sunday afternoons playing a Spanish ML campaign waiting for the occasional viewer to turn up. The global financial crisis commencing around that time meant I got rather further in my ML than originally hoped

    not-Greg – would certainly be up for accompanying you on a journey through the ‘lost’ PS2 versions if we can find a way of emulating them on PC

  27. At least it’s six memories no one else has this time and not just my Swiss cheese brain.

    From someone not too far behind mike in the ‘toaster as the pinnacle of technological endeavour’ stakes, how and why would a ps2 version of the game be different to the PS3? Is it because they use different engines and are limited/empowered by the different hardware? I’ve never understood all the stuff about games being a port from a different platform and how all that scales down to whether the players move a bit differently.

    I assume all this talk about 2008s overpowered dribble means everyone won the treble at least once that year?

  28. abbeyhill – I’d go as far as placing PES2008(PS2) second only to PES5 in greatness. Strange how we almost never reference PES2008(PS2) in discussion about the Golden Age of PES. Maybe playing it wasn’t a common enough experience.

    Re. emulation, last time I sampled the joys of emulation I was very, very impressed with how it’s come on, but when I tried PES1 and PES2, neither really worked. That was a year ago though. Will investigate further when I get time sometime next week. The thought of these Lost PES Games has suddenly engulfed me.

    Uncle Turf – I’m not qualified to give a fully technical description, but the difference between FIFA08 on PS3 and FIFA08 on PS2, say – or between PES6 on PS2 and PES6 on Xbox360 – was more than graphical, it was about content, rulesets (i.e. what passing/shooting/crossing were like), animations, speed, the lot.

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