In direct competition with Ocean's Match Day II comes Gremlin's latest big-name licence, Gary Lineker's Superstar Soccer. Similar to Mr. Ritman's game, this gives the player the dual aspects of management and real playing action, but approaches them quite differently.
The game is structured into four divisions of sixteen teams, with the player's team starting in the fourth, playing both league and cup games. Any of the four division tables can be examined, as well as a teams' statistics, set-up and list of players.
When the player starts a match, he can change the control of the coach, centre forward and goalie to human or computer. If all three are set to computer control, the player can elect not to watch the match, but just let the computer work out the result.
The player only has one footballer to control for the whole match - the computer follows the action on the ball, which means that the player's centre can be a long way off screen. When the player has the ball, he can either pass, by holding the joystick towards a player and tapping the button, or shoot, by holding down the button.
A knock-out league cup competition is also held during the season, giving the player a chance to go for a trophy as well as the league title.
What has happened to the software industry? There are more football games on the market than I've had hot dinners - and that's saying something! Unfortunately Gary Lineker's Superstar Soccer holds nothing new. The game isn't very well laid out, and the options menu is cluttered with text. The playing screen isn't any better, with poorly animated and difficult-to-see footballers running around the garish pitch. Gary Lineker's Superstar Soccer is a sort of cross between Football Director and Match Day II - but hasn't the flair or playability of either.
Not having control over the whole team is strange - you can't even tell which player is under your control, making the action hard to follow, especially when you're at one end of the pitch and the ball Is at the other! It also means that you have a much less significant part in the game - in Match Day II you have a feeling of complete control and are able to set up moves how you want to. In the light of Match Day II, Gary Lineker's Superstar Football is a very poor offering - I know which one I'd rather buy!
Gary Lineker's Superstar Soccer is very much in the vein of Football Manager. Managing a football team end guiding it to the top of the league does have its appeal, but I prefer to control the action on the field rather than off it. The graphics are barely average, with very little to make them stand out. On the whole this is a good football management game, but Match Day II is still the definitive football game as far as I'm concerned.