Multi-Player Soccer Manager

Publisher: D&H
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #73

Multi-Player Soccer Manager

Nowadays, the mere mention of the words 'football manager' prompt moans and groans and words like "Oh not again!". The market is awash with football games - either of the Kick Off action type or D&H's own Football Director strategy game. However, dare I say that this particular football game is different? The title, in effect, gives the game away - no pun intended. This is the first multi-player football management game and, with one important exception that I will go into later, offers good entertainment.

Up to eight players can participate in the game, which is completely mouse/joystick driven. After inputting the year of your first season you choose your team(s) and play begins in the Non-League. Apart from the five divisions you are given the FA and League Cups plus the UEFA and European Cups for when you reach First Division status.

Features are numerous: various team tactics (aggressive play, etc), formations, buy/sell players, injuries, sponsorship, retirements, contracts, manager's talk, crowd violence, play-offs, season tickets, over 100 teams and 1,250 players, etc, etc!

Multi-Player Soccer Manager

After selecting your team and clicking on the play icon the results are instantly shown, division by division (this cuts down the waiting time for large multi-player sessions). Your team will be highlighted within the division. After the result has been shown, a newspaper page is presented. Among the greyed-out writing will be your team's result plus the scorers (if any) and any other important information such as injuries, payment of sponsorship.

As a one-player game, MPSM is pretty good but it's as a multi-player game that it should come into its own, providing more exciting play. I say 'should' come into its own because the game's principle criticism, the manual, hampers much of the excitement. The problem with the manual is the acute lack of information that is given to you. This leads to a lack of appreciation of the finer points of the game's strategy and artificial intelligence. You have no awareness as to how, for example, the players' skill factors vary. Why and how do they rise or fall? Also I was foxed as to the meaning of some abbreviated headings: I still do not know what some of these mean.

Overall, a good game spoiled by a frustrating manual. Buy it but be prepared for a long, learning curve.