Rugby Coach

Publisher: Cult Games
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #73

Rugby Coach

Your first duty as the coach of your chosen Rugby League team is buying and selling players (with financial help from a very friendly bank manager) and picking the team. Each individual player has four ratings (speed, strength, tackling and passing), and can be put in three basic player positions - Back, Halfback and Forward.

A player's ratings change dramatically according to which position he's placed in, which is somewhat realistic but the way it works is confusing. For example, a player of mine had good strength and tackling ability. Ah, I thought, I'll make him a forward. You can imagine my surprise then, when I re-examined his ratings and found his strength and tackling ratings had dropped to rock bottom!

When you've picked your site, it's time for the match (either in the league or cup). The match screen shows the current scores from all the games being played as the minutes tick by. Apart from a pointless static pitch close-up there's no graphical representation of the match action; just text messages saying someone's scored.

You can freely change your team's tactics, however, by pressing the relevant key for Normal, Drop (try more drop goals), Risk (aggressive) or Slow (defensive). You can also go back to the player selection screen to make substitutions and change positions. If a penalty occurs, you get the choice of attempting a goal or try.

Rugby Coach is a big disappointment. The dull matches bear no resemblance to the rough-and-tumble excitement of the real thing, with no reference whatsoever to scrums or number of tackles! In addition, the management game is very limited. To my cynical mind, it seemed a rejigged football management sim and never had me hooked.