The Double is packed with more genuine detail than any other football managerial game yet produced.
But what happened? Before I'd even picked my team, The Double went and scored a horrendous own goal. On the list of teams were Watford Town and Bury Town. Who? Still, the other 64 names were right.
Undaunted, I spent ten fascinating minutes going through menus and sub-menus; listing 66 clubs with players and their wages (as of 1985 and reasonably accurate), plus ground capabilities and average gates.
Managers have to guess their next home gate in order to book the requisite number of boys in blue. They can pay for ground improvements, order scouting missions and even sack a few staff along the way. Interesting stuff. Has Football Manager a serious challenger at last?
No way, chaps. At this point The Double goes into irreversible slo-mo. Team selection is by cursor, which irritatingly returns to the top of the screen after each decision, and since none of the players have varying levels of skill it's partly pointless. To make it more laborious you have to count eleven players because the graphics don't tell you when you've reached the full side.
Never mind, the game's the thing.
Oh no it isn't. Fifteen minutes of primitive, stilted and stupifying dull graphics were enough to make even a day with po-faced Howard Kendall seem fun. And that indeed is the honour you'll win if you ever stay awake long enough to manage The Double.
Even skipping the match itself you must still endure 65 other meaningless team selections (one minute) plus 32 other results with scorers (seven minutes). On one occasion when in a fit of exasperation I said NO to seeing all the attendances they still came up (another four minutes).
Kevin Toms need have no worries. The Double is too ambitious on details and too tedious on everything else, which is possibly why they claim that being a manager takes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It certainly seemed like it with this game.