What a man! In fact, he's not so much a man, more of a legend, really. I am, of course, talking about Mr. Trevor Brooking. He was with West Ham for sixteen glorious, thrill-packed years. He made over 500 breath-taking appearances, scoring nearly 100 heavenly goals.
Yes, 'Our Trev', as he was known, was deservedly awarded the MBE in 1981. And now, ten years later, he has been awarded a game.
World Cup Glory is, it must be said, a text-only management sim. You must select the team you wish to steer to the top, train them in the various skills of top class footie, and let them loose on the teams from every other country on the globe.
The first thing to do is select about 20 players to take on the World Cup circuit with you. From this pool of talent you must choose eleven to play in each match, plus five substitutes. Choosing the players is basically a matter of identifying those with the highest skill and fitness levels (these change all the time, and vary greatly from game to game). This might mean dropping Lineker, Shilton and even the mighty Gazza from your team, but you must be firm.
Then you must place your men in position. A diagram of the possible pitch positions is displayed, and you have to slot your choices into place. (Things are made easy for you, so you can't end up with Gary Lineker in goal or Terry Butcher as a striker...)
Job done. All the men are placed, so you can go straight to the match. This might be a friendly or a qualifier for the Championship itself. If you've got far enough, it could be the Final.A minute-by-minute commentary is then scrolled in a window in the bottom half of the screen. Above this is displayed data on the match. This includes possession, corners, free kicks and, of course, goals.
After forty-five game minutes have elapsed (about five minutes in real time), the players all have a rest, and the team box above the commentary shows what Trevor Brooking made of the first half. His comments are, of course, pretty general, and run along the lines of: "The lads will be delighted with this first half. Belgium's right side is looking strong, but England have had the better possession."
Although these words of wisdom may be accurate and incise, there is little you can do to heed them, and are stuck with the team which is already on the pitch (apart from any substitutions you may wish to make). So you just sit in front of the monitor, agreeing with the wise old superstar (or disagreeing, if you wish to be controversial).
The second half is then played, and the result is displayed on a table which shows the outcomes of all the other World Cup games which have been taking place. True to the real Cup, you must play all the other members of your group to decide who goes forward into the Eighth Finals. From there on in, the games are knock-outs. If you can survive these, Trevor will offer as much encouragement as his dry, rather caustic wit will allow.
As the Cup progresses, your team is given the opportunity to train and improve. There are five skill levels to choose from when starting the game, but it isn't particularly easy on any of them; you'll need to juggle the positions of your men around a fair amount before they are in the places which best suit them. If you have a strong midfield, you'll see a lot of the action, but might leave yourself open to a lightning strike by the wingers of the opposing team. Consequently, if you put everything into defence, you'll not be scoring many goals, even if you aren't letting them in.
The bad news is that World Cup Glory isn't much better than a budget game. There is a lot of detail, especially concerning the positions of the men, but this has often been seen in other management sims costing much less. The commentary system works well, but, again, is not unique to this game.
Much - if not all! - of World Cup Glory is coded in BASIC, and occasionally input errors occur, which quit you unceremoniously from the program! This is incredibly frustrating. But BASIC or not, the game runs quickly and there are no awkward delays.
Overall, it is not a bad management sim, with the added attraction of Trevor Brooking. But as a full price game, it isn't special at all. So you'd be better off forgetting Trev and his wise words, and going for a £2.99 game.
Text-based football has never been particularly exciting, and at ten quid on cassette, fourteen quid on disk, you'd be better off shelling out three quid on a budget sim and spending the rest on beer and chips...
Win two matches.
N. Apart from coloured boxes, there aren't any!
N. No sound.
Grab Factor 42%
N. Setting up the squad is fiddly.
N. You can't just get straight into the game.
Staying Power 39%
P. It's fine, as far as it goes.
N. But it doesn't have anything to lift it above many others a third of the price!
N. A nice box and Trevor Booking's beaming face aren't enough to justify the (relatively) high price.