Alright, all you smirking football-management-game haters. Scram and get lost. There'll be none of the usual gratuitous teasing of soccer strategy in this review, no whinging about elementary BASIC programming, and definitely no whining about blocky graphics. I don't care if I'm the only person in Amigadom to still play these things. I'll still stand up and proudly say, "Yes, I play soccer management games and what's more, I bloomin' well like 'em."
Mind you, I'd have to be pretty fanatical not to admit that the fortunes of footy power games have slumped alarmingly over the past two or three years. The trouble is, these games have hardly progressed since the number-juggling glory days of Football Manager and the original Football Director in the early 1980s. Okay, so Anco's Kick Off-ish Player Manager tried to be different, with an ambitiously sophisticated game system and dreamy graphics, but the game didn't quite hang together, and, anyway, it was a real one-off - the idea of doing something interesting with management has simply failed to be followed up since.
That was two years ago. Now - at last! - we've got something new that promises to incorporate reasonably complex gameplay with sweet graphics and still work without being plagued by bugs and inconsistencies. The game is management specialists D&H Games' upgraded version of their three-year-old Football Director II, and - I hate to say it - it's disappointingly ragged.
Football Director II now includes a few extra options - such as the ability to see what's going on in European competitions and other leagues - and there's a reasonably user-friendly game environment, but none of this has made the gameplay any more interesting. The trouble is Football Director II really needed a total revamp, not just to get cosmetically touched up.
It would be too tedious to bang on about every sub-standard aspect of the game, but (suffice to say) it offers little that wasn't available half a decade ago. A real disappointment for those of us who were hoping for something exceptional - not even the patronage of us die-hard footy freaks will sustain much more of this stuffy repetition.
A disappointing affair which doesn't really offer anything new. Fans of the genre will not be impressed, and everybody else will need little warning to stay away.