Football Manager 2
Copyright/Publisher: Addictive Games, Created by: Kevin Toms,
Release Year: 1988, Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1

Well, Saint, I always say that no-one can catch Liverpool at this stage in the season. 'That's excepting their crushing 6-0 defeat by Port Vale this week, eh Greavsie?' 'Well, I always say Liverpool are in a dangerous position at this point in the season... It's a funny old game.' 'Haha! You kill me Greavsie!'

Such is the typical discourse of sports presenters waxing lyrical on the current state of football; but how must Kenny Dalglish himself be feeling about the 'crushing 6-0 defeat'? Now is your chance to find out, as you place yourself in his shoes in the second Football Manager game.

You take control of a league club, struggling to make their way to the top where fame and money await them. Hurrah! The game commences with the selection of the team you wish to manage, selected by replying 'yes' when the required team name appears, followed by the option of having a sponsor.

If the sponsorship offered is not to your liking then you can take your chances and hope for a better deal. This depends on the 'Managerial Rating', which is the main representation of your performance as a manager. You then select your team for the first game of the season by choosing from a series of players in the 'reserves' and placing them in their relevant playing positions.

When all selections have beem made the game is played out and the 'highlights' shown. The scores are correlated to give an overall view of your team's position in the league. After the game, further options are presented, including buying and selling players and passing training, along with information on league positions and injured players, who are forced to sit out of the next game.

If there are less than 13 players available then the match must be forfeited. Your team must also play in a number of cup matches, which are played through six rounds followed by the semi-final and (hopefully) final.

Gordon Houghton
Football Manager 2 suffers from a problem similar to many other games of the type: it takes so long to get anywhere. Things look ominous right from the start, when the team you wish to control is selected from a seemingly endless list presented team by team until your choice appears - not the most convenient selection system in the world!

In a way this is a shame, because the game itself does have a lot of depth and realism. However this seems to have been implemented at the expense of playability, and boredom sets in after the first half hour. I don't see why you should be held up by having to plough through screens of text to get to the option you want. This is one for Manager fans to appreciate and conventional gamers to ponder over.

M.E.
Football Manager games seem to appeal to a certain type of player, due to the usually long delays whilst data is shuffled and recalculated, the lengthy menus and the slightly confusing interaction. Football Manager 2 has simplified the idea a great deal since the early games of the genre and for this reason could well prove more popular to a wider audience.

The menus are simple to operate and are laid out with adequate clarity; however the whole thing still seems to progress at a rather sluggish pace, making each game very long, and somewhat tedious. If this kind of game appeals to you then give it a try, as it's a good example of the Manager type; but it's still too strangled to appeal to my taste.

P.G.
There are a number of soccer game planned for release across the various computer formats, which generally give the player real time control of the footballers. Football Manager 2 is for people who want to be the boss and make big decisions whilst the computer-controlled teams do all running around.

The menu system is easy to use and well presented, leaving you to worry just about your managerial choices. The action scenes depicting the matches are terrible - a square ball and pink shadows! - but for some reason the tribulations of your poorly animated team are enthralling.

The viability of purchase really depends on whether you are a strictly fast-action person, as this isn't a joystick-wagglers' game. However, it's one for all types of strategists - potential, experienced, or otherwise.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 80%
Well planned but somewhat monotonous menu system.
GRAPHICS 41%
Garish football players only just portraying the action adequately.
SOUND 16%
Poor crowd and kicking sounds.
HOOKABILITY 65%
Requires some initial thought to make playing worthwhile.
LASTABILITY 77%
Those willing to persevere will find enough variation to keep their interest.
OVERALL 71%
Fans of the original will enjoy this, but it may not enamour many to the genre.


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