Head Coach
Copyright/Publisher: Addictive Games Ltd, Created By: Simon Davies,
Release Year: 1986, Genre: American Football, Number Of Players: 1

Head Coach is a transatlantic Football Manager-style program in which the player takes control of a team and aims to win the Superbowl.

To begin, the player picks a team and sets their skill level; either Novice, Rookie, Veteram or All-Pro. The 32-man squad consists of offensive, defensive and special teams, listed on separate screens which show each player's age, skill rating, fitness and form.

A 'Midweek' section gives the coach an opportunity to swap existing players for thoose available on the open market. This trading is followed by a build-up to the weeks' game, including a display of the opposing team's strength and vital statistics.

The sub-sequent team selection is a rather long-winded and dull process, made more annoying by the slow moving cursor and huge keyboard buffer.

The action takes place on a representative pitch with the players depicted as inanimate matchstick men. Eight different actions (four defensive and four offensive) are made available, and the result of each move is ineptly play-acted by the skinny on-screen counterparts.

This portrayal is completely unconvincing, with little player movement and variation from move to move. Further still, the duration of the play is never longer than a second or two, and the diabolical graphics fail to generate any excitement, action or atmospere- three vital factors.

Worst of all is the unforgiveable disregard of the rules - if a team fails to progress ten yards within two downs the ball changes possession. Where have the third and fourth downs gone?

The match is played straight through (without quarters or halves), and is quickly followed by the week's results and league tables. At the end of the 12 game season, six division winners and one extra team from each conference enter a series of play-offs to determine the Superbowl finalists. Following a rest period of 20 days the next season begins.

A LOAD/SAVE option operates throughout, and on the whole the game structure is superb. The idea of picking teams and progressing from season to season is great, but unfortunately the execution is very poor. Inaccurate, frustrating and boring gameplay, annoying delays and over-complication ruin a potentially brilliant product.
Julian Rignall

P.S.
I can't really see any self-respecting American Football enthusiast taking Head Coach seriously. Behind the complicated facade of team selection and status checking lies a very simple game. The gameplay includes a number of inaccuracies - including the 'two down play' and lack of quarters - and the choice of moves is comparatively limited.

What niggled the most is that if you're supposed to be the head coach, why don't you have more control over the game - such as the power to call a time-out? Head Coach is irrattingly inexact and frustratingly limited.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 56%
A good set of options and excellent structure are tarnished by the slow and cumbersome execution.
DISPLAY 21%
Tiny, inanimate characters are sued to portray the action, and very unconvincing they are too.
AUTHENTICITY 35%
Some important basics of American football have been needlessly left out, and player names are rather unrealistic.
OPPONENT 81%
Effectively 12 different teams which can be tackled over four different skill level. Sometimes the computer's advantage is occasionally gained through the limitations of the game rather than its own skill.
VALUE 31%
Overpriced for a fundamentally flawed simulation.
OVERALL 37%
A nice idea, but it looks hopeless and antiquated beside the likes of Super Sunday.


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