Match Of The Day - Rerelease
Copyright/Publisher: Zeppelin Games, Coded By: Dave Sowerby, Additional Code By:
Ian Copeland, Graphics By: Neil Hislop, Designed By: Gareth Briggs &
Dave Sowerby, Release Year: 1992, Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1

For thirty years, Saturday mights have had millions glued to their TVs as a fiesta of footy frolics spew forth into living rooms nationwide. Can a C64 recreate the thrills and spills of TV's Match of the Day? Des 'n' Jimmy host the show with MILES 'SWEEPER SYSTEM' GUTTERY offering professional comment...

They're a funny breed, these soccer management games. Just about all of them have a clumsy team selection ystem, heaps of figures and skill ratings which have no apparent bearing on the game, and - above all - a distinct lack of action.

If these are the necessary ingredients for a classic, then Match Of The Day will surely go down in history books. My own personal thoery however, is that MOTD is yet another simplistic prog with nothing to offer that stretches the machine or genre - in any way, shape or form.

Match's options are presented in a neat icon form, with the main options screen being a representation of your management diary. Within this magical volume are pages for each day of the week; each of which have five 'appointment' slots to be allocated to various aspects of running the club.

To assist you with your tasks, you've got various ground staff - you can liaise with the physio to keep star players in tip-top condition, while the coach tells you who's not performing, allowing you to devuse a suitable training program.

Players have four skill ratings for goalkeeping, defence, midfield and attack. This tends to be a little unrealistic, as you'll often find your midfield playmaker is also the best goalie. Perhaps a better approach would have been to separate keepers from outfield players and give them a different rating system altogether.

Probably the most important member of the management team (apart from your good self, of course) is the scout. It's he you rely on to recommend suitable players for purchase, though at the start it's advisable to bring in a few free transfers to build the team. The no-hopers you start with are far from a vehicle to glory.

Foul play, ref!
The match sequence, it must be said, is pretty poor. A number of preset animations represent 'highlights' of the game, with Des Lynam and Chinny Hill offering comments on the progress of play. According to the inlay, Jimmy's warblings 'give an indication of how your team is being perceived by the general public'.

Am I missing something? Statements such as 'Excellent skills by York' or 'It could go either way' really aren't all that enlightening. Mercifully, there's an option to turn off the match altogether, in which case you're simply presented with the day's results.

Speaking of which, the scores are pretty unsatisfactory as well. Rarely does a game have less than five goals (usually six or seven) and neither side can score more than seven in a match. Even without fielding any players I only lost seven-nil. Mind you, it was against West Brom!

The cheery chairman's your main enemy. When he appears it's either to inform you of a free-transfer listed player having been snapped up by another club, or to fire you for either losing too many matches or putting the club's bank balance into the red.

All the essential elements of a management game are in Match of the Day, but no true excitement is generated. Including real player names would'be added a deal to the overall appeal, as would a less fiddly method of picking the team.

They're presented as a list with each man's position next to his name, but in no particular order - it's often difficult to see who's doing what. Another niggle is the way injuried players are automatically removed from the line up without any on-screen indication.

Unless you actually ring up the physio and specifically ask about injuries you won't even know. Because of this, you frequently end up fielding the team with less than eleven men. There's nothing in the program to prevent this - a warning message would've helped...

In essence, most of what Match has to offer is okay, but the simplistic matter of merely balancing the books and keeping track of who's fit doesn't make for compulsive gameplay. Couple this with odd unrealistic bits - such as silly score-lines and dodgy player abilities - and you've a game that only veru bored (or boring) people will stick with for more than three or four matches.

MILES! 57%

JAMES!
Ahh, how things used to be, I can still remember Football Manager, and its diabolical 'match highlights'. Does Match Of The Day offer more? It's well-presented, but beauty's only skin deep, after all.

There are so many management games available at a budget price that another insipid addition is hardly welcome - and that's exactly what Match is. I tried and tried to find redeeming features, but everything it has to offer is all so... average!

I'd have expected such as prestigious licence (where football is concerned) to have offered a little more. Sadly while Match is hardly relegation material, it's nowhere near championship fodder.

Even worse is that I've just included a footballing clich'e at the end of my comment. Oh bunnies.

55%


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 75%
Good looking, labarious icon system at times.
GRAPHICS 56%
Functional icons, dull match sprites.
SOUND 00%
Huh? What? Where?
HOOKABILITY 70%
The game is initially pleasing.
LASTABILITY 49%
Lack of depth and playability.
FORCE FACTOR 56%


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