(Alternative Software, 1987)
Grimesditch Rangers, a small and struggling football club, has somehow beaten many of the best teams and reached the final of the FA Cup. As the manager, this is your moment of glory – but with three days to go until the final match, everything that can go wrong does. Bills need to be paid; the kit needs to be washed and Ma Wallis at the laundry won’t do it; there won’t be a coach available to take the players to the match; your star player quits the team... and so it goes on. This is actually a text adventure created using GAC, and apparently it sold quite well. Unfortunately, it’s a nightmare to play, thanks to an extremely unforgiving parser that demands you type an exact combination of several words, yet won’t accept more obvious combinations.
This is the original football management game, which was first released back in 1982 for the ZX81. You start in the 4th Division and must make your way towards the top of the 1st Division (remember, this was before the Premier League was formed!). There aren’t that many options available, but you can buy and sell players and change the names of your team and players, as well as deciding which players to use. Although the match highlights are awful, they don’t last too long. This game is certainly showing its age, though, and a lot of other football management games have been released since then.
This game is much better than the original. Once again, you’re in the 4th Division and have to work your way to the top of the 1st Division. The range of options is similar, but you can also do some passing training. You can now select where your players will go on the pitch, as well as choosing substitutes. The presentation is quite impressive and the match highlights are really nice and enjoyable to watch, too, with some realistic crowd noises! In fact, this is probably the best football management game for the CPC.
Whereas Football Manager 2 is one of the best football management games on the CPC, its sequel is very disappointing. As ever, you can select any of 92 teams and are automatically thrown into the 4th Division with a team that consists of a bunch of ageing thirtysomethings. Although there is a greater range of options available and the statistics are more detailed (for instance, there are eight skill and fitness attributes for each player, and full league tables are available), it’s such a bore to play. The entire game is very slow and cumbersome, and the match highlights seem to last an eternity – and why do you usually get two or three players in your team with the same surname?
This was actually released after Football Manager 2, which may cause some confusion. You can take control of any of over 100 countries in their quest to win the World Cup. However, you don’t really get to do much in the way of tactics; instead, you respond to questions asked to you by two commentators, which can affect the morale of your team. If you ask me, that’s a silly way to play a football management game. The match highlights are all right, though.
Yet another football management game in which you become the manager of any one of 96 teams and try to make your way from the 4th to the 1st Division. However, this simulation is rather more difficult than most others I’ve played. Your team consists of eleven players and five reserves, each of whom is a goalkeeper, defender, midfielder or forward, and is rated with a skill of between 1 and 5 – but as you play matches, their skills become worse, and even moving them to the reserves to rest them won’t help. You can buy new players on the transfer market, but only one player is on the market each week, and it’s nearly always not the type of player you want. The match highlights are quick, but that’s not much of a bonus when the difficulty level is set much too high.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1986)
Can you win the coveted award of Footballer of the Year? If you want to, you’ll have to show your worth and score goals – and lots of them. Starting in any of the four divisions, or the ‘super league’, you play matches and try to score goals by buying goal cards – and as you score more goals, you’ll earn greater recognition, money, and maybe you’ll be transferred to a better club. You can also buy incident cards, which might give you more money... but you might also lose money! This isn’t a bad game by any means, but it didn’t really grab my interest in the long term.
See also: Footballer of the Year 2.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1989)
Once again, you’re aiming to win the title of Footballer of the Year by scoring as many goals as you can in a season. The main differences here are in the scoring of goals – you choose you many goal cards you want to use, and you have to select from 21 plans. After viewing the blackboard tactics, you have to recreate this on the pitch and score. There are no incident cards, though; instead, they’re replaced by a ‘double or nothing’ game where you answer footballing questions. This also forms the basis of some transfer offers, and unless you’re a bit of a buff about football, getting them right is a matter of guesswork. This game would be better than the original, but the appalling graphics let it down very badly.
See also: Footballer of the Year.
(Design Design, 1986)
The Evil Lord wants you to collect several parts of a message that he has left on the Forbidden Planet. The planet is heavily guarded with laser defences which fire at you, and there are also many plasma tunnels (basically, hollow rectangles) through which you must pass, or your ship’s energy will be depleted. There are also ‘dislocations’ which teleport you to another area of the planet. It’s a 3D space shoot-’em-up which is very fast, but actually it’s a truly awful game; steering the ship using the map is very inaccurate, and your energy depletes so fast that you don’t stand a chance of surviving for more than five minutes. As Amstrad Action discovered, entering swear words into the high score table is more fun than playing the game itself.
See also: Dark Star.
(Interceptor Software, 1985)
Princess Mara has been captured by the evil wizard Zarn, and you have been sent to the forest to rescue her. However, many foes lurk within the forest. This adventure game is actually a bit easy, although there are several confusing mazes, and the exits from each room aren’t logical – for instance, you can go north at the start, but to get back to the starting room, you have to go west! The vocabulary is also rather limited, but this isn’t too much of a problem, and the graphics, while reasonable, aren’t quite up to the standard of Interceptor’s other adventures.