Footie simulations seem to be all the rage at the moment, and The Double is, I think, up with the best of them. Set purely in the management/strategy mould, The Double concerns itself with, yes, the capture of both the League and the FA Cup in the same season. And of course it's far from easy.
The Double was accomplished in the very first Football League by my home town, Preston North End (almost 100 years ago), but since then has been achieved only four times. This simulation puts you in the manager's seat and asks you to make it five. Tricky.
The package comes with a security code entry system to ward off pirates, so don't lose that key sheet or you're up the creek. Once through this hurdle, the game begins with an offer to manage a Third Division team. There is no Fourth in The Double, for memory reasons. Now you start picking players and organising your funds as best you can.
Unlike in other footie manager sims, the players are not allotted ability ratings. It's up to you to discover individual talents, although you can employ two scouts to check out players beforehand. I find this far more realistic (if harder) because it takes several games before you begin to suss out the good from the bad. The team needs constant rearranging before the best line-up is reached.
Selective buying and selling on the transfer market is an important part of the game. Buying the odd player from Everton won't do you any harm! Intelligent use of your scouts will stop you offering too much for a player. Hazards along the way include crowd trouble (if you guess the gate wrong), and regular injuries (which always seem to affect your best players).
There are no 'skill levels' or computer trickery - everything depends on your skill as a manager, which is what football's all about, Brian.
The Double is a surprisingly good and easy game to play. If you want , all action (such as it is) can be handled by joystick. This takes an awful lot of hassle out of playing. There are no silly match graphics to clutter up the screen; everything is text-based in a pleasing redesigned character set. Maybe not as involved as Football Director. The Double seems a little on the simple side, but the speed of play and the snazzy design more than make up for it.
User-friendly footie management game. Hardly original, but probably the slickest on the market today.