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Virgin Games Ltd
Sport: Management
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne
Chris Bourne

ONLY THE most bone-headed of Arsenal supporters could conceivably enjoy playing this much-hyped Virgin production. Play, did I say? Crush my cartilage for a liar, but there's sweet FA to play in this game, if you'll forgive the pun.

There's lots and lots of teams, and you pick eight. If you have eight players each picks one, if you have four each gets two and so on. Wonderful stuff, and I'd tell you exactly how many teams there are if I had the energy to load the game up again and check. It's over 100 anyway.

To give the game its due, it does claim to be an accurate representation of the FA Cup, has FA Cup official approval, and the top teams tend to make it to the later stages. Unfortunately, you get to do very little. Unlike the marvellous Football Manager, this sorry little apology for a strategy game merely requires you to decide your general tactics - defensive, balanced or attacking - and in later stages offers you the chance to make a substitution or answer questions about decisions. Those are of the form, "What sort of boots would you wear for wet weather?" I didn't spot wellies as an option, but by this stage I was groaning at the sheer tedium of it all anyway.

You think I'm exaggerating? That is, literally, it. You watch as the draw for each round takes place, you then decide the tactics for your teams, you then watch the seconds tick away and occasional goals flick up on the scoreboards. No graphics chum, nothing like that. Eventually you go to sleep.

Liverpool managed to make it to the final, playing Everton. The robotic rendition of Abide With Me - nothing is spared in this game, not even your ears - jolted me out of slumber for long enough to record a note about the sinister hissing that passes for the roar of the crowd afterwards. Perhaps they were having a go at Grobelaar again.

I can think of absolutely no good reason to buy this game. It's got to be one of the worst things Virgin has ever done, and that includes some all time turkeys. It's even worse than Sheepwalk. Ignore it.

Chris Bourne

Publisher: Virgin
Programmer: Kerian UK
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K