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Zeppelin Premier
Sport: Management
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Jon Pillar
Chris Bourne

Hello readers. After last month's debacle with the Fumous Five completely taking over my review of Sleepwalke,. I've decided to make sure I appear in the review of Match Of The Day. To this end, I've asked Stuart to take Jimmy Hill off for a spot of lunch, and now, provided I can get this false chin into place (grunt) I'll be joining Des Lynam in the reviewing corner. There. Now don't give me away, will you, Spec-chums?

(As seen on TV: Des Lynam's cheekily grinning face and the amazing chin of (ahem) Jimmy Hill. The theme music fades out.)

Hello there viewers. Hello Jimmy.

(Tee hee!) Hello Des. Nice jumper.

Thanks Jimmy. So - Match Of The Day, the computer game. What's it all about?

Well Des, I'd have to say it's pretty much a management sim really. You put on the knobbly cashmere coat of the manager of a fourth division team, and over the season have to hoist them up the ladder of success while avoiding the slippery snakes of failure.

Nicely put, Jimmy, if a little obscure and not entirely football-related. So we're
talking lots of lists of numbers, then?

We-ell, yes and no Des. Y'see, this management sim is actually rather well presented. The entire affair is icon-driven and daringly devoid of BASIC. There's the bare minimum of hanging around for 'Please Wait' messages. And the lists, as you put it, of numbers are rather nicely disguised with little graphics and pointers and things.

And this Is the game here, is It?

No Des, that's another jumper. Good try though. In fact, this is the game - it's entirely devoid of jumpery substances, such as wool, or 80% polyester. It does, however, have lots and lots of icons. It's rather a clever system, you see - you sort of drag the option you want from the icon bank on the right cite screen over to a free slot in your diary on the left.

And are there any icons for jumpers?

Shut up Des. If you look at the annotated screenshot over there, you can see exactly what each icon does. But back to the game. Basically, it's very much like any other management sim - you try to put together the best side you can, arranging training sessions and buying and selling players, all the while juggling the club's books. What makes it stand out from the rest of the (incredibly large) pack is the slick presentation. Never has a management game looked so good. Except for the match highlights, which look like a badly-coloured game of pinball. And the pictures of, erm, us, which are a bit duff. I (ahem) look rather angry, and you look bald and mad. But at least you can turn the graphics off and play in the traditional manner,

I have to say, Jimmy, that I disagree with you over the presentation being the only thing that makes the game stand out. The gameplay has lots of subtle touches. For example, your players are apt to get a bit shirty if you don't recognise their footy talents and insist on playing them in entirely the wrong positions, and their performance suffers as a result. For another, there are loads of scouts, physios and trainers, and the cheaper but less reputable chaps are apt to make a mess of things. Sort of gets you deeply involved with the team and adds a lot to the game.

Hang on, what's going on? That's not Des Lynam-speak.

Well I have to admit, Jimbo. that I'm not Des Lynam at all. I am in fact, Rory Bremner, humorous impressionist, Speccy enthusiast and all-round family entertainer.

Erm, I've got a confession as well. I'm actually Jon from Your Sinclair. What a turn-up, eh? Tsk. And we need a big ending for the review. Tradition demands a sort of big payoff line to the whole thing. Oh, hello Stuart.

I couldn't stand it any more, I just had to hit Jimmy Hill several times with a very big stick.

You scamp.

That'll do nicely.

Uppers: It's extremely well presented and very easy to get into. The gameplay delivers the requisite tonnes of options, and (gasp) it's a lot of fun. Downers: The highlights really are appalling. Despite the glossy front-end, novices may find the game a bit of a hard slog. It's a management sim for the masses. And it's rather fine!


Screenshot Text

Those amazing match highlights in full. Ugh. What do you think of them, Des? 'Well, they don't feature many jumpers, that's for sure.' Thank you, Des. (Clot.)

1. Select your team players.

2. Visit the resident physio.

3. Strike a cunning deal.

4. Bring in the trainer! (Basically.)

5. Do a little scouting (ie, spying).

6. League matches this week.

7. Those nasty old finances.

8. The dread league table. (Eek!)

9. The upcoming fixtures.

10. Save/load your position.

11. Match highlights on/off.

12. Lots of credits for the game.