"Ere we go, ere we go, ere we go... "And here, indeed, do we go with errrr, yes there's some news just coming in... Yes Cult have released a budget game that's really not bad and should be able to compete with several of the football manager simulations on the market. Well, that's quite remarkable.' Thank you Mr Coleman, and it's over to you Greavesy. "Yes, Saint well it's not sa baad. I fink it should give a cupla games somfink ta worry abaart. Cult've been getting a bit of a reputation fer not giving 100% so it's great ta see vat they've got a star player and lets ope this will see 'em turn around and start building a stronger side fer the new season."
Soccer 7 is a seven-a-side manager simulation, that takes you through the trials and tribulations of managing a squad of 10 players. You begin by choosing a team from eight and play is set up between two groups of four teams. You must manage your side and keep abreast (fnarr) of how the opposition fare.
To start, the computer sorts the fixtures for the first season and shows a list of the order of matches both home and away indicating which teams are playing who. At the beginning, all the players in the squad are shown along with their energy level which begins at a sprightly 100 and their average performance which begins at zero.
Players are broken down into four key groups: Goalkeeper, Defense, Midfielders and Attack. There are nine in each team which includes two reserves with the tenth player in each squad joining in by watching from the sidelines and shouting "You're gonna get your bloomin' head kicked in!"
To begin the season you can load in a saved game or start from scratch and from one to eight teams can be controlled by the players. You are asked which of the teams you would like to manage, and once chosen, you can change the name of the manager and the players to whatever you like.
Real control of the team only begins once you are due to play a match. At this point all the nerve and verve of a football boss comes into play. Changing the team around, allocating part of the 40 hours towards either fitness or skill training, trading players, checking the leagues and even having a sneaky look at the manager's ratings, all are done via the pre-match menu. The team morale is also shown here, a low morale can lead to a team's low performance so winning matches is sooo important.
And so the whistle blows and the match begins. This is a text only affair with each team's strip (Oo-er), shown at the top of the screen. You decide on the playing formation, the level of aggressiveness that the team play at as a value between 1 and 9 and what type of game you play. For example, if you are playing an attacking game you can play it using either; Wingers. Long Balls (fnarr) or a slowly, slowly approach.
As the minutes slowly tick away, you are updated each time someone puts a ball in the back of the net. This tells you who scored and how they did it and at all times you have the option of sending on a substitute. Stabbing enter repeatedly will speed up the game between goal reports. On the final whistle the team performance is rated and any injuries or bookings are shown. At this point you can assess the individual players and if someone is looking like they have two left feet, you should think about passing him on to someone else the next time you have a chance to trade players.
The game continues until you get to the end of the season where the two top clubs from each of the two groups go into a semi final - get past that and there's just the final between you and complete stardom as manager of the season.
I have to admit to be a big fan of football sims and this game certainly rates better than some I've seen and Soccer 7 really puts the boot in for games like World Cup Carnival and Handball Maradonna. At £2 99. with the option of eight managers playing together, I think it offers good value and if you've got seven mates around the house then what else could you do on a dull wet Saturday when your own team is playing away?
Play it with your mates and you'll have a ball.
Man United play a blinder under the questionable leadership of soccer supremo Garth 'If in doubt, kick it out' Sumpter.
The manager's options menu. Morale isn't too great - is it some changing room argument between Garth and Gazza?