NOW OUR CHUMS AT CODIES ARE HAVING A CRACK AT THIS FOOTBALL MANAGEMENT LARK AND - YE GODS! - IT WOULD APPEAR THEY'VE HAD A TASTE OF BEGINNERS' LUCK! WILL EVANS SITS BEHIND THE MANAGER'S DESK AND CHECKS OUT THE FIELD OF PLAY.
It's good to see that everyone's comments on footy management games have sunk into at least one company. Y'know, things like good presentation, graphics, ease-of-use and an interesting match.
Code Master's First Division Manager's many features are accessed from a main, graphically attractive screen. The scene is your office and to access a section of the game you click the pointer on the appropriate piece of office equipment telephone for phone calls, filing cabinet for records and secretary to go to match (a bit odd that one, never mind).
Yes, you're the manager of a first division soccer side, with the option of a superleague. You have to take your team to the top of the league, with the possibility of a cup win or two along the way. There are loads of features: buying transfers, team formations, real players, choice of club name, coaching advice, physic and phone calls to your bank manager and, of course, the match.
'First Division Manager is a very good footy game (and unusually there isn't 'Simulator' at the end of the title). All the functions are easily accessed from the manager's desk - there's even a radio on top of the cabinet to switch on a jolly little tune! Even though the match is little more than a running commentary along the lines of 'so-and-so passes the ball to someone else', I found the game very absorbing. First Division Manager gets a big thumbs up from me: I'm over the moon, Brian'
MARK ... 86%
Ah, the match. That's always a proving point in management games. What format does it take here? Weeeell, It's a small picture of the players (bird's eye view) at the top of the screen to show you where the ball is and a running commentary at the bottom. Doesn't sound too good but it works surprisingly well and creates a great atmosphere.
Your team's performance can be improved by following the training tips your coach provides - just pick up the phone and give him a call. There's also a neat feature whereby you can call up the bank manager (he's ever so friendly) and ask for a loan of E25,000 at a very reasonable interest rate.
MAKING IT FUNMany hours can be spent buying cruddy players and training them, or, if you like, you can buy world class players straight off. Much hilarity ensued when we put names of the CRASH team in the team
: Nicko was the prime candidate for goalie because he'd fill the net and any player called Lloyd Mangram seems to do uncannily well.
Make no mistake, for all its gloss and features First Division Manager is still a strategy-oriented game at heart. But Its very, very good and even if you haven't fancied one before this could be the one to get you playing football manager games.
WILL ... 85%
Graphics, sound and great presentation, everything that a management game should be!
The all (self-)important manager's desk with useful items. Make sure you keep your feet of the table!
The man at the listening bank tells you where to go.
The team to win the league? None of us are very well trained.
Here we are playing the game, tackling and dribblin, (from our comfy chairs, of course).