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Goliath Games
Doug Matthews
1988
Sport: Management
£9.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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34
Phil South
Chris Bourne

I'm not much of a one for these footy management games, y'know, but I'm amazed at this one. In most cases strategic football games are text heavy, with lots of accounts and admin stuff to worry about. Tracksuit Manager is surprisingly different though, as here the emphasis is firmly on the football matches you play, along with rating for players and teams.

Apparently the writer of the game went to FIFA and got the names and ratings of every player in every World Cup team on the earth, and they're all here IN THIS GAME. Every single football player in the world, with data on his style of play, weaknesses, strengths, and so on. The strategic elements are very complex, but it's up to you how deeply into the game you go. That's the real beauty of it. Like all the best games the idea is very simple, but so effectively executed that it's addictive, exciting to play and satisfying to finish.

When you watch a game, you read a blow-by-blow account (see the screenshot) as if on the jolly old World Of Sport teleprinter. The passes, the shots, the near misses, all the thrills and spills ... what? You don't think watching a football match in text only is going to be much fun? Well okay, neither did I, but for some reason I can't put my finger on, this is one of the most addictive parts of the whole shooting match. Watching the game unfold in front of you like a text adventure. It's a weird way to enjoy yourself, but I love it.

The other thing which is nice is the depth of the detail in the game. Each players' details are there, and you can look up each player in your own and those of opposing teams and carefully match their abilities. You can really manage the team, pitting your finest selection against the odds in the international arena. Just call me Robbo.

So, although its got not very much in the way of graphics (there are some nice frames for the text, but that's about it) Tracksuit Manager does have a lot to recommend itself as a worthwhile game, especially for those players who enjoy flexing the muscle between their ears. Okay, so TM would have been totally brilliant, except for the fact that it's just a football management game. Admittedly it's a good one, but it's still an unoriginal concept. The execution, however, is excellent. Some day, all footy games will be made this way. If you haven't got any football strategy games, then buy this one. If you have got some, then you might still enjoy this one as a slightly different approach. Basically what I'm telling you is if you don't like Tracksuit Manager, you're dead from the neck up.

One of the best football strategy games yet. Fast action, tough decisions and huge databases of info on the world's footballers. Firmly in the first division!

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