Sport: Management
ZX Spectrum 48K

Tony Dillon
Chris Bourne

In its basic elements, Professional Soccer is the same as every other football managerial game on the market. Start in the bottom division with the aim to both get promoted and win the FA cup each season, buy and sell players to improve your team's statistics and basically enjoy getting beaten six nil by Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi finals.

The game employs a fairly original control system. The whole game is run via a small box in the bottom right hand corner which contains up to six small boxes, each one representing an available option. These range from the obvious such as load, save, buy/ sell, tables/scores to the not so obvious player info and the downright mysterious team centre.

Each of the players in the game, and there are quite a lot of them, has some kind of detailed record. This includes age, health and best position, as well as any outstanding points, such as good penalty taker. At the bottom is a set price which you pay to buy the player should he be up for grabs.

The team centre is where all the interesting things take place. Two options are available to you in the team centre. One is formations. This is where you get to choose which of the eight possible formations you'd like the team to play in, ranging from the regulars such as 3-4-4 and 4-3-4, to 5-2-4.

The other option, you remember I mentioned two, is the selection option. The screen display changes into three windows. The left hand window, which takes up half of the screen, shows your players and all their statistics. The top right hand window shows a graphical representation of the formation, showing all the empty slots. Use left and right to move the flashing cursor to an empty spot, press fire and a bar will appear highlighting one of your players. Move this up and down to select the player you want in that particular position, and press fire to put him there. It's that easy.

The players are quite well detailed, each having four important statistics. These are defensive, midfield and attacking scores out of 25 and a fitness rating as a percentage. The player's position is listed as well, as either G for goalie, W for winger, C for centre and M for midfielder. When selecting your team you have to try for the highest possible score for the position the man plays. A defender with a high attack score is a bonus, not a must.

So, you've done all your good deeds and you're up against the opposition in a blood-thirsty battle between 22 savages all fighting for glory, or as we know it soccer. For most of the match, the screen shows all the players on screen for each team along with the score and the time. Unlike previous games, the time runs in three minute steps, 30 in all. Just like Football Manager, the game shows highlights of the match as they happen. These are quite entertaining to see, though they can become boring. Thankfully, they can be turned off. Graphically, they ain't bad however. They're far more realistic than FM2, though still have a long way to go before they come close to. say, Matchday 2.

It's hard to get started, granted, but that's how it should be. Remember, you are a struggling fourth division team. The only way you can get better is by buying better players and to buy better players, you have to get money and the only way you can get any money is to sell poor players.

Visually, PS is pretty cool. Various sizes of lettering and good clean windows make it even more attractive than Tracksuit Manager's layout.

Label: CRL
Author: Kevin Brice, David Leitch
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

Simple but fun footy with some really nice graphics. CRL are finally back on the ball.