It’s not often you’ll find a live action football game that lasts longer than a couple of seasons: with this game, however, you’ve got one that will last a lifetime. Granted, the players are all from the 96/97 season, but if like me you can remember that far back, it is a godsend. Remember when Newcastle United was actually a consistently good team? Get Shearer, all £15M of him, to strap his boots back on!
Play-wise, you can go through any pre-defined competition as a one off, play a friendly, or just generate your own tournament with what is still the most flexible (in terms of organization) tournament generator I have seen.
The only problem is you can’t choose which team goes into which group, or who plays whom. But then again, if that’s really vital just play a number of “mini-leagues”.
The reason players keep coming back to the game time after time, however, is the career mode. Play from any team (just about) in the world. Go through twenty seasons of management, spanning domestic, European, and international competition. The only gripe with this is -why limit us to twenty seasons? Some managers have been going well past their sell by date.
In between, play the transfer market, handle a chairman unhappy with the level of debt, join teams who promise millions in terms of transfer funds, and gnash your teeth as their operating costs erode
all that money in a few short weeks.
Pick tactics that improve not just a player’s contribution, but the way the whole team works together. See your players’ values rocket with careful management, or see them collapse with disappointing frequency. Choose players who may not be as valuable, but whose skills can aid your team. Do you really need a striker who can tackle?
The live action game itself is a masterpiece, with the controls being incredibly simple: directional buttons and a “kick” button. How long the button is held down determines the strength of the kick, and manipulation of the directional arrows after the ball has left allow you to add curl, lift or topspin to bemuse the opposition keeper.
Game is becoming without challenge? Switch to a worse team. Take them up from nowhere. Still too easy? Bring on some of your youth players, get them a value, and then sell them on to continue using the dross.
Simply put, this is the greatest football game of all time. Actually, I would place it second because the Amiga 96/97 version is technically superior. But it still rates 10 out of 10!