Friday, 31 December 1999

Premier Manager '98 (Sony Playstation) - Game Review

Over the years, I've had a dream. A dream to manage a great football team. It used to be playing for a great football team, but injuries and lack of skill has stopped my progress on this front. So, over the years, I've lived out my second dream, whether it be through Football Manager on the old Spectrum, Premier Manager on the Mega-Drive, or Championship Manager on a friend's PC.

Then I stumbled onto Premier Manager '98, boasting to be the most realistic football management sim on the Playstation.

And I have to say, it's pretty damn good!

My previous experience on this sort of game on the Playstation consisted of Onside Soccer and Player Manager, but they are nothing compared to PM98. They are not even worthy of licking the boots of this great game.

The game is quite simple to start. I was so anxious, I didn't even bother to look at the instruction book. I started out as the manager of a certain Canary-like team, and went into the transfer market like a bull in a china shop. I soon found out that the likes of Michael Laudrup and George Hagi didn't fancy a term in the yellow and green. So a quick jaunt to the Mersey, and the old red machine, and I was up and running. Soon, the giants of the game were flocking to me - George Hagi, Michael Laudrup, Robert Fleck (!), Andy Townsend. They all wanted to make Liverpool great again.

And that's where I made my first mistake. There's one thing that doesn't work in this game, and that's if you replace the likes of Robbie Fowler with the likes of Robert Fleck. To be the best in this game, you have to buy the best.

After realising my mistake, I was soon kicking butt. I watched as Barry Davies gave me details of how well my team was playing. The game engine of Actua Soccer 2 showed my Michael Owen setting up Paul Ince and Patrik Berger for great goals. My scout got busy as he told me that Patrick Kluivert wanted to go to West Ham instead of joining my red brigade.

But I'm rambling here. I tend to do that when I like something alot, and believe me, I like this game. I've seen them all since 1984, and this compares to the great Championship Manager on the PC.

However, if I do have one major criticism about this game, it's that it lacks a loan system. During an injury crisis, I needed a right winger, and the only one I could get was a jobber from the Third Division. So, a plea to the programming team here, as no doubt you're already working on PM99; please give us a loan market! Then the game will be so true to life, all we'll need is a canny Scotsman saying to you "you'll win nothing with kids!"

On the other hand, forget the Scotsman, and any aged cocknies. Just keep Barry Davies.