Title Player Manager Game Type Sport Publisher Anco, 1990 Players 1 Compatibility Only tried it on A500 HD Installable No Submission firstname.lastname@example.org Review Player Manager is the first game that combined the two major roles of soccer in one game; being a player and being a manager. It was written and developed by Dino Dini and Steve Screech, known for soccer games like Kick Off and Kick Off 2 (both reviewed on the AGDB). The soccer match engine in Player Manager is actually a slightly modified Kick Off. Player Manager gives you a team based in the 3rd division, and obviously the goal is to win the 1st division (no Premier League in 1989 when this game was released) and also to win the yearly cup. You are a player at the height of his career, usually in his late twenties, and get to take charge both as player and as manager (you can choose to play exclusively as manager, though, but this seems pointless). This means that you will, unlike other management games, actually play the matches yourself. In addition to that you will devise tactics, buy and sell players, and renew contracts, train players, oversee the club's finances and set up your team. The reason its pointless only playing as a manager is that the management part is pretty basic. You can buy some players and play with the tactics but not much more. It might be rewarding seeing how your team adapts to different tactics for a short time, but then it gets boring. You need to be the player as well, and thanks to the Kick Off soccer engine this is where the game really shines. You can choose to play the whole team (always control the player with the ball) or play in position. Playing in position is just meaningless as you have no control of anything. Playing as a team is great. I will not go into great detail as the game resembles Kick Off in these respects, but suffice to say that the game is viewed from above, its very fast, the ball is NOT glued to your feet, and its possible to perform some incredible play. The game really favours fast players over anything else, so make sure you get some speed demons in your team. Although playing the game is difficult at first, you soon pick it up and after a lot of practice you do things like lobbing over the keeper, incredible passing sequences and highly technical attacking plays. The great thing about the Kick Off/Player Manager soccer game is that you do everything yourself if you want to perform some brilliant dribbling you actually do it with the joystick you dont just press a button. After the game the league results are updated and you are presented with the news, usually crowd troubles at some poor club's stadium, sponsorship deals or a transfer request or bid. Then you play more league and cup matches until the season finishes. The reasons for this game's greatness are hard to describe. It just plays wonderfully, and always makes you come back for more. Speaking for myself, I have played the game for many hundreds of hours and I'm a true expert at it, often scoring 10-12 goals per game. Even so, sometimes I get in trouble and have problems winning a game, because in this game your joystick agility and psyche is so challenged you actually experience changes in your own form, not just the computer players you are controlling. As for criticism, the major downside to the game is that you HAVE to have your player-manager in the team to be able to play. As he is usually 27-28 when starting the game, this soon becomes a huge disadvantage as he's nearing 40 and starts getting slower and slower. A slight workaround for this is to make a tactic where he's placed somewhere he can't do any harm. In my current game the guy is actually is 72 and spends his matches doing nothing, covering about 1x1 meter of grass on the pitch. Also if the player-manager is injured or sent off, you can't play yourself until he's back. The game will simulate the matches, which it seems to do with a high degree of randomness. The visual presentation is pretty standard. The menu system works well when working as a manager, but expect no graphical thrills. As for the soccer part, its visually very clean, basically just a green pitch with red and blue players. Simple, but the most effective to suit the kind of frantic and fun gameplay we're looking for. The sound side is also dull, with just basic crowd cheering when scoring and a small tap when hitting the ball (which actually is very important when playing because it makes it easier to control the ball). Although there are few management options, and despite the player-manager aging and all, I have never played a game as much as this, and its a classic. My friend and I, both in our late twenties, play the game as often as possible, trying to break our goalscoring records and scoring unusual goals. For me, this game is pure happiness. You have to try it.