You may remember Match of the Day, reviewed last ish - the official BBC footy sim. This was released by Impulze, Zeppelin's full-price label, and it took the SU Crew by storm (ie. it was rather good, missus). A big change from all the budget priced, budget gameplay management sims available. So can Graeme Souness Soccer Manager, yet another humble budget sim, create the same impression? Let's see...
Graeme Souness. the top-dude manager of Liverpool FC, has not been a very healthy chappie recently. He's a lot better now though and it's just as well 'cos Zeppelin's latest management sim would tax anyone's ticker - yep, it's a good'un.
Unlike Paul Anglin (sad man), I try to steer away from management sims. I find them too slow, boring and repetitive. Yet I actually quite enjoyed GSSM. You've got all your usual options and menus for choosing players, viewing the league tables and fixtures, dealing with club finances, buying and selling players and the like, all driven by very well defined and colourful icons.
You can choose to manage any team in the four divisions, though when you see the player lists you'll notice that the players on each team have all got exactly the same names! You have your own scout too, although he doesn't play as big a part as the scout in Match Of The Day. This time he only tells you what he thinks about the strengths of the opposition defense, mid-field and attack.
During matches, you watch the minute counter ticking on until something 'exciting' happens. Then the scene changes to a 3D view of the goal area as someone shoots. This bit teeters precariously on the edge of naffness. The player sprites are pretty poor to say the least, and they run around the area like lost sheep.
From what I could tell, the computer randomly picks one of four different goal shooting animations - two score; two miss. These are quite nice little routines but we could do with a few more - I soon got bored with the same old ones.
However, this is still a very gripping part of the game. Helplessly sitting there watching the scores increase, hoping your team will be the next to put the ball in the back of the net is nailbiting stuff! Fortunately, if you don't like watching the highlights, there is an option to turn them off.
All-in-all, this is another pretty dam spanky footy management sim from the Zepps, which even people who hate the genre will get some enjoyment out of. It lacks a few features that MOTD had, like training options for your players, but for a budget title it ranks as one of the best of its kind.
Label: Zeppelin Memory: 48K/128K Price: £3.99 Tape Reviewer: Steve Keen
Zeppelin are releasing some pretty excellent games at the moment, and this new soccer management sim puts a lot of other budget ones to shame. If you can't afford Match of the Day but want a footy man sim that's reasonably playable and addictive, Graeme Souness is the man (sorry, game) for you.