Leeds United Champions logo

CDS * £7.99

Right. Leeds are a dead good football team. No-one would argue with that (apart from folk who live in Liverpool). But does this mean that a) they should have a management sim written about them, and b) that it will be any good? Sadly, they shouldn't, and it isn't. The format is sad, pale and predictable, You control the team and yu must, by keeping them fit, training them hard and paying them fortunes, guide them to more and more football-related victories.

It's slow, annoying and doesn't do anything to redeem itself. The inclusion of a dragon-fighting contest at Elland Road might have spiced things up, or bear-baiting in a pit under the penalty pot. Anything, in fact, to make the game interesting. The graphics are rudimentary, the sound doesn't exist and the playability is as elusive as a contact lens dropped in a pizza. Fans of Leeds would do well to avoid this, lest they think the urine is being extracted.

Der Insel-Manager...

Leeds United Champions logo

Dank "Football Director" ist der Autor Tony Huggard kein Neuling im Gewerbe des Fußball-Managements, der Hersteller CDS kennen dagegen eher die Strip Poker-Fans. Wer hat sich hier durchgesetzt?

Gott sei's gedankt, der Tony war's. Bedauern könnten das die hiesigen Soccer-Strategen höchstens insofern, als das Spiel ganz in der englischen (Regel-) Tradition seiner inoffiziellen Vorgänger steht.

Das bedeutet beispielsweise, daß es vier Ligen, fünf internationale Wettbewerbe und drei Punkte für jedes gewonnene Match gibt. Und dazu mehr Tabellen und Statistik-Screens, als man in einem Großrechner vermuten würde!

Alleine 729 verschiedene Aufstellungsmöglichkeiten sind vorhanden, jeder Kicker verfügt über 15 unterschiedliche Werte, und vom Training über den Stadionausbau und die Festlegung der Eintrittspreise bis zum An- und Verkauf von Bolz-Personal sind überhaupt sämtliche Features enthalten, die man von einem Soccer-Manager üblicherweise erwartet.

Von der Sache her ginge das Game also durchaus in Ordnung, immer vorausgesetzt, man kann auf so unenglische Eigenheiten wie die Bundesliga verzichten. Wer auch bei einem Fußballmanager-Spiel wenigstens ein Minimum an gefälliger Präsentation erwartet, dürfte ebenfalls ziemlich enttäuscht sein, denn die Grafik besteht praktisch nur aus einer schlichten Tribünen-Ansicht und einer Handvoll Menüs - animiert ist absolut nichts davon.

Der Sound glänzt auch durch Abwesenheit, und steuern läßt sich das Ding eher schlecht als recht, und zwar ausschließlich per Tastatur.

Fazit: Zumindest hierzulande wird es dieses Programm kaum mit einem kapitalen Platzhirschen wie "Bundesliga Manager Professional" aufnehmen können. (mm)

Leeds United Champions logo

Team licences are all very well, but do they appeal to non-fans?

You have laughed at the performance against Glasgow Rangers, now buy the game. Which is a roundabout way of saying "what is the idea behind these football licences"? We have already had a host of Manchest United games (Manchester United & Manchester United Europe), a Liverpool game, an Arsenal game...

The fans of the club in question might go for it in a big way, but what about everybody else (and that is going to be at least 95% of the football following public)? How many Manchester United or Bradford fans can you see queueing up to buy a game covered in white roses? It is not as if the whole country is going to be behind the Peacocks in their brave challenge for the European Cup. Not now they are not in it anymore.

So, bearing in mind that large numbers of people in the West Yorkshire area will be buying this game whatever it is like, and even larger numbers of people would not go near it if Winona Ryder was using the box as a changing room, how does it shape up?

For a start, there is no arcade action at all. The Liverpool game was an arcadey, the Manchester United games were a mixture of arcade and strategy, but Leeds United is entirely a management game. You won't even spot any sprites of footballers during the match sequences, just a clock, details of scorers, and a black bar with the words 'attack, 'midfield' and 'defence' zipping across it.

Sounds off-putting? (A decent match sequence is a vital part of a management sim, after all). Don't worry. The simply, speedy way the black bar illustrates the flow of play, combined with a steady stream of information (goals and bookings), is a lot more nerve-wracking and exciting than your average sluggish, predictable when-will-it-end animated match sequence. Oh, and you can interrupt at any time to make substitutions.

It is very playable, you will soon be hooked

Here comes the section of the review where we list the niggling flaws:

Flaw one: The 'training' element of the game is best ignored. While it is much easier to operate than most management sim training bits, your players are more likely to get worse if you train them (as the training reports confirm). Do CDS know something about Leeds that we don't?

Flaw two: It is too easy to begin with. In order to generate climbing-up-the-league challenge that management sims like, Leeds United (the only team you can be, natch) start off life in the Fourth Division. If this might upset some of the Leeds die-hards, they'd be even more upset if their team made a habit of losing to teams like Doncaster and Wrexham. Consequently, they don't.

You'd have to do something really stupid (only fielding six players, for example) to lose a game in Division Four. Things get harder as you progress up the league of course, but a bit more challenge from the kick off would have been nice.

Apart from that, it is all pretty decent. It is user-friendly, you are not swamped with information you do not want, and there is plenty of scope for getting tactical. Which is exactly what you want in a game style based on getting tactical. In short, it contains a lot of things that are good, and a handful things that are dodgy.