Striker Manager logo

D & H Games £25.99

There are already a host of soccer management games on the market, with Anco's Player Manager, without a shadow of a doubt, at the top of the heap. So can D&H hope to knock this classic from its position? The answer is actually no.

Striker Manager has some nice menu graphics and option screens, but that's about it really. Instead of trying to create a frantic and realistic soccer atmosphere it bombards you with lists of attributes and options that only go to confuse the player. Although it seems quite a deep game, the lack of explanations soon become frustrating. Another point is that the 'arcade highlights' (the game's attempt at atmosphere) are tragically hilarious!

Striker Manager logo

D & H Games * £9.99

Yet another footy game, but a management game like Player Manager rather than an arcadey action type one. The game is protected with a dongle (which doesn't fit on to a 2000) plugged into a joystick port, which is always annoying.

You start off by choosing which league you want to play in. There are 16 European leagues, from France to Spain, and after choosing one you are presented with the main menu where you can buy and sell players, look at fixtures, and do other typical managerial-type things.

After having built up your super squad, it is time to play that game, and see if your little people can make you happy. This part of the game can be quite amusing because you get to see all the scoring chances.

It's quite fun to play, at least initially, but it's not the type of game you feel compelled to load up again and continue your career in. There are now better and more detailed management games. At least the price has been dropped, from £24.99 to £9.99.

Striker Manager logo

Football management games were born to be bad. Even the most respected seem to be either woefully inadequate (Football Manager) or unbelievably tough (Player Manager). And the less said about the less known varieties, the better.

The only really exception seems to be Football Director II from D&H Games, so I warmly greeted the opportunity to test my minor league skills on the same publisher's new Striker Manager. Unfortunately, this game reeks of all that is wrong with sports management affairs, so brace yourself for a pretty furious rant.

No matter how much you try it seems impossible to take any authority over Striker Manager. In the management sequences opportunities to actually make decisions are extremely rare, and anyway, whatever you do seems to be totally ignored. The short action sequences lack any direction or, for want of a better word, goal. The animation is too crap to be laughable, it's just plain sad.

Playing games seems to be little more than watching text on the screen switch from 'Defence' to 'Midfield' to 'Attack' and back around again. The boredom is peppered with tiny goal-mouth shots, wherein players seem to shoot the ball in just about any direction.

At the end of each match we are treatd to a resuls service covering the first and second division results from almost every European country. This reveals the game's aspirations as a pan-European management extravaganza. John Atkinson, the game's author, might claim tha this is a 'comprehensive' service. In fact it's almost totally irrelevant to the game, and worse, impossible to switch off - it goes on forever.

We look forward greatly to a revamped version of the two-year old Football Director (due within a matter of weeks). It'll take quite some game to stop football management going the way it's been threatening to for years - into oblivion.

Striker Manager logo

As the new football season looms, there are vital questions to be answered. Will Gazza's tongue depart these shores in search of loadsailira? Will Arsenal once again be knocked out of the FA Cup by the mighty Spurs? And, finally, will Striker Manager score with the public?
The answers to these burning questions are, I predict, yes, yes and pass.

Football games broadly fall into two categories - the fast and furious goal-mouth action in the style of Anco's Kick Off and the more thoughtful strategy games, which manfully follow in the footsteps of the legendary Football Manager.
D and H Games have bravely decided to go for the Kevin Toms' classic. And a creditable job they have made of it.

First off, Striker Manager is simplicity to play. Everything is icon-controlled from one screen. This allows you to access all manner of squad details, transfers, financial details, league tables and results etc.

Interspersed with the brain work are arcade highlights of the matches. Or, in my case, low-lights of several strategic disasters. But these spots are not really what the game is about.
Bravely, I accepted the hot spot at the helm of Sheffield Wednesday in Division Two. But Lady Luck deserted me and the lads and I faced an interesting relegation battle.

Still, it's early days and I'm sure the calls for my resignation are premature. But I will have to get to work with the team and player editor and make a few changes.
If, like me, you fail miserably there's the chance to skip the country and take part in any one of 16 European leagues, with a total choice of 280 teams, plus European Cup, UEFA and National Cup matches.

Unfortunately, Striker Manager may disappear without many people noticing. It is not sufficiently different to stand out. That and the fact that it's not branded with a big name from the world of football management.