Player Manager 2000
|a game by||Anco Software Ltd|
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The football management genre is littered with the corpses of pretenders to the crown, and last year's Player Manager Season 98-99was one of the more fetid. So badly bugged as to be unplayable, it's a disgrace the game was ever released in the state it was - regularly crashing when in Live Action mode.
When this was pointed out, a spokesperson for the developer Anco said they didn't think anyone would use it, a frankly staggering lapse of logic. It's the equivalent of having live football on the television and expecting people to watch it on Ceefax with the sound turned off. The match action mode is again available in Player Manager 2000, and we are pleased to report we experienced no problems with it. For those who prefer things a little more lo-fi, there is a text commentary option, as well as a bewildering scanner mode.
But if you're going to include a live action mode, you have to expect people to use it. And while it's not exactly FIFA 2000, the Lowry-esque graphics are reasonably watchable, with the bonus of being able to speed up the dull parts with the press of a key.
As any right-thinking football fan will confirm, the major value of this type of game is taking the helm of the team you support and attempting to replicate or better their success.
In this reviewer's case, saddled with the sometimes unbearable weight of supporting the mighty Chester, it's not hard. That said, the Chester City of Player Manager2000is a very different team from the one that turns out at Fortress Deva of a Saturday afternoon, and is not so much riddled with inaccuracies, as blessed with the occasional accuracy. The odd ratings quibble can be forgiven, but this is a farce. Examples? In real life, Luke Beckett is one of the third division's top scorers. In PM 2000,
I Beckett is a versatile defender. Likewise, the mercurial Manuel 'Wake Me Up Before You' Agogo, in real life a free-scoring, long-departed loan signing. In PM2000 he's a cut price defender. And there's more... Michael Blackwood was a moderately talented midfielder we had on loan earlier in the season. In the confused world of PM 2000, A Blackwood is first choice goalkeeper. There is actually an option in the game to retrain players for different positions, and Anco seems to have prematurely taken advantage of it.
These inaccuracies are not just confined to Chester. Our resident Brighton & Hove Albion expert was brought in for consultation, and rapidly dismissed the squad as grossly inaccurate. Further up the league, things do improve, although having said that, a brief perusal of the Liverpool squad reveals the erratic Vladimir Smicer bizarrely valued higher than Michael Owen.
Nit-picking? Not really, as this is the very basis of the genre. It frankly beggars belief that a game can be so bizarrely inaccurate and show such a lack of respect and ambition. For Christ's sake, they could have simply got an office junior to copy the data from a vastly superior game. And we were trying not to mention Championship Manager...