Football World Manager 2000
Soccer management sim reviewed
It's Saturday morning, and it's a typically grim English day. The ground stands as it has done for years, overshadowing the houses along its perimeter. Empty coke cans rattle through the terraces, and litter skips merrily across the muddy pitch.
The rusty team emblem swings in the wind, creaking like something out of a Western movie. Inside a little white make-shift office is a sad looking man. He sits at a desk, head rested on his arms, empty whisky bottle to one side.
He looks up. "So you're my replacement then? You won't do any better you know. There's no money you see. I've been in this job for six years I'll have you know." With a tear in his eye, he grabs his belongings and pushes past you.
Congratulations you're the new manager. You're the one that has to take this team by the scruff of the neck and point it in the right direction. And you can do all this in Football World Manager 2000 from UbiSoft.
Crunch That Data!
Football management games are two a penny these days it has to be said, and any game in this genre is going to have to be something special to succeed.
FWM has all the usual features you would associate with this genre, boasting over 29,000 players, 95 divisions, 1400 clubs and 71 countries. This is an incredible volume of data to handle. If the game is to get past first base with me the data crunching has to be kept to a minimum, and the game must not take too long doing it!
FWM is excellent in this respect, providing one of the fastest processing engines yet seen in a comprehensive footie management sim. The speed at which the data is processed is both a blessing and a curse though.
On the one hand, yes it's great that you are not dawdling around waiting for the next game. However, there's something rather pertinent about the gaps between play. This is a football simulation, where you have to take great care in selecting the right players for the upcoming game. The longer the game takes to process the more nail biting it can be.
With FWM you only have two options - either you can watch the game played through naturally, taking about a minute per game, or click a button to finish it instantly. Personally I prefer the options Championship Manager 99/00 gives you, where you have different speeds at which matches can be played out.
The game itself is icon driven and, as the manual states, nothing is more than two clicks away. Team lists appear in Explorer type formation, making it easy to find your way around, and the interface as a whole is top notch and easy to use. A lot of intelligent design has gone into it.
Strangely though the whole game only operates in one static window. There's no window re-size option and, much to my annoyance, no full-screen option. I like my games to fill the screen, not float Minesweeper style on my desktop!
FWM's interface makes team selection, finances, transfers and all the usual options a breeze. You have various people on your staff roster who you need to keep in touch with, and who will sometimes give you juicy bits of info which could help you in your next match and beyond.
Your Head Coach and Assistant Manager are of particular use, reporting to you on the progress or failures of your players, and providing suggestions for improvement. You can rely on your own judgements if you wish, but your staff will make life easier for you. Don't ignore them!
Graphics and Audio
You can actually watch highlights of the games in FWM, which is a refreshing change, though the quality of the graphics used is poor to say the least. Still, I suppose it gives you something to watch, rather than getting the results instantly.
Menu icons, and general screen layout is very nice. There's nothing that can't be found easily, and you get to learn the different icon meanings quickly. I didn't like the still graphics on the title screens though, I would have preferred proper player mug-shots and piccies of real-life action.
Each menu has its own background sound, ranging from the telephone rings of the Manager menu, through to footballs being kicked in the Player screens. The crowd noise during the match display is disappointing, and along with the poor graphics makes it all look like an after thought.
A nice touch though is the newspaper report screen, which is the first thing you see after every update. This tells you graphically the latest goings on in all the leagues. Yes, there is a paper covering every single country!
Way over the top, but smart nonetheless.
This game will be great for those people new to football simulations as a starter. For the more seasoned veterans amongst you though you may find the whole thing a tad on the basic side.
The fact that you are stuck in a non-sizeable window infuriates me, and goes a long way towards spoiling the game for me. Putting this aside though, the game is extremely well presented and you are never found searching high and low for one particular option.
There are a couple of minor bugs which I've not mentioned until now, merely because they're not that serious. One worth mentioning, more for humour's sake, is that currently the news system is telling me that I've won the Auto-Glass trophy and English Cup! The thing is .. I got knocked out in the first round, and the paper is still saying congratulations a season and a half on! Whoops.
Football World Manager is a competent enough simulation, but one which I won't be coming back to. It's a good introduction to the Football Management Sim world for sure, but with the superior Championship Manager 99/00 now available for £19.99 from most outlets, I have trouble recommending this game.
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