Now don't get me wrong, because I'm as happy as the next guy to play a footy management game, but I feel I must object in no uncertain terms to the relentless barrage of the things that are being thrown in our direction. Surely there can't be any more variations left on this theme.
The recently released Ultimate Soccer Manager leaves the rest behind, with Premier Manager and Championship Manager coming extremely close, so where exactly does that leave Tactical Manager 2? Well, frankly, it's been arrested and thrown out of the ground before kick off.
In truth, it's got some aspects I quite like, but there are also a fair few I don't. It has all the elements of the other management games; buying/selling players, changing playing formation and the like, but if your favourites ply their trade outside the Premier League or Division 1, you can forget your dreams of taking them to the pinnacle of the English game - lower division teams only make brief cameo appearances as the whipping boys in cup competitions.
On the plus side, if you're a potential Statto, Tactical Manager 2 should keep you enthralled for hours as you can read through reams of statistics which give details of everything from top scorers to the most consistent players. If on the other hand you'd rather organise a quick, playable game of footy, check the results after each match, look at your league status and get on with the next game, then you will need to look elsewhere. Admittedly you don't have to take much notice of the stats, but unfortunately there are plenty of other things which will hamper your progress. A good example is the pointless way in which you are forced to view all the other results in the leagues - complete with stats of course.
To play this game successfully you will need to spend a fair amount of time sussing out exactly what every menu item does. Fair enough, but the main option screen is one of the most confusing I've ever seen, and apart from the icon which brings up the league table, the menu graphics are a little cryptic to say the least.
One thing lacking is a training option, but the players do improve gradually throughout the season so it's not that important an omission. I was suitably impressed with the actual game highlights and the running text commentary throughout each match, and there is a summary of the number of shots, yellow or red cards and your amount of possession in a simple chart at the bottom of the screen. This acts as a useful guide to the success or otherwise of your present tactics. Mid-game changes may be necessary.
The financial side of TM2 leaves a little to be desired. The cash in your account never seems to increase and there's nothing you can do to build it up bar selling off excess players. Okay, once again, fair enough, but players seem to get injured rather too often for my liking - one tough game and you can have lour first team players out! For some inexplicable reason the physio can only work on one of these crocks a week, so you need a ridiculously large squad to replace your club's walking wounded.
To sum it up in a sentence: We need more game and less stats!
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Tactical Manager, Theme Park, Top of the League AGA, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe, Summer Games, Test Drive, Summer Games 2, Super Street Fighter 2 AGA
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