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LMA Manager
"This is the first game of its type on the Playstation where you feel in full control of the Club you manage" Image Loading...
Developer: Codemasters
Distributor: Codemasters
Game Type: Sports
Review Date: Oct 99
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Setting the Scene:
      Experience all of the excitement, passion and pressures that Soccer managers of the world have to deal with every day of their lives as you take charge of your favorite team and take them to the top.

Being the very first Soccer Management game that has been SPECIFICALLY designed for the PlayStation, this game promises to iron out all of the annoyances carried over from previous PC conversions.

Choose from over 300 club teams and a massive database of 8000 players that contain accurate statistics as of the start of this season. Being a console game, you can choose from a series of quick (after the pub) challenges or an in-depth multiple season campaign.

Everything looks promising on paper, so lets see how it performs...

Sound and Vision:
      As you will no doubt spend most of your time looking at pages full of facts and figures, it was great to see that all SEVENTY of them were quick and easy to access. This may seem like a stupidly large number of screens, but Codemasters have cured the biggest problem in this genre by assuming that most of you DONT own a PlayStation MOUSE. Tedious tasks such as finding out which of the players in your squad can take free-kicks are made quick and simple by the clever use of sub-screens. This eliminates the need to push a mouse pointer around the screen with your joypad.

Symbols have been used everywhere to make the task of analyzing your squad as easy as possible. For example, each players morale can be quickly assessed by the size of the smile on their faces, thus allowing you to quickly pick your most confident team.

Image Loading...On matchday, you get to watch the full game in real time. At first you may think that this not much to look at, but when you have played a few matches you realise how well this part of the game has been designed.

The pitch is small, as are the players, but this allows you to see everything on the screen at once. A coloured line follows the ball as it passed from player to player, allowing you to see where it is at all times (because as you've probably guessed, the ball is small too).

Image Loading...The only other part of the game that catches the eye (graphically speaking) is the after match sports report in which you head back to the TV studio and are given the opportunity to watch a summary of your performance. Commentary is supplied by Alan 'that defending was awful' Hansen, the ex-Liverpool captain turned TV pundit. The highlights are in the form of TV coverage and are quite impressive the first couple times you opt to watch them.

Being a management game it's expected that the sound within LMA Manager is pretty much limited to a few bleeps in the various menu screens. However, during the re-creations of actual games you are treated to the aural delights of roaring crowds, crunching tackles and of course various boot-on-ball noises... all of which help to raise the atmosphere and tension of the game considerably.
      Ever since I bought my very first soccer management game on the 'ZX Spectrum' some 15 years ago, I have always fancied myself…. no, let me finish…. as the next Shankly, Venables or Keegan. It's not difficult to see that I could easily do a better job than all of the previous managers of my favorite team put together.

That being the case, then why is it that whenever I am given the chance to do so, with the release of a new soccer management game, I end up bored out of my socks within days ('Sensible World of Soccer' apart).

Not this time... With the release of LMA Manager we have at last got a management game where you actually feel like a... well... manager !

In a stroke of pure genius, the developers have solved my biggest grievance with ALL of the other soccer management games that I have crossed paths with over the years...

Image Loading...The matchday has been designed so that you can graphically see all the action from start to finish... the goals, the fouls and individual performances of each player. If you see that your team is under pressure, pause the game and change tactics and/or personnel. This can have great bearing on the outcome of each match, so watch carefully as your left winger may just cost you the game.

LMA has many good attributes that add extra enjoyment to the easy playability. Authentic cup draws, International transfer markets, up to date squads (including some players that have been transferred this season playing for their new teams) and much more. However if you are like me and you get a little bored spending 30 minutes between games checking the transfer market, increasing ticket prices and changing your squads training routines on a daily basis, then hire some backroom staff and let them do it all for you. Eureka, all the tedious parts of the game taken care of in one fell swoop.

Image Loading...Of course LMA has the usual screen after screen of statistics and information, but don't be put off by this. After getting over the initial shock of trying to find your way around the 70 available screens, you will realise that the set up makes this an easy enough task to master. The main menus, with titles such as Finances and Stadium, are situated along the top of the screen and are in the form of little pictures. By highlighting a picture from this menu using the joypads top shoulder buttons, you will be advised of the heading. You are then able to skip between the sub-headings shown at the bottom of the screen using the bottom shoulder buttons (see simple!).

Another nice touch is the option to play against a friend in the 2 player mode, but with 14 blocks needed on your memory card make sure you get your mate to bring his with him..!

Step forward LMA once again to smash another sweetly struck left foot thunderbolt into your rivals net. If you don't want to spend weeks running a team just to end up relegated to the oblivion of non-league soccer, Codemasters have provided you with TEN 'quick fire' challenge options, one of which give you just 8 matches to prevent this same fate being bestowed on your team. These challenges range from saving a relegation threatened side from the drop, to collecting all 4 of the League and Cup trophies on offer (but who would want the Worthington Cup I hear Manchester United fans cry).
Game Options:
      This is a 1 disk game for 1-2 Players . It is compatible with the standard (digital) joypad and the dual shock (Analog) joypad. Games can be saved via memory card (14 blocks per save).

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Staff Opinions  
Dave: "For all those of you who have been waiting for a game where you actually feel like you are in the shoes of a soccer manager, I present to you LMA Manager. This is the first game of its type on the Playstation where you feel in full control of the Club you manage before, during and after every match. An absolute must for all fans of this genre."
Graphics: 17/20
Playability: 50/50
Sound: 7/10
Lastability: 20/20
Overall: 94%
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Reader Opinions  

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