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★★★★☆

“Total Club Manager ”

Written on: 03/12/2004 by tastymorsel (6 reviews written)

Good Points
Good combination of On and off the field wheeling and dealing
More involvement in your youth player development
Excellent Strategy but also watch the whole macth in 3D!

Bad Points
Slow to Load

General Comments
Total Club Manager



If you are looking for a football management game that combines an excellent strategy aspect and also an option to watch your team through every tense moment of the game then this is definitely for you.



I can understand why some experienced gamers brought up on FIFA Soccer or Championship Manager don't like it, because it is not statistically as in depth as Champ Manager or as hands on as most soccer games but personally, I think it bridges the gap pretty well.



You start the game by entering some details about yourself, your name, your age, favourite/least favourite club, the difficulty level, you can even enter the name of your girlfriend (goodness knows why?) and upload a portrait of yourself!



Once past this screen you select the league you want to play in (all European leagues are included) and choose the team you want to control from the 47 available. In addition there are over 25,000 players available to buy, loan or bribe into your world beating team!



There are basically three key areas of the game



The Football Management Section

The Match day Section

The Financial Management Section



Football Management



You think you're a hotshot hey? Here you can buy and sell players, train them and decide your game strategy.



Total Manager has a great training section, where you can literally plan what you want your team to do each and every week, you can choose to focus on fitness, skills, shooting, tactics and can define how and when they train and whether they train alongside your youth team to improve their development. Alternatively until you get to grips with the game let your assistant manager organise your training.



The Buying and Selling section in this game is definitely one of the best concepts amongst the football management sims. Not only can you do the usual things of buying and selling, but you can negotiate with clubs or tempt prospective players away from their team by offering large wage packages. You can choose whether you speak to the club or the player first.



The team and tactics menu is great. You can choose to have three conversations with your players each week, that allow for praise to be lavished, gentle persuasion or down right criticism in the hope of motivating them to play better. Whatever you decide to do, remember that you can have a negative as well as positive effect on your team, so choose your words carefully.



The tactics menu allows you to pick your formation and team mentality i.e. attacking, defensive. If you have a particularly good winger or forward you can decide which side of the pitch to make most of your attacking play from, which is an excellent addition. You can also bribe your players to play better by offering lucrative bonuses for winning the match, but be warned the more you use them the less effective they become - best saved for critical cup games or European Matches.

The youth development is superb! You can directly influence the future skills of your players by setting training regimes. I find that on average I was promoting two - three youth players into my team each year which will either go on to become the next Rooney or you can sell for 100K to boost your funds.



Matchday



In Total Club Manager this is a joy! You can chose between boring, boring watch the statistics mode or full screen match action which translates your decisions into beautiful flowing football as you watch every pass, every cross and every heart stopping penalty kick. In this mode you can shout directions at your team based on keyboard commands such as, Shoot, Pass, and Tackle. You also get a great commentary from Clive Tillsley who makes the game superb. You can also stop the game at anytime and make tactical changes and substitutions.



In the statistics mode you can monitor the passes, tackles, shoots etc of your team and can do half time team talks, designed to improve the performance of your players.



Financial Management Section



As if all of that wasn't enough you also have the finances of the team to manage. Unlike most football management games where finances are automatically calculated, the success of your team depends on how good you are on and off the pitch and adds to the realism of the game.



This is excellent. You can negotiate and sign agreements with a sponsor, take out a loan, invest the clubs money in bonds to earn more money. You can even sell the name right of your stadium to a sponsor! All of these give you lots of cash to spend on building your team.



You can also make improves to your stadium, adding extra seating or rebuilding your stadium completely, adding car parks and train terminals to improve attendance, build better youth facilities for your youth team and build international training camps in over 15 countries to increase your talent spotting abilities.



You can also manage the merchandising aspect of your team, buying and selling over 50 items from football shirts to ashtrays!!!!! Or once again you can hire a merchandising manager to do it for you.



There is just so much to this game and it will keep you entertained for hours, I just hope your Wife/Partner or friends don't mind the sounds of the crowd cheering long into the early hours of the morning!!!





Operating System:



Windows 98/2000/ME/ XP

Processor: Intel Pentium 3

1 GB Hard Drive (at least)

Video Card: 32mb direct 3d

Sound Card: Directx 8.1

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