Friday, 21 August 2015

SNES Game review 87: Kevin Keegan's Player Manager

Whenever a sim related game seems to come to a console I always hear terms on the lines of ‘’oh it’s been dumbed down for the console retards.’’ The truth is yes some things will have to be altered when bringing a game or type of game which has previously relied on the use of a mouse and a keyboard with over 50 keys on it on to a system which uses a joypad with a d pad and only around eight buttons. This doesn't always have to be a bad thing though there are certain games which have made the jump from PC to console which I have really enjoyed. One example would be Sim City, I actually prefer the SNES version, another example would be the original X-Com Enemy unknown, I think that worked really well on the original PlayStation.

Now Kevin Keegan's Player Manager was based on Player Manager a game released in 1990 for the Amiga, Atari ST and PC. Player Manager was the first game to combine both managing and playing. The engine used for the actual football playing part of the game borrows heavily from the match engine used in the Kick Off which was developed by Dino Dini and Anco Software, who also created Player Manager. The best way to describe it is as a very light and quick kick about. The ball doesn’t stick to your feet like in some games, you actually need the skill to move with it, overall it feels very basic and out of your control, it feels sort of like a NES game but really the playing is not supposed to be the focus of this game, it’s a management game that happens to let you play the games as well, at least that’s the way I see it.

This is one case where I wish things had been dumbed down more, when putting the cart in and trying to play it without a manual it really becomes a game of guesswork, a bit of clicking here and there and I soon managed to play a match. You see one of the big draws of this game was supposed to be the fact that you could manage and you could play, but they certainly didn’t dumb things down that much, and they certainly didn’t think that anyone might one day pick this game up without a manual. I am there trying to play the game and I am met with icons. I find myself clicking one thing to see what happens finding myself on another screen full of icons, being met with a dead end in one case and then seeming to come full circle with the frustration growing. Eventually I managed a few matches and to make a little progress but the game really has not aged well. I wanted to just watch the games be played and make the behind the scenes decisions but couldn't work out if this was possible.

I try to review games fairly taking in to account when they were released and trying to sample as much of the game as possible but in this case I just found it all frustrating. I didn't enjoy what I did play and I just wanted to put it down straight away and load up one of the various much better football management games I have on my PC. If you’re not worried about having the newest of the new then you can get a football manager game through steam for a couple of quid. I feel bad giving this game a score, I mean at the time on the SNES if you wanted a football management game it was kind of a case of like this or lump it, forced to rate it though I would give it a 3 out of 10, I really didn’t rate it. I can say though if you have a SNES and are looking at collecting games then unless you can get a copy with a manual it might be worth giving this one a miss and getting a football management game on a different system. I paid £1 for my cart from a pawn store so I don’t feel like I have lost much. If you do want a cart of this a pal cart tends to go for about £5 online including postage but copies with a manual are usually quiet a lot more. Honestly give this game a miss.

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