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PC Football Manager 2001 (Electronic Arts) £29.99 1* 1k a.
It goes without saying that the Championship Manager series is the long-serving king of the football management sims. Its wealth of information and uncluttered, almost barren presentation makes for a game that hits the playability G-spot each and every time it is booted up. Freedom and simplicity merge to allow the player to do what they like without feeling like they have been dropped in the deep end. Perfect.
Electronic Arts obviously took a leaf out of that particular chapter of the Championship Manager book when it created Football Manager 2001. There is a dazzlingly large amount of information on players, clubs, competitions and stadia featured, with clubs from Scotland, England, Spain, France and Germany available for management, each packed with first teams, reserve teams and youth teams. These are all under your control, with a little help from your back room staff, and makes for a game full of depth. Add to this the financial side of the game, transfers, training and the constant pressure from the board and it soon becomes clear that this game is no cakewalk.
However, the developers have been unable to stop themselves in the application of all this information. Though the large number of menus and screens are
Loads of information that's never where you expect it
clearly and colourfully presented, they are never where you think they should be. The e-mail system that computer-controlled personae use to communicate messages directly to you can be cumbersome to use and a little more help from your coaches and scouts would have been welcome. And when you come to the games themselves, EA's bowing to graphics temptation irritates. The games can be displayed in four modes, from a 30 90 minutes to the bare match report, with each failing to provide the information needed to improve your performance.
Still, Football Manager 2001 will satisfy those with a knowledge of football and an eye for a smartly designed graphic. If the few unhelpful niggles and frill- heavy menus can be overlooked, this is a title that will fill the gaping management hole until the next Championship Manager comes along. (lain Davidson)
(Virgin) £29.99 at is it: t
For those who didn't catch the console ver5ion Of Dino CfIS/S here is a gurck reSUme. Resident Evil With Velociraptors instead of Zombies. Female agent Regina lands on a remote island in search of a missing professor and discovers dead bodies, ferocious lizards (or are they proto-birds now?) and a mystery waiting to be unearthed. Tne action takes place in camera-switching, room-by-room three dimensions that look extra-nice on a PC. However, what the PC makes up for in Visuals it loses in control. These exploration titles are always best played With buttocks
cradled in a comfy sofa, Jprdd in hand and a cup of tea at yOur elbow. Somehow they never hook you in as much when displayed on a monitor. That said, if you've no other chOice, Dino 05/5 on the PC is well worth a purchase. The puzzles are tricky, the action relentless and the sharp-clawed enemy is frighteningly intelligent. You'll be domg Bob Peck impressions :n no time. 'Clever Girll'
Sims Livin' It Up Expansron Pack (Electronic Arts) £19.99 a. if tr i: The Sims has Split the gameplaying
community into two neat packages -— Simophiles and Simophobes.
‘mé b. COM
Top Selling Alcohol
1. Cold Bud (6-pack)
2. Cold Becks (6-pack)
3. Smlrnoff Ice (6-Pack)
4. Wrell’s Shiraz
5. Veuve Clloquot Champagne
170p Video‘s to Rent 1. Boys Don’t Cry
2. Three Kings
3. The Insider
4. Lake Placid
5.- The Hurricane
1. Kylie Mlnogue - Light Years
2. Robbie Williams - Sing When You’re Winning
3. Madonna - Music
4. Snatch - The Soundtrack
5. Craig David - Born To Do It
Top Speed Needs
2. Mates Condoms
3. Lemsip Cold and Flu 4. Tampax
véseos, mt, GAMES. CDS,§OOKS.VR43NKS. SNAcKS. Tlle Lift: Allb Etteiitfi’ALS to 'don troop.nt to Mhiueel.
112 THE UST 5—19 Oct 2000
Simophobes, those who find Electronic Arts’ artificial lifeforms pOintless, random and irritating, will have stopped reading by now, so for all you Simophiles Out there, here is some unapologetic, brazenly biased straight talkin’, The Livm’ It Up expansion pack makes the best game ever better than ever. Five new careers, 50 new Jobs, 125 new objects and more building styles than you can shake a stick at, yet they slip comfortably into the original, expanding upon rather than altering that glorious Sims experience The sense of humour is still wickedly irreverent The Home Chemistry Set for example, opens up whole new possibilities for Sun torture (still a legal addiction) while Vibrating becls do much to spice Lip that carefully nurtured love life With Livrii’ It Up, everyday is Christmas Day for your Sims.
Premier League S.T.A.R.S. 2001 (Electronic Arts) £29.99 s r w a
Premier League 5 TA R 5. stands alone as the football series that brings a little something different to an over- represented genre. As well as the usual eleven men on the pitch, wm the league, lift the Cup, glory hunting of every other footie title, STARS. features a pOints system that awards yoci stars after every match. These hard-won stars can then be spent on improvrng your team, either by improvmg the attributes of single
players or saVing up and buying a quality player on the transfer market This means that while the football
itself is perhaps not as playable as the FIFA or ISS titles, wrth defending often Vicioust hard and scoring seldom a formality, the constant upgrading of players really keeps you coming back for more. Spending all your stars on one player can also be fun, creating a superhuman uber-striker for instance. Three difficulty settings and a variety of competitions Will keep yOLi star chasing for a long time
(Ubisoft) £29.99 vs r a a
It has been a long, long time since games characters like Sonic and Mario ruled the roost Nowadays it's all ultra- realism, blood letting and first-person interaction However, making his IOng- eared limbless stand is Rayman, Ubisoft's favourite son. Rayman 2 has already appeared on DC and PC, but being the type of game it is, this will be the first time many gamers will have experienced his special brand of Joy Essentially a 3D platform game, Rayman 2 is so well designed that this well-trodclen genre fades into the background and an inventive, involvmg adventure shines through. Though not as clean and crisp as on the other formats, the PlayStation version retains every ounce of character and yOung and old, male and female, will soon fall for the agile protagonist Go on SpOil y0urself With some big-hearted, pure and Simple enjoyment.
DREAMCAST Plasma Sword (Capcom)£29.99 ~ + x
If there is one thing that Capcom does very well it is OutrageOLisly colourful ZD beat-em-ups featuring characters that reek of personality and humour. P/asma Sword is no different. Although it pretends at 30, with a side step feature acting as a defensive dodge, the combat OCCUFS on a rigid left to right, advance and retreat plane. This makes the game a lot simpler than its rivals and, to be honest, suffers because of this After playing the likes of Soul Cal/bur and Powerstone the step back to restrictive toe-to-toe bashing feels rather depressing In its defence, Plasma Sword sports some beautifully excessive set pieces and the explosive special moves often take the breath away With each character featuring its own button-pushing tree, combination moves can be put together easily and the overall response is quick and satisfying if only it wasn't Quite so basic
i * +- a s Unmissable
a ~ * Very ood
a a 'r Wort t a shot ‘ * Below average
You've been warned