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Der Meister aller Klassen
Anstoß logo

Heimlich, still und leise werkelte Ascon neben dem Historienprojekt "Elizabeth" an einem Fußball-Manager vom Allerfeinsten – und wir lassen die neue Sport-Bombe hier exklusiv für Euch platzen!

Anstoß Ja, dieses Game ist wahrlich ein Ausnahmefall – das in mancherlei Beziehung: Weil Anstoß einerseits bereits Ende Oktober Anstoß hat, das Programm andererseits jedoch noch nicht in seiner absolut endgültigen Version vorliegt, haben wir es einerseits schonmal vorab für Euch getestet, verzichten der Fairness halber andererseits jedoch auf eine ausführliche Bewertung. Mehr über diese ungewöhnliche Situation im nachstehenden Kästchen...

Daß dieses Game aber auch für sich genommen ein positiver Ausnahmefall ist, bestätigt als allererstes schonmal das originelle Spielziel: Hier dreht sich für ein bis vier Teilnehmer alles um die ganz konkrete Vorgabe, als Trainer eines Bundesligavereins innerhalb von zehn Jahren zum Teamchef der nationalmannschaft aufzusteigen! Ist doch schwer in Ordnung, schließlich ist Bundes-Berti auch nicht mehr der Jüngste. Dennoch ist es kein Zuckerschlecken, in die Fußstapfen von Herrn Vogts zu steigen (ging ihm j mit denen von Kaiser Franz auch nicht anders...), weshalb es durchaus passieren kann, daß man lange vorher wegen Ungeschicks vom Vorstand gefeuert wird oder gar in die Zweite Liga absteigt. Kein Grund zur Panik, bekommt hier doch jeder eine zweite Chance bei einem anderen Erstligisten, hat dann aber natürlich weniger Zeit zur Verfügung und muß verständlicherweise mit den fragwürdigeren Vereinen vorlieb nehmen.

Amiga Joker Mega Hit Der zweite Auffällige Unterschied zur Genrekonkurrenz liegt in der geradezu gigantomanischen Präsentation – rein optisch ist dieses Spiel unter allen Wirtschaftssimulationen absolut konkurrenzlos! Das fängt bereits mit den schicken Grafikbildschirmen an, wo man durch Anklicken der Möblierung in diverse (Unter-) Menüs gelangt. Am Büroscreen etwa führt das Klemmbrett auf dem Schreibtisch zur Mannschaftsaufstellung, der Tresort weiht Euch in die Geheimnisse der Finanzen ein und immer so weiter. Der eigentliche Hammer aber hängt woanders: Die Matches in Anstoß kommen einer TV-Übertragung näher als in jedem anderem Monitor-Spektakel, das wir jemals gesehen haben!

So werden die Begegnungen genau wie in der Glotze von "Fernsehkameras" aus neun verschiedenen Perspektiven verfolgt, wobei die Animationen der teilweise riesigen Spieler einfach umwerfend wirken. Mehr noch, diese immer wieder neu kombinierten Szenen werden durch Scrolltexte begleitet, die stets einen korrekten Kommentar zur jeweiligen Lage liefern. Ganz zu schweigen von Dingen, die dem Manager hier plötzlich und unverhofft widerfahren können; etwa, daß er nach dem Gewinn eines wichtigen Pkalspiels aus heiterem Himmel ein Interview geben muß. Bei den Multiple Choice-antworten ist dann freilich Vorsicht geboten, denn wer unbedacht Spielerschelte übt oder seinem Vereinsvorstand auf die Zehen tritt, muß mit Konsequenzen wie sinkender Mannschaftsmoral oder (fast noch schlimmer) sinkender Beliebtheit bei den Entscheidungsträgern seiner Karriere rechnen.

In ähnlich umsichtiger Weise wäre mit anderen öffentlichen Auftritten von Pressekonferenzen bis zu Einladungen ins Sportstudio umzugehen, was sicher bereits erahnen läßt, daß Ascons sportiver Meilenstein auch in Sachen Komplexität ganz neue Maßstäbe setzt. Eine Ahnung, die sich allüberall bestätigt: Vor dem Anstoß geht es bei Anstoß nicht etwa nur darum, für die kommende Begegnung elf Kicker auf die Beine zu stellen, nein, da wáre zusätzlich ein Elfmeterschütze festzulegen, und wer die geeigeneten Persönlichkeiten im Team hat, kann auch den Libero und/oder einen Spielmacher bestimmen. Von der Stärkenverteilung auf Angriff, Sturm und Mittelfeld lassen sich wiederum im Vergleich zu den entsprechenden Werten des Gegners Rückschlüsse auf die erforderlichen Trainingseinheiten ziehen (insgesamt sind elf verschiedene Bereiche von der Abseitsfalle über Tackling bis hin zu Spezialprogarmmen für einzelne Kicker realisierbar), und die hängern ihrerseits mit dem fantastisch umfangreichen Statistik-Material zusammen. Wer dort etwa feststellt, daß seine Jungs prinzipiell nach der Halbzeit kaum noch zu gebrauchen sind, sollte vielleicht etwas für deren Kondition tun, und falls sich ergibt, daß in den ersten zehn Minuten besonders häufig ins Schwarze getroffen wird, spricht nichts dagegen, die Athleten von Anfang an und ohne Rücksicht auf Veluste stürmen zu lassen, um etwas später eine moderatere Strategie einzuschlagen.

Ja, da staunt Ihr, was? Dabei handelt es sich bei all dem nur um einen halbwegs repräsentativen Ausschnitt des Gebotenen, alle Features dieses Super-Hits gebührend zu würdigen, würde fast schon ein Sonderheft füllen. Stichworte wie Finanzkalkulation, Verhandlungen mit Sponsoren, Sonderereignisse en masse, Prominenten-Tip oder Replay-Funktion belegen das locker, wenn auch nach wie vor unvollständig. Bliebe erstens noch zu erwähnen, daß er rasante Titelsound den abwechslungsreichen Effekten und Musikstücken nicht nachsteht und daß die Maus mit ihren sauber durchdachten Icons und Menüs prima zurechtkommt. Bliebe zweitens zu klären, ob die Stratego-Kicker nunmehr einen neuen Deutschen Meister haben – und bliebe drittens festzustellen, daß diese Frage wohl nur mit einem herzhaften "Jawoll" beantwordet werden kann! (jn)

Amiga Joker, October 1993, p.p.74-75

ACHTUNG SONDERFALL!
WIE BEREITS ANGEDEUTET, GIBT ES DIESMAL AUSNAHMSWEISE KEINE
NOTEN, WAS EINFACH DARAN LIEGT, DASS DAS PROGRAM ZWAR
NAHEZU FERTIG VORLIEGT, VORLÄUFIG ABER ERST AUF EINEM AMIGA
4000 MIT 16 MB. NUN IST MAN BEI ASCON DABEI, RECHTZEITIG ZUM
RELEASE-DATE JE EINE VERSION FÜR STANDARD AMIGAS UND 1200ER
DARAUS ZU STRICKEN, WORAUS SICH ZWANGLOS ERGIBT, DASS
NOCH NICHT FESTSTEHT, WELCHE TECHNISCHEN UND SPIELERISCHEN
DETAILS FÜR WELCHE MASCHINE REALISERT WERDEN KÖNNEN.
FELSENFEST STEHT HINGEGEN, DASS WIR EUCH DARÜBER
NACHTRÄGLICH INFORMIEREN WERDEN – UND DASS ES SICH BEI
ANSTOSS UM EINEN WASCHECHTEN MEGAHIT HANDELT!


Anstoß logo

Vor zwei Monaten machten wir Euch mit einem Vorab-Test den Mund wäßrig, nun ist der Traum jedes Fußballmanagers digitale Wirklichkeit gewurden – und das auf allen Amigas gleichzeitig!

Anstoß Die Standard- und die spezielle 1200er Version unterscheiden sich bloß grafisch, das Gameplay ist völlig identisch: Bis zu vier menschliche Trainer müssen versuchen, innerhalb von zehn Jahren den Job von Berti Vogts zu ergattern. Man sollte also aus den 20 anfänglich vorhandenen Kickern durch gezieltes Training, geschickte Transfers und eine clevere Finanzplanung baldmöglichst ein Spitzenteam formen, das auch im internationalen Wettbewerb bestehen kann. Dazu stehen in einem Dutzend Untermenüs umfangreiche Statistiken und die üblichen Optionen zur Verfügung; alles ist direkt vom (Büro-) Hauptscreen aus zugänglich.

Amiga Joker Mega Hit Aus rechtlichen Gründen tragen die Bundesligavereine hier nicht ihre originalen Namen, was sich mit dem integrierten Editor aber ändern läßt. In puncto Options-vielfalt wird das Niveau des "Bundesliga Managers Prof." um Haaresbreite verfehlt, speziell, was die (Einzel-) Trainings- und Werbemöglichkeiten angeht. Handhabungstechnisch warten übersichtliche Menüs und eine gelungene Maussteuerung, die Installation auf Festplatte sei jedoch dringend angeraten. Das entscheidende Plus von Anstoss ist aber die geradezu sensationelle Optik! Das gilt insbesondere für die animierten Spielszenen wobei der Chef im Falle eines Elfmeters sogar selbst Hand an die Maus legen darf. Auch hier sind sich beide Versionen einig: Am 1200er bekommt man lediglich mehr und feiner abgestufte Farben zu sehen. Alles übrige stand schon in der Oktober-Ausgabe, nur eine exakte Prozent-Bewertung fehlte – und die folgt sogleich... (md)

Amiga Joker, December 1993, p.94

ANSTOSS
(ASCON)
FUSSBALL-MANAGEMENT
91%
"EDEL"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
STANDARD
90%
A1200
92%
93%
83%
85%
81%
92%
VARIABEL: 5 STUFEN
PREIS DM 99,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB/2 MB
5/JA
JA
SPIELSTÄNDE
KOMPLETT


On the ball - World cup edition logo

Football is football. If that were not the case, it would not be the game it is.

T On the ball – World cup edition ake football management as the basic premise of a game. Stylise and refine the inevitable number-crunching textual element. Finally, wrap it up and lovingly encase it in lavish retina messaging aesthetics. Well done, you have just about grasped the impact and concept of On The Ball.
Ascon are a German outfit and they are the people responsible for The Patrician (AF51 89%). Aside from being a very playable trading game, The Patrician’s main impact lay firmly at the door of its opulent, attention-grabbing graphics.
On The Ball adopts a similarly effective mechanism. Rather than being a traditional text-based grid system, each of the information and control screens is a scanned-in picture of a watercolour painting.

The operation is implemented by sweeping the mouse over the screen in the same manner used in adventure games. At first, this is a bit confusing. Football management game preconcepts are hard to rbeak. Take a look at the control screen on the top right of this page. All of the functions are logical and are related to their graphical representation. For example, if you want to see the latest headlines in th press, click on the newspaper on your desk.
This system of information presentation could easily have slipped into graphical overkill. Fortunately, the game engine and control system is slick, unobtrusive and reeks with playability. The game viewed as a whole looks and feels like Beneath A Steel Sky or Innocent Until Caught. As such, you tend to end up concentrating on playing the game rather than remembering abstract rules, results and fixes.

The most important feature of On The Ball is the players. Their form is affected by all sorts of events, both physical and psychological. Remembering the performance of each one can make all the difference with team selection and overall rating. Thankfully, the players’ abilities only depend on two traits, strength and form. Form is the most volatile of the two. It can wildly fluctuate depending on external events such as training, domestic life, injuries, not being selected, personal talks with the coach (you) and response to the media – an important part of the game is the performance of the coach at press conferences. Saying the wrong thing in public can affect the morale and consequently the form of the whole team.

Of course, these elements would not be important if the mechanism and graphic representation of the game in play was not up to scratch. The game performance is the most fun. It uses a combination of textural commentary and animated highlights.
The highlights are the best I have ever seen in a football management sim. They use a combination of long, medium and close-up views of the action which cut nd flow much like watching a water coloured Match Of The Day.
A genuine feeling of tension builds up when your team make a break or are under pressure from the opposition’s attack. Despite the number of games I played in the process of this review, fatigue or boredom with the highlights never entered the equation. They still managed to induce mild excitement and that has got to be a good thing.

Good thing or not, there are a few gripes regarding On The Ball that afflict all football management games. And that is the section where you are left to screen watch. The worst culprit is the training section. The intention behind the training is player improvement – a good idea. Unfortunately, you have to watch the whole thing as a passive spectator. You cannot click out of it or abort or speed it up, you just have to sit there like a lumpen mass and observe.

Admittedly, there is a running textual commentary which informs you of who is improving nd who is not. But the achievemtns of individual players is summarised on a post training screen anyway, so why are you forced to wait? It is a dark grey, verging on black, mark against an otherwise impressive gaming performance from Ascon.
Graps aside, On The Ball is the best management game you will play. It is atmospheric, addictive and incredibly playful. Recommended.
Steve McGill

Amiga Format, Issue 63, September 1994, p.p.64-65

ON THE BALL
WORLD CUP EDITION
PROGRAMMERS
In-house
PUBLISHER
Daze/Ascon 071-328 2762
PRICE
£29.99
RELEASED
Out now

 
On the ball – World cup edition is hard disk installable

 
GRAPHICS
09 out of 10
As beautiful as an oasis in the middle of the desert to a man dying of thirst.

SOUND
06 out of 10
Not a great deal of sound other than spot effects and a few tunes you can choose yourself.

ADDICTION
08 out of 10
From kick off, the game pulls you in and keeps you hooked until the final whistle blows.

PLAYABILITY
08 out of 10
Easy to get into. One of the best control systems of any football management game.

VERDICT
"This is Beneath A Steel Sky for football gans. On The Ball will grip you and won’t let you go until you have won the World Cup."
80%


Anstoß - World cup edition logo

Bundes-Berti hat Mist gebaut, richtig? Ihr hättet so manches anders und so ziemlich besser gemacht, stimmt es? Zeit für den Beweis: mit der WM-Edition macht Ascon den Manager zum Bundestrainer!

Anstoß– World cup edition Bis zu vier Spieler nehmen die Elitekicker des Landes ihrer Wahl unter ihre Fittiche und dürfen sich unter umgehung der Qualifikation auch gleich zur WM-Endrunde begeben, um mit oder ohne Vorbereitung um den Title zu kämpfen. Im Hotel des Gastgeberlandes angekommen, greift man zunächst mal stilgerecht zum Terminplaner: Trainingseinheiten mit 17 Schwerpunkten, Einzelgespräche, Mannschaftssitzunge, Mahlzeiten, Bettruhe und vieles mehr bestimmen den Tagesablauf. Auch die Medien sind wichtig, weshalb von Zeit zu Zeit Pressekonferenzen abzuhalten sind – wer sich zuvor bei Massage oder einem Waldspaziergan entspannt, wird den Journalisten zudem gut gelaunt Rede und Antwort stehen.

Amiga Joker Hit Im Stadion entscheidet sich schließlich, ob die akribische Vorbereitung von Erfolg gekrönt wird. Und gerade hier hat die Neuauflage nochmals an Komplexität zugelegt: Die Cracks bringen nur noch auf ihren Lieblingspositionen volle Leistung, zu den taktischen Mitteln gehört jetzt u.a. auch noch Zeitspiel oder das Schießen aus allen Lagen. Grafisch war eh nur wenig zu verbessern, so sind beim Training neuerdings nette Animationen zu verzeichnen. Ähnliches gilt für den Sound von altbekannter Güte, und auch die Maussteuerung ist so bequem wie gehabt.

Auch wenn sich die tatsächlichen Unterschiede natürlich in Grenzen halten, ist die WM-Edition somit eine weltmeisterliche Leistung, insbesondere weil sie die Turnierstimmung wirklich astrein rüberbringt! (st)

Amiga Joker, August 1994, p.94

ANSTOSS WORLD CUP EDITION
(ASCON)
WM-MANAGEMENT
89%
"TOP"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
STANDARD
83%
AGA
85%
84%
80%
83%
81%
93%
VARIABEL: 5 STUFEN
PREIS DM 79,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB/2 MB
5/JA
JA (2 MB ERF.)
SPIELSTÄNDE
KOMPLETT


On the ball - World cup edition logo

Just what is going on here? The world cup is over, and it is finished as well.

Runs on: A500, A600, A1200
Publisher: Daze
Authors: Ascon
Price: £30, £33 (AGA version)
Release: Out now

J On the ball - World cup edition ust another day in the Sam Cruise detective agency, except it was the AMIGA POWER office.
"Good morning! " said Cliff (from Daze) as he strolled in. "I have got a great new football management game. From Germany". He waved it around hopefully.
"Oh good," mumbled JD unconvincingly, trying to hide under a desk. "I will get someone to review it straight away. Thanks Cliff. No, really", he added more loudly as Cliff (from Daze) ran away.
JD eyed the game with suspicion, already regretting his impetuous words. Perhaps Cam would care to review the game? He glanced across at his Deputy Editor, who was always coming up with top ideas for features and suggesting JD go on holiday and was never asked to make the tea, just in case. Cam was carving the words, ‘I despise football with every fibre of my being’ into his desk with a sickle.

THICKENING PLOT
Jonathan Nash then. JD slid the game inconspicuously across his desk in Jonathan’s general direction, but to no avail, for Jonathan was in a different room using seven thousand pounds’ worth of complicated scanning equipment to digitise himself into an episode of Animaniacs. JD gnawed his lip.

Suddenly, light burst upon him. Steve McGill! He was always going on about Kilmarnock and they, apparently, were a football club. He was the man for the job. But a quick search of the office revealed no McGill. There was, however, a small note pinned to his computer. "I have had enough", read JD, his stomach between his knees. "Nobody respects my religious beliefs, so I am off to make my fortune with the script of a new Tom and Jerry cartoon, Killie Kitty". The hapless Editor fell back into his chair, perspiration spotting his brow. Surely he was not going to have to review a… a… football management simulation himself!

Just then a familiar figure appeared. It was AP’s tousle-haired Production Edtior, Steve Faregou. Fagaaarrr. Steve, er, Thingy, and he was whistling something. Something tantalisingly familiar. Why, it was the theme tune to Match of the Day!

"Steve", cried JD, almost excitedly, "Do you like football"? Steve jumped back in alarm, dropping his copy of 90 Minutes and nearly snapping the harness of the complicated car-battery-small-television-video-recorder arrangement he was using to watch the 1958 World Cup (Brazil v Sweden). "Possibly", he answered guardedly. JD ate a chocolate biscuit in triumph.

GLAD
And so it came to pass that I got to review On the Ball World Cup Edition. And am I ever glad. It is terrific. It is also incredibly big (about 10Mb) which means it is best to play it from hard drive or have at least two external drives.

The plot is the same old thing: your task, as a national coach, is to prepare and qualify a squad for the World Cup. Or, if you prefer, you can skip all the qualification process and go straight into the Cup. You can choose to be the coach of any team in the world and you have a period of months over which to organise friendlies and training sessions around the qualification matches.

It is the way the game has been put together that makes it so enjoyable. Numbercrunching is kept in the background where it belongs, leaving you to get on with the important business of bellowing in disbelief as your striker completely misses his shot and nibbling your tie-clip in a frenzy as the opposing team swoops on your goal. The highlights are a mixture of running text commentary and 3Dish animated bits, and they mesh perfectly. Which is more than can be said for your players.

CLEVER LINK
Quite possibly the finest aspect of On the Ball is its storytelling feature. You know how in other footy many games your players are just a group of statistics? In OTB, they really come to life, training badly, attacking unkind journalists, having good days and off ones. As coach, you have to attend press conferences, give interviews on the touchline after an important match, deal with players’ personal problems (when I was playing, one of my team fell madly in love, which affected his form) and make stirring speeches at half time, being sure to single out the right people for praise otherwise everyone else will get cheesed off. It is a level of involvement that turns a game into a memorable story – something I have never before seen in a footy sim.

The game is also helped a lot by the excellent graphics. The match highlights are true Roy Of The Rovers, and the static in-game screens are beautifully drawn. Even after several hours of playing, I was still discovering new pictures – and some of them are really funny, displaying an unusual (and hugely welcome) lightness of touch.

This sort of skewed thinking is typical of the approach to the game – make it fun to play, and all else will follow. And, of course, it is fun to play. The menus are all easy to use, the results of the matches are believable, and your decisions have a significant effect on those results.

You get to know your players, tailoring their training accordingly, and learning who to praise and who to criticise. If I have a criticism, it is that the game is limited in scope: You only play in the World Cup and there are no financial decisions to make. But! According to Daze a league version will be released in September, featuring exactly those things in addition to sponsors and FA Cup and European tournaments. I cannot wait.
STEVE FARAGHER

Amiga Power, Issue 41, September 1994, p.p.42-43



"Already regretting his impetuous words"


Upper UPPERS Great gameplay, lovely graphics, deep involvement; everything you could ask from a management game. Your players respond to your treatment realistically and there are just loads of different little touches that make this an extraordinary game.
Downer DOWNERS Two points for a win? What on earth are they on about? Also, the translation is a bit dodgy in places (but this actually lends a little extra charm for me).

THE BOTTOM LINE
The opportunity to have up to four players is a good thing. There are some minor imperfections, more than made up for by the joy that this game will bring you - If you like football of course. It may be prohibitively big for some machines, but with an A1200 and a hard drive, this is very heaven.
85

P E R C E N T

THE BOTTOM LINE

A500 The A500 version should be exactly the same as the AGA game I played. We will let you know the details as soon as we see a version.



On the ball - World cup edition logo CU Amiga Super Star

What's this? The Germans have re-invented football management? Tony Dillon says Bitte?

On the ball - World cup edition T he chaps and chapesses at Ascon must be an incredibly happy bunch. In their native Germany they've only released two games, yet they have been top of the charts for more weeks than most people have on their calendars. Their first product, The Patrician, went through the roof, and building on the reputation for hot strategy games their second - Anstoss, did just the same. Anstoss and Anstoss - World Cup were both recognised as being among the best soccer management games ever released - more than even the phenomenally selling Bundesliga Manager, and these are now finally being translated into English, so we can enjoy them as much as our Deutsch cousins.

You might have picked up the fact that there are in fact two versions of Anstoss from the above paragraph - League and World Cup editions, the World Cup one being developed specifically for this time of year. When it came to actually translating the game for the UK market, the World Cup edition has turned out to be far easier to move across, being as only the text itself needs to be changed. In the league version, the actual structure of the leagues need to be rewritten, and as a result the World Cup edition is being released in the UK a couple of months before the League version. C'est lá vie.

LOOKING STRANGE
Looking at the screenshots on these pages, you might have noticed that On The Ball doesn't look like your average football management game. That's OK though, because On The Ball isn't your average football management game. This game is crammed with new features, and I can't remember the last time I said that about a football management title.

The aim of the World Cup edition is much the same as most other games in that you choose your team, and then try and take them all the way through the qualifying rounds, through the quarter and semi finals, and eventually to the final itself. All the usual World Cup rules apply, and all the teams you would expect to see in there, are there. In that respect, this is very similar to most other management games, but that is where most of the similarity ends.

Before I tell you about the fabulous presentation of the game, let me tell you what is so exciting about the game engine itself. On the basic level you handle the players statistically - the usual sort of thing, where you find the players who work best in each position by combining their skills, and then find the best tactics and formations needed to defeat the opposition. Then it goes much, much further.

GOOD FOR MORALE
To give you some idea of how much detail and information you have to play with, let's take a look at the morale of the team. When the team is fitted together perfectly, morale will be high. To get a perfect team, however, you have to find a team where the personalities work, rather than just lump the highest-rated players together. Hotheaded players will more often than not disrupt a harmonious defensive set up, and someone who is too passive might be taken as being lazy. Still, once you have the right squad, you have to keep them happy. Keeping them happy isn't as easy as it seems, however. You have to offer them a varied and exciting training schedule. You have to be very careful what you say to the players at half time, you have to watch what gets said in the papers. You even have to watch out for players becoming bored in the situations the play in.
The personality aspect of the game is just one of the things that makes it so involving to play.

On the ball - World cup edition There's a lot more to being a manager than just managing people, I usually find, and On The Ball covers every aspect you can think of. You have to do sponsorship deals with people, participate in TV interviews and press conferences and even be called to comment on the match after a particularly good or bad game. There are all the standard options such as team formation and selecting the different training opportunities. As well as less standard ones such as telling your team to play violently, or even to take a Klinsman-style dive in the box to get those extra goals!

If there is one thing that will really engage your enthusiasm initially, as well as capture the mass market where most other soccer management games have failed, it's the presentation. The game looks absolutely fabulous, with all the images in the game being painted in watercolours, and then scanned in - the AGA version looks particularly spectacular! Every screen is a treat to see, such as the outside of your hotel, or the screen that's flashed up on those odd moments in the game where you have nothing to do (yourself, laying by a pool with a drink in your hand!).

Where the presentation really stands out, though, is in the match itself. By using the same graphics system of scanned watercolour images, On The Ball plays you the highlights of the match as they happen, from various camera angles and settings. And throughout the match, a running commentary gives you all the interesting points of the game underneath, from the crowd reaction to certain parts of the match, to the kind of things the players are shouting at the referee.

POLISHED BALLS
All in all, the whole package gleams and shines like no other. On The Ball has all the strategy and skill of the best of the rest, yet is so user-friendly and easy to get into that the 100-plus page manual is almost completely redundant.

It'll take some time to crack the game, though, no matter which team you choose to play with, as you really will need to learn how players react to different situations before you can fully control them. Atmospheric and gripping, On The Ball is easily the best football management game I have ever played.

CU Amiga, August 1994, p.p.70-71

IT'S OFFICIAL!
I f there's one thing missing from most soccer management games, it's your office. A lot of the time you are sat staring at table s and numbers, with no real feeling of 'being there'. On The Ball rectifies this by showing you exactly where you are at any one time. At the beginning of the game, before you jet off to wherever the game happens to be, you work from your plush office. When you reach the semi- and quarter finals of the game, however, you are moved to an untidy hotel room, with all the same options hidden in logical places. More interesting than a menu screen, I say.

SPEAKING PERSONALLY
O ne of the most interesting ideas in the game is that of a rating which shows you how confident you are feeling, as well as how confident the backers, supporters and team are about your performance. This is given as a percentage, and takes into account every aspect of your game so far. This might seem like another meaningless statistic, but in fact it alters a lot of things about the game. In press conferences, for example, you will be asked a question and given three separate answers. The tone of the answers is governed by your personal feeling, so therefore you can't be incredibly positive if you have just lost the last three matches!

ASCON £29.99
A500
A1500
A500+
A2000
A600
A3000
A1200
A4000
ASCON UK LTD, 2 CANFIELD PLACE, LONDON NW6 3BT. TEL: 071 328 3144
 ;
RELEASE DATE:
GENRE:
TEAM:
CONTROLS:
NUMBER OF DISKS:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS:
HARD DISK INSTALLABLE:
MEMORY:
 
JULY
SOCCER MANAGEMENT
ASCON
MOUSE
5
4
YES
1Mb

 ;
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
96%
81%
94%
93%
An excellent management game.
OVERALL: 94%