Club and Country logo

Reviewed by Andy Maddock

Another football game arrives as we watch another season get under way. The winter months are fast coming upon us and could be the perfect time to sit out the first rounds of the Auto Windscreen Shield and head for managing success on the Amiga. This time,a relatively large company who are renowned for distributing PC and Amiga peripherals are invited to try their hand at the Amiga games scene. Leisuresof UK intend to make a big impact on the gaming front, and a football game could be just what it takes.

Football games are undoubtedly the Amiga's strong point, and have brought in more cash than any other genre. All the all-time greats have appeared on the Amiga and incidentally, most of them never made successful conversions onto the PC or any console. Sensible Soccer, Kick Off, Player Manager, Goal and Man Utd - Premier Champions are just a selection who owe their huge success to the Amiga.

Club and Country is one of the few football management games that offers jobs on club and international level. Sensible Software had aspirations to the idea but it was never given the time of day. After 10 seasons of non-stop promotions, relegations and cup exits, the last thing you want to do is retire. Club and Country gives you the option to mange the national team when your success becomes too much for the rest of the pack.

At the beginning of Club and Country, you are given a list of clubs to take on in division three. They all offer competitive salaries and a required league placing needs to be achieved for the forthcoming season. This leaves you with a defined target to achieve - failure to do so means sacking will be imminent.

Club and Country is one of the few football management games that offers jobs on club and international basis

Club and Country has an easy-to-use icon system which allows you to view all the statistics within seconds without having to plough through hundreds of menus. The icons are located on the right side of the screen, with the information displayed on the left, and your current status is displayed at the foot of the screen as a picture.

You begin with a small house, small car and a generally unappealing appearance. As you progress through the divisions picking up trophies and promotions, more money will come in, thus enabling you to afford a better life. So the actual objective of the game isn't to be the best team in the world in a completely fictionally way, but to earn enough money to live on and with luck, progressing and enjoying the higher life of football management.

The actual match sequences are immensely lacking in quality - there is no animated, graphical action, just a short and brief description on injuries and bookings, so you can't acquire a true estimation of your team's ability. You can make substitutions and swap players around during the match, but you can't alter the way your team plays.

Although these comments seem harsh in some respects, they are purely cosmetic and could have been tidied up. The depth and realism is present but simply overshadowed by the cartoon pictures. Another problem is the research. A first glance it looks like all the players' data is present and correct because Dennis Bergkamp is in Arsenal's line-up. However it seems the rest of the squads haven't been touched. There's no sign of an editor either, so it looks like you're stuck with them - unfortunately.

Cartoon to cleavage

All the usual options are included - transfers, stadium development, physiotherapy and tactical editors. The game is shown in cartoon form, which is a real shame as the amount of options and realism within the actual management is spoilt and lost through the showing of these cartoon pictures. Showing a heavily cleavaged nurse as a physio, especially sporting a rather plastic uniform, is a bit out of hand as today's game is no longer purely a man's.

Final word

Compared to the likes of Player Manager 2 and On The Ball, Club and Country doesn't even get a look in. The football game industry is becoming increasingly popular once again and it's certainly not ging to be an easy task for anyone to better the management games that are dominating today's market. It isn't a bad effort, but one which will linger ground the bottom of the league, staring relegation in the face for a few seasons. it all boils down to lack of presentation. If you already have Player Manager 2 and On The Ball, Club and Country wouldn't be a bad purchase. If you're that football mad, you'll probably buy it anyway!

Club and Country logo

The latest simulation to get released has Nick Peers taking a mid-afternoon nap in his sheepskin jacket. It's tat boring.

Until Graham Taylor, every football-fan dreamed of being England's Manager. Now Leisuresoft have released Club and Country and you have the chance to make that dream a reality. Starting in the Third Division, rise through the ranks of league Managers until that phone-call from Bert Millichip and your career can start to slide as international Manager.

Club and Country brings no surprises to the football game. Detailed player and team statistics, all the tactical controls you need to turn your bunch of amateurs into international starlets and the usual mix of menus and options.

The only trouble is that Club and Country quickly reveals itself as a time-consuming bore. It'll take you three hours just to get through the first ten league games ina season. Realism is one thing, but I'm not waiting forever just to get a whiff of international glory.

Club and Country quickly reveals itself as a time-consuming bore.

It's a pity that Club and Country fails to excite because it has real potential. The tactical screens are particularly good - you hone each player individually, while creating complex tactics for the entire team. You're left with a real feeling that you could build a team to be proud of if you weren't so easily distracted.

You want to be on the edge of your seat come match-day, not making cups of coffee because virtually nothing happens on the match-screen. Just because you can substitute players and tactics at any time shouldn't mean that you have to stare at the same screen in complete boredom, waiting for that crucial moment when your intervention might be required.

If you can stay awake long enough, look out for the number of times your goalie fouls without conceding a penalty, or is tackled without letting in a goal. Not exactly realistic is it? There are also other annoying features which drag ig all down. It's enough viewing your own match without having to watch every other team's results flash by afterwards. And what is the point of putting you in charge of ticket prices and stadium building?

Club and Country is just one more football management game, and not a very good one at that.


Take a close look at the statistics for Club and Country. You'll notice a very strange hybrid of past, present and fiction lurking in there. The Divisions are three years out of date - Swindon are still in the Premiership, for example. The playes themselves vary from team to team - so while Blackburn can rely on the talents of Shearer and Sutton, 'lesser' teams are three years out of date. And what about this: Manchester United's Nicky Butt is considered their goalkeeper!

Club and Country logo

Mummy, the strange men scare me.

It's tense in the office, with the games section a gaping void, and THEN IT HAPPENS. "Hello," says the voice from Leisuresoft, "fancy reviewing a game for us?". Steve covers the mouthpiece of the phone, lets out a cry of joy (you'll find out why next month), and finalises the deal. The game's here next day.

Unfortunately, after finally finishing the rather fabulous SSF2 guide (even though Cam hid US Gold's instructions form me for two days leaving me to rely on nothing but pure gaming instinct and luck), I was the only one free to review it. Not that I'm getting more than a little bit suspicious or anything but is it just me or do I continually get most of the (now how should I put this>), er, average games?

Sir Jonathan of Nash gets to extol the virtues of first-class games or send the really poor ones to the FIERY PITS IN THE REALM OF THE UNDERLORD, Cam gets all the violent ones, and Steve, although suffering the odd bout of footie management game, is saved by his speedy acceptance of anything that looks remotely like a simulation. Hmm..

Still, I've played Club ("and" - Ed) Country, got annoyed by it, played it for another day and then reached my decision - it's not very good at all really.

As a footie management game it's got all the right bits in it, all the menus and stats are placed neatly in their own little sections and everything revolves around a main screen. Only, it's all just so slow, tedious, repetitive and downright slee-inducing.

The text is tiny and we had a hard enough time reading it on a monitor, what it would be like on a TV is anyone's guess, and it doesn't even (Grr) recognise a second drive. There's an annoying (and unskippable) run down of ALL RESULTS after you've played every match, and the match screen itself is mind-numbingly appalling, with no on-screen action for you to see and no way of gaining any knowledge on how the players are performing pas the occasional "Such and such is fouled" message.

The only indication you've got of hw good a player can be is by looking at the stats, trying him out and seeing what happens.

I'm completely unaffected by this game, and that's probably the nicest thing I can say about it. It's presented well enough to encourage you to wander around different sections once, but everything grates on my nerves, and the complete lack of action switched me off. I just don't care what happens to this.

Club and Country logo

Price: £19.99 Publisher: Leisuresoft Ltd 01604 768711

First imagine the number of hot diners that have been consumed in the history of the universe, then double it. The result is the number of football management games available on the Amiga. They regularly top the Amiga sales charts and the only rivals to their amazing popularity are football action games, or combines of the two, like the Player Manager series and SWOS.

Recently the genre has taken leaps and bounds with games like Ultimate Soccer Manager, and the On The Ball games from Ascon.

The question is, what separates this particular sim from the rest? Not much. This game looks and plays the same as a million others. There are some fairly nice cartoony graphics, and everything seems to run smoothly, and it doesn't offer anything in the speed stakes over other sims.

When compared to certain other management games the matches themselves look particularly bland. All you get is a monosyllabic commentary and a bar that slides to show how far the ball is down the pitch. It takes quite a while for the match, and there doesn't seem to be a way to speed it up.

The game does support a multi-player season, but I doubt anyone would enjoy playing a season of this rather than a scoot about on Super Skidmarks or a protracted slaughter session onf Gloom.

I also doubt if any of my friends would stay awake long enough to finish off a season. To be fair to Club and Country, it really should be compared to its contemporaries, but when On The Ball World Cup Edition is available on budget price, you don't really have to look any further.

However, this is probably a good way to introduce slightly younger players to the world of footy management, and if you really must have the latest management sim go ahead, but it will have to be a very rainy day before I 'boot' this up again.