There are many football fans who would like to take issue with the title of this game. No doubt Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United fans will be reasonably happy with the tactics of their respective managers but the majority of us are left to ponder the gaffer's idiosyncratic team selections and tactics. I've got words to say to Howard Wilkinson - Eric and Cantona. Doh!
Do I not...
Tactical Manager has been around in various guises for some time now. Originally called Football Tactician, it built up a solid following through mail order sales and has now been re-written, revised and packaged for general sale.
But does the market really have room for yet another football management simulation?
The top 30 games chart in May had four footie sim entries and one must wonder how much more you an actually do with the point and click football stats medium.
Well, for a start you can add even more statistics.
Black Legend are releasing four versions of the game: English League (Premiership and First Division), Italian Serie A and B, Scotland and German Bundesliga. This version contains all the Premierships and First Division teams.
Unfortunately, you can't walk straight inot a top job - you start with a rating of three and you can only get past with a team of the same rating or less which basically means donning the managerial shell suit at any First Division club, apart from Crystal Palace.
There is a fair amount of information to digest and out of all the sims available, Tactical Manager is the most text-
All the usual management options are here including piles of players stats, access to all the info at other clubs, transfer markets and a useful editing system, whereby you can update names and stats as and when they change.
Player profiles are a tad random (Paul Ince hasn't got one though lesser stars have) and some of the info is rather odd - Leeds' Gary Kelly earns more money than teammate Gary Speed here. If you're a popular chap, it's possible to have up to 46 players on the go at once.
Although the information is quite detailed, Tactical Manager is well-designed, easy to play and runs at a decent speed. The matches can be watched as a series of comments, highlight comments or just as goals. A marker on the pitch enables you to see where the ball is during play.
Strategy and tactics are based on a number of styles such as Sweeper System, Through Balls, Rough Playing and Heavy Marking. They take a while to get the hang of but you basically find a system to suit the strengths of your team and adjust them depending on your opponents.
Tactical Manager is probably the most detailed management sim around. There are enough stats and options to suit the anorak-