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‘The Manager’ is a soccer simulation game that, although being excellent, unfortunately had much less popularity than ‘Championship Manager’. ‘Bundesliga Manager’, which is the equivalent German league game, is still being sold very successfully in Europe. The game has been much underrated mainly because it never got well known in general public. Could be a marketing flaw, but in my opinion it is definitely worth playing.
One of its strongest points is accurate statistics for players and clubs in the 1992/1993 English league. You play as manager of a 3rd division club at the beginning and your job is to lead the team up through the league tables and eventually reach the Premier league.
The game is a mixture of sports and simulation as you have to decide on the tactics for each match while taking care of contract negotiations with star players and sponsors, investing in stadium expansions and so on. Each team's strength is based on defence, midfield and attack, and they all have a rating from 1 to 100.
Each match is well animated with pictures of every important event that might occur. You can, of course, turn of the graphics if you tired of watching them and there are many other aspects you can control in the game so it can fit as you wish. As for sounds, don’t expect much, because you won’t get much. Controls are executed by using the mouse. It runs nicely in Windows (even XP) and through DOSBox (you may need to fine tune the settings).
Overall, with accurate statistics, excellent game engine, a solid gameplay, and plenty of nice little touches, ‘The Manager’ belongs to be in the very top of soccer simulators. It may not boast as much production value as ‘Championship Manager’, but if you are looking for a pleasant and entertaining game, it ranks up there with the best, so I vote it 5. Highly recommended!