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Football management games should work well for handheld games consoles
where you don’t need the latest blisteringly fast graphics and physics
other games require. Not only that this is the sort of thing that
whiles away those long boring train journeys. Football Director DS
should appeal to football-mad commuters but needs some work.

The most surprising thing is that both Sega and EA haven’t ported their
successful games onto the DS and so it has been left to Pinnacle
to do the honours.

The game allows you to pick a club from any of the top four English
leagues (perhaps not so good if you are Scottish) and it is good to see
that the company has managed to get full naming rights (i.e. no Stephen
Jerrard’ in this game). The ratings of the players are pretty much on
the nose too.

And while you can’t lead any national squads or European ones, you can certainly have your club compete in the Champions league.

The squads are up to date as well as can be expected. Some players seem
to be missing though. While there is an edit mode in the game, this
only applies to player’s names, you can’t create a new player from
scratch or modify existing player stats.

{mospagebreak}The tutorial that comes wiht the game is good to run through to get a
good idea of what you can do and what the game is capable of.

The dashboard is where you get a good overview of what’s happening in
your team and in the league you compete in. Here you will get daily
bulletins on transfer news, cup draws, etc.

It’s then up to you to make your team selection, formation and tactics against your rivals.

Where were we slightly disappointed was with the matches. It seems a
bit old-fashioned to have the details as text-only. Heck, even Football
Manager on the Spectrum had some stick figures. That aside the match
reports are detailed enough to give you a reasonable idea of how things
went and pictures are better in your own head, so my doctor tells me.

The only drawback of details is the limited volcabulary. Players score
from corners but you don’t know if they have headed the ball or the
opposing teams defending was at fault.

After a while, you begin to notice that the match desriptions seem a
bit random at times and seem too much so trust them enough to make
judgements on what you should do with your team.

{mospagebreak}The sounds on the game are also a bit on the disappointing side. There
are a few and that’s about it. Some crowd cheering and whistle and
that’s about your lot.

In the transfer market an air of unreality seeped in. Many top-nothch
players suddenly emerged and some of them with wildly underpriced. OK 
so it’s only a game but there is only so much suspension of disbelief
you can make before you question how the game is going about its
business.

Sometimes you get prompts about a player wishing to discuss their
contract (i.e. ask for more money or just want to quit) but other times
you only find out about one of your players when you hear he is playing
for another team.

{mospagebreak}It is quite easy to win the league and we thought that the event would
be marked by something more than a dull grey screen telling you the
happy news.

It is hard to evulate if your team is doing well as only high-level
details seem to be available. Nothing you can drill down to find out a
bit more about how players are doing, just the basics.

The game feels too random at times to place trust in the game’s
dynamics, it just feel hit and miss most of the time. And if you are
used to PC-based games you may find it all a little too frustrating. It
barely stays above the relegation zone.

Rating: 6/10

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