LMA Manager 2002 on PS2
LMA Manager 2002 Review On PS2

Football management is possibly one of the most stressful occupations you can get into. (Apart from women of course, no-one will ever know what happens in their heads.) You have to pay twenty or more players over inflated wages, if they don't perform you're the poor guy that gets shot down in flames by the media.

Codemasters thought it would be a good idea to make the profession into a computer game. Fortunately you don't get fired if you fail in the game, although you won't be seen by you friends for weeks on end.

OK, the point I'm trying to make is that these games take up a serious amount of social time and they should probably have a health warning on the box ( Sven didn't manage to pull Ulrika (ka ka) by sitting in his bedroom twiddling with his joystick!).

LMA Manager 2002 on PS2 available @ www.contactmusic.com
About the game, LMA Manager 2002 founded a very large audience when it appeared on the PSone. Now it's making its debut on the PS2 with not just the British league but also the main European Leagues (along for the ride). When you start the game you pick your team then you get thrown in to the deep and dark world of football management. With the inclusion of European leagues and squads LMA is a comprehensive football management sim.

All the regular parts of a football management sim are hear; allowing you to change tactics, formations, team members, training, buying and selling players on the transfer market. All of these aspects do actually make a difference in the match which is not always instantly apparent in others football sims.

If you would like to play the formation and tactics that the French team used to win the World Cup in 1998 you can, there is a comprehensive list of classic squads from various years dating back at least 40 years. This is a fantastic feature that works very well within the game. Plus if you are a Liverpool supporter for example, you can see what tactics they used in the 70's. Very interesting!

The detail in the financial section of the game goes right down to the advertising hoarding around the side or the pitch. Being clever with your cash is a vital part of the game. You should create a good relationship with your board of directors and maybe you will be able to get some extra funds from them. A good idea is not to go out and pay a fortune for players who will only play when they feel like it. This will not please the directors.

Another nice touch is the match day. You can either opt to skip the match or you may watch your team with baited breath. The stadium and the players look pretty good too. The match is speeded up so you only spend about five minutes watching the game although it's pretty entertaining. Especially when your player gets taken down the box, you are usually rewarded with a penalty kick.

The player models have great animation when tackling and taking on other players. This feature actually has a good use in the game. You can see how your team is forming up and who's not playing at their best. If you're not happy with how the match is going you are able to shout at the players from the side line using a handy menu. You can tell your players a variety of different commands such as; Keep the ball, Long ball, Defend, Substitution etc. This works well but don't shout a load of different commands as the players will get confused and nothing you say will help. The feature also has another use, at the end of the game there is a highlights option, this will select the best parts of the game while Garry Lineker and Alan Hansen talk you through it.

The only let down with this feature is the crowd; they never really make a rousing noise, just dull roars and mumbled talking.

The only problem LMA has; is that the controls are slightly fiddly when you first start playing. Although once you have got used to the system you will not look back.

LMA has bucket loads of depth, but if you are expecting the kind of depth available in Championship Manager you had better buy a PC.

As for consoles, especially the PS2, there is currently no competition. Championship Manger has more depth than LMA but exists only on the Xbox.

CM is a hardcore footy management simulation. (see review)

LMA on the other hand, excels because it's a perfect balance of fun and depth.

8.5

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LMA Manager 2002 on PS2 available to buy @ www.contactmusic.com  
Price:£34.99
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