Talk about a bit of unfortunate timing! Kenny Dalglish Soccer Manager manages to appear after Georgie Graham's boys successfully win the league in the most dramatic way ever. In fact, I bet ol' Kenny's a bit sick.
Which goes some way to maybe explaining why Kenny's game seems a little bit lacking in enthusiasm and action. Well, I'll be honest, it's pretty poor. If this is the way that Kenny manages his boys, then it's a wonder they're as good as they are.
Unusual for this type of game, KDSM is fully icon controlled, and not your ordinary little monochrome icons either. These are large colourful portraits, designed to let you know exactly what it is you're selecting. For example, on the screen where you talk to members of the board, everybody is drawn in stereotype. The chairman is a fat, balding man with a tie and a serious expression. Your scout is a lovable chirpy cokney with a flat cap, and your accountant is a short jewish guy with glasses (well, mine is?)
Players are presented by name, position and ability. Ability is a score between 1 and 99, the higher the better. An average is worked out of the eleven players picked and this tells you how good your team is. A good score for a fourth division team is 50. It's interesting that you are never offered players with a score over 45 when buying from the transfer market (you get a choice of two players between every match by your scout), which basically means that it's impossible to get an average of more than 45.
The graphics are pretty hot throughout most of this game. As I've said, all the icons are large and very colourful and the backdrops are great too. The only thing I don't like in the entire game is the animated bit. As with almost every commercial football game at the moment (by commercial I mean non-mail order) you have the option to see highlights of the match. This consists of a monochrome view of the goalmouth with lots of large badly animated characters running around slowly. A ball jerks about the screen before curling past the goalie and bouncing into the back of the net. The crowd must have a pretty boring time as all the goals are scored the same way!
This game is only spoiled by the fact that it's rather repetitive. There seems to be no variety at all. You don't really have that much control over what happens. The simplicity of the game is probably to blame. While other games list a player's stamina, speed or shooting rating, all you get with KDSM is one measley ability rating, so you just don't feel like you're really getting involved. While the icon-control and playback features are worthwhile, a far greater sense of involvement would have been achieved had the players been endowed with more diverse or detailed attributes. Kenny Dalglish Soccer Manager could have been a good game, if it wasn't for the fact that there isn't much of a game in it. Nice piccys though.
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
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