LMA Manager 2001
Requires 15 memory blocks for a saved game.
Before the original LMA Manager, football management games on a console were pretty poor. They didn't allow for the limitations of the Playstation and at the same time didn't play to its strengths either. With LMA came a fantastic interface, that was designed for the gamepad and a fresh approach to console football management games that didn't make it look like a poor PC conversion like other attempts such as the Premier Manager games had been. LMA Manager 2001 has not really improved the interface of the original game but then again it didn't really need to. What it has done is improve the graphics somewhat, tidy up a few rough edges and generally hone the game that little bit closer to perfection.
You can choose to manage (In the full game and challenges) either team in the English league (Premier,1,2,3) or Scottish league (Premier,1,2,3). It would have been nice to have the Conference but it wasn't to be. There are 14 challenges ranging from winning the treble with 3 games left to winning 3 successive promotions from division 3 to the Premier in 3 seasons. The variety within the challenges is amazing and worthy of a game in its own right. The game settings are highly customizable and allow for everything to be turned off or on. This is especially welcome as features such as the highlights can become boring after the novelty wears off.
thumbnails for the big picture (thanks Richard for the pics)
If the stress of management gets too much, then most tasks can be delegated to your staff such as training and player contracts etc. However if you want to do all of this then you can. You can even do a bit of stadium improving if you have the money. The game has a range of 52 stadium styles to choose from so you're definitely spoiled for choice. The gameplay itself is very good with the players seeming to respond to your tactical decisions most of the time.The addition of scrolling team news and match scores whilst the data is loading is a brilliant one and helps avoid the tedium of waiting for data to load. A special mention must be given to the ease of comparing players. On your squad screen you click on a player and then click on another player. The second players stats (in bar form) are placed in outline form over the original player's stats. This simple but innovative idea give a clear and instant comparison of the two players.
The game is not perfect however and it does have its problems even though they are small. The wage budget can be ridiculously small when trying to hire staff. As manager of Liverpool I could afford to pay no more than £1,630 per week to a staff member. This was OK and probably about right. However as manager of West Brom I could only offer £10 (ten) per week. This was stupid when most of my staff was on £600+. Needless to say I couldn't afford anyone. There is no indication of which players are right or left footed. This would have been nice and added that extra bit of realism. It also would have been nice to be able to see the half-time scores or be able to bring up the scores during the match. Speaking of the match I found the action a little too manic (even without the fast option). It does not give you enough time to analyze the tactics of your side. An overhead scanner would also help in aiding your tactical decisions.
Even taking into account the niggles, LMA Manager 2001 is by far the best football management sim on a console. The nature of the game with everything being text based makes it perfect for the football loving deaf gamer. If you're into football games and you own a Playstation then LMA Manager 2001 really is a must.
Overall Game Rating: 9/10 The score says it all.
Quality of text: 10/10 Excellent. Everything is text based. What more could you ask.
Graphics: 8/10 Interface graphics are wonderful but match graphics could be a little better.
Interface: 9/10 Great. They couldn't have done much more with it. It's a delight.
Gameplay:9/10 There are few things wrong with LMA Manager 2001. It's one of those must buys for the original Playstation.