It's soccer management time again with a real gem of a game coming out on Mastertronic's posher budget label. Taking on the role of team manager you're in charge of your favourite team's progress from rock bottom in Division Four to the dizzy heights of Division One, a small matter of beating several other teams along the way sorts out the men from the boys. League cups, FA cups and European cups provide the footie challenge for 1 to 8 - would-be Brian Cloughs.
All the usual features associated with football management crop up in Advanced Soccer Simulator - player deals, fixtures, player injuries and away matches - but the financial side of things is a little weak by comparison with Football Manager. On the other hand the match tactics are as good as I've seen in any game, presentation is superb and the obligatory goalmouth highlights are great - even if they are in monochrome. All-in-all a well-above average management sim, with the added bonus of a multi-player option. Don't miss it.
Snurk! Get a load of this title. Funny or what? Right, had your giggle? If we can avoid the reference to an American slang term that describes a certain part of the anatomy, ASS is actually an acronym for Advanced Soccer Simulator. See? I don't know, you worry me sometimes.
ASS is another in the huge, seemingly endless line of football management titles that everybody is chucking out at the moment that do amazingly well, and it ain't bad at all.
As far as basics go, it's fairly normal. You have to manage a squad of at least 11 players and take them from the bottom of the fourth division to the top of the first. Along the way, you get to participate in all kinds of things like the FA and league cups, as well as the European one. This is all fairly basic. The great thing about ASS is that you can have up to eight players playing at once. Everybody takes turns to do their managerial thang.
The managerial objective consists of the usual options to buy or sell players, and load, save, or view teams, fixtures, scores and league tables. Your aim is to get as many good players as possible to play in your team. The way you can tell a good player is by checking his energy and skill, which are rated on a range of one to five. Of course, as you start at the bottom of the fourth division, you aren't going to get many five rated players.
Before each match, you are shown a comparative set of bars showing which of the teams has the advantage in which particular fields. The fields are Goalkeeper, Defence, Midfield, Attack, Energy, Experience, Goalscoring ability and overall skill. Once you've arranged your team in such a way that they are as good as they could possibly be, you go into the match. As with quite a few other titles, the match consists merely of a few goalmouth highlights. In ASS they are done pretty well; the ball animation is smooth and realistic, though I can never understand why the ball is bigger than the players.
ASS looks really nice overall; some thought has been put into the use of various typefaces and there are some really attractive screen layouts. Colour has been used fairly well, but unfortunately, the highlights are mono.
Overall verdict; it's great. As a single player football game it's real fun. It's not so hard as to be oppressive, but then again, it's no walkover. Played multiplayer, it's a great way of whiling away Sunday afternoons.
Author: Steven Hannah
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
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