Monday, 5 October 2009

Premier Manager series [Mega Drive] - the final word (maybe)

I wanted to give a bit of an overview about the Mega Drive Premier Manager games in comparison with the PC versions and other football management games of the time.

I was going to do a regular post on this, but I haven't uploaded a video in a while so decided to make a bit of a vlog type thing instead. The whole thing was recorded and edited together relatively quickly as a one-day project, so it isn't that in-depth, but briefly explains what I was going to put into words anyway.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Premier Manager [Mega Drive, 1995] quick hints

Premier Manager for the Mega Drive can be an exceedingly difficult game, so you'll need all the help you can get as you attempt to bring your squad from Division Three also-rans to Premier League contenders. Here's a few quick hints which will also work on the 97 version, and possibly the Windows/DOS version.

Some general notes

The instruction manual talks about shooting distance quite a bit, explaining that the better players will be able to score from further away. However, you have to take into account the relative skill level of the opposition, which, apart from the cup ties, is likely to be round about the same as you. Unless you're up against an absolute donkey of a goalkeeper you'll be pretty lucky to hit the net from anywhere outside the penalty area. I don't recommend long range shooting as a general tactic - I usually get more success from medium.

One thing that's always annoyed me slightly about the Premier Manager series is the skill ratings indication system, where a level out of 100 and a written form like 'V Good *****' (see screengrab below) are interchangeable. This is most annoying when employing staff - their percentage stat isn't available, which can result in you having to consult the manual every ten minutes to try and find out whether 'outstanding' is better than 'exceptional'. Here's a better way of ascertaining staff skill: look at their wages. Generally, at the very toppermost level, just over £1,800 is the best you can get.

This will sound incredibly obvious, but... the best way to keep players' morale up is to win: if you're steamrollering everything in your path, then even subs and reserve players will benefit. It does make a world of difference to your performance, especially in a 50:50 match situation.

Coaches/Youth team

Once you're in the Premier League, you'll get access to the better youth team coaches. This will allow you to bring in higher quality players from the youth academy - think 18 year olds with skill ratings of 75+ when they are promoted to senior level. With a good team of coaches (check the Job Centre each month when the sponsorship deals come up for renewal), these can be trained up to 99 within a few years, and are slightly more financially beneficial than bringing in new blood via the transfer market.

For the reason outlined above, I don't recommend using the transfer market unless you really need to. Players are pretty much always overpriced, and that's before you take into account their wages, which can cost you a bomb. Invest in youth - it may take a bit longer but will be better in the long term. Of course, if time is of the essence, then you may have no choice but to buy. This might require selling two of your existing players, which is always a bit of a risk, but one you may have to take.

Note: Look out for the youth players named after members of the programming team such as Atkinson, Lister and Casson. They aren't necessarily any better than any of the others, but it is curious that programmers succumb to vanity: see International Cricket Captain etc.

Stadium and sponsorship

The higher a stand's capacity, the more sponsorship offers you are likely to get for it. Building covering will also allow you to have more hoardings on that stand. If you feel so inclined, take your time when selecting sponsors to ensure you're filling all the space available on the hoardings: in particular, look for Pay Per Week deals.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Status update: what's going on at RY Towers

Don't worry, I haven't died.. well not yet, anyway. I'm currently playing Premier Manager to death, seeing if I can create a team with completely maxed out stats. Dunno if it's possible, as if it's any similar to International Cricket Captain (the original one) I'll most likely be forced to retire after about 20 seasons, scuppering my attempts!

Elsewhere, I managed to pick up a few Mega Drive games for a quid each from the boot sale on Sunday, but I haven't had time to test them out yet. When I do, perhaps we shall have some more guerrilla reviews, hopefully of higher quality this time.

Just another quick shout out for the YouTube channel, where I intend to upload a couple of non-review vids at some point in the future. Should I get time, it would be nice to create a few more lo-tech, cheaply and easily made vids that don't require massive amounts of editing or fiddling around with. Watch out for those, and keep an eye out for more vids.