Double, The
Copyright/Publisher: Peter C Martin/Scanatron, Created By: Peter C Martin,
Release Year: 1987, Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1

In The Double you take the role of a football manager, at the beginning of his contract with a third division team. From this lowly position the player has to become as successful as possible, either by building up his team and winning promotion or by becoming manager of one of the top first division clubs.

The program encompasses many aspects of a manager's job and the player has to select the team for each match played, make administrative and financial decisions including transfers, crowd control and staff wages. A system of menus and sub-menus is used to make the selections.

This also allows the player to view statistics including the league tables, fixtures and results for all three divisions, current team selected, injury and scout reports and the financial situation of the club.

When the team has been picked and the rest of the week's business sorted out, you can watch a simulation of its fixtures (or select another fixture if you wish to see how other teams are faring). The match is played over a scrolling pitch and takes about fifteen minutes to play.

All twenty-two players play an active part in the game and there is a running commentary to tell you who's 'on the ball'. When the match has finished, the results and attendance figures for each of the day's matches are printed out, and the program returns to the main menu where the week's decisions and problems can be tackled afresh.

This all looks fine on paper, but unfortunelately The Double has a rather large block over which it stumbles and falls - the speed at which it operates. The program is so slow at making decisions it's ridiculous. For example, when you've selected your team, the program selects eleven players for each of the other teams in the league, taking about a second or so to select each.

Next comes the match itself, and this is snail city. Twenty-two inept and badly deformed UDG players wearing lead boots shuffle over a crudely drawn pitch seemingly covered in tar. The screen takes about half a second to update and it's difficult not to turn off the Commodore when you realise you've got to sit through fifteen minutes of this travesty.

Luckily you can opt to go straight through to the results screen without having the torture of sitting through a mtch, but there' little consolation when you find out it takes ten seconds to print out one ruddy result. That makes a grand totbal of seven minutes waiting time until all results are sorted through, and that doesn't include the unnecessarily long attendance list which us printed out afterwards.

After sitting through this tortouos rigmarole twice, I felt an incredibly strong urge to put my foot through the TV screen. It's a bit of a shame really because if it wasn't for the unbelievably slow speed I'd thorougly recommend the program - there are loads of options and just about all aspects of the managerial role have been included.

However, the sluggish speed clinically removes every last ounce of enjoyment, making it incredibnly tedious and frustrating to play. If you want a good strategy game then buy Football Manager, it's several leagues above this.