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The original LMA Manager was released in late 1999 on the original PlayStation. It is a football (soccer) management sim and it is set in the 1999/2000 football season. It was one of the first football management sims to be created for a home console, instead of the PC. It allowed players to manager in any of the English football leagues. It was also one of the few football management games to use a 3D match engine.
Where as most football management games were made for the PC in mind, LMA Manager was built for the ground up for the original PlayStation. PC football management sims used a "Point 'n' Click
" control concept. This did not adapt well to the PlayStation especially since the original Dual Shock was not widely avalible and as such there were many analouge controllers to use the Point and Click style controls. So the game used a system of tabs. There were several main tabs the player could travel to using the L2 and R2 buttons (for example, moving from the transfers tab to the main squad tab). When said tabs are selected, a number a sub screens will appear and you can navigate these by using the L1 and R1 buttons (for example, in the main squad tab you can move from the squad selection, to the injuries, to the youth team and so on). These solved the problem of the lack of the Point and Click feature. The game was well recieved for its intuitive control scheme and was one of the big and popular features of the game which went on to start a annual franchise.
- Full Game: This was the main game mode. The player picked a team they wished to manage and try to go for glory. The player buys all the players and makes all of the tactical decisions and backroom work. This game mode starts at the pre-season friendlies stage.
- Quick Start: This was a more casual version of the full game. The player only handles the player purchasing and how they preform on the pitch but the backroom AI staff take care of the rest unlike the full game mode. This game mode starts after the pre-season friendlies stage.
- Challenge Mode: This is where the player takes control of a club in a pre set scenairo and has to achieve the correct goals, i.e. get control of a club mid way through a season who are in 1st place and must keep them there for the rest of the season.
In LMA Manager only the English leagues are playable, unlike the later games which lets you play with teams around Europe. Here are the playable leagues:
- English Premier League
- English Division One
- English Division Two
- English Division Three
LMA Manager was a hit. Its use of custom controls on a home console was never seen before. Its ease of use made it very accesible to football fans, who may have found other football management games too hardcore and complicated. The game was also noted for its cheats which made the game unrealistic but still very enjoyable. The game's 3D match engine and control system contributed to it;s critical acclaim. It was scored a 9/10 of the UK's Official PlayStation Magazine. Its use of licensed material was a new thing to the genre as well. Most management games, at that time, had non-licensed players who had made-up names. LMA Manager had all the big players of the '99/00 season in it and fully licensed. The game was so sucessful that it earned a sequel, named LMA Manager 2001 which was released a year later. LMA Manager set the bar for console football management games.