FA Premier League Football Manager 99, better known as the sequel to FIFA Soccer Manager. It's EA Sports' second attempt to create the best soccer management game, and somehow they manage.

What's the most important aspect in a soccer management game? It's surely the gameplay. That which made the Championship Manager series successful as they are now. FA Premier League Football Manager 99 is most probably the most detailed and realistic game of this genre. The feautes are mainly split in two parts; The Buisness Section and the Coaching Section. Both excel in details.

From the coaching section you can control anything which has to do with your players, with your team and with the transfers. You can also change the tactics, give out detailed team orders such as to play on the break or to use the offside trap.

The transfer market is one of the most realistic I've ever seen. You can't just look for the best Striker in the world and buy him. First you'll need to find a player you think is good. Then to make sure he's doing well in his team you can view his performance in the current season. If you want to go further, then you'll have to assign a scout so that he'll research the player and after some days (depending on where the player plays) he'll give an assesment mark for his stats. Of course the scout won't work for free, so you'll have to keep his mouth shut with some thousands of pounds. Then if you're satisfied with what the scout found, you'll be able to contact the team and if they accept, you and the player must agree on the contract length and on the weekly wages. The whole transfer might take about a month to finish. It's surely much improved from the one that FIFA Soccer Manager used.

The buisness section is in a way a complete new thing over FIFA Soccer Manager. The features that FIFA Soccer Manager had, such as stadium building and maintanance were highly improved. Now everything is in a more realistic way and everything is more complicated than before.

For example taking out a loan of 5,000,000 pounds won't take a second just like in FIFA Soccer Manager. Now first you'll have to apply for the loan, let's say 5,000,000 pounds. Then after a week you'll begin to receive emails from the major banks. Some of them might accept to give you the loan under cerain circumstances and interest fees, and others might decline the deal.

There is also the addition of sponsors, which obviously offer more money if you're doing well in your season.

The Building section has been expanded so much that it's nearly another game by itself, playing with the buildings and the development of the stadium. Now apart for upgrading the stands and the roofs you can also build Hotels, Training Centers, Swimming Pools, Medical Clinics, Restaurants, and much more outside the stadium building to attract more fans or to help with the improvement of your players. That's not all. You will be able to install pitch covers, drainange systems, sprinklers, etc on your pitch to prevent from injures or cancelled matches due to frost or a high ammount of water on the pitch.

The Gameplay is probably the best among the other soccer management games, but there's no doubt that the graphics are the best. It uses a modified FIFA 98 graphics engine and takes advantage of the best 3D Fx cards. The moves are as usual motion captured by David Ginola, which makes FA Premier League Football Manager 99 the second game which uses a motion captured engine after FIFA Soccer Manager.

There are 4 cameras in the game. All of them are from the sideline but at different altitudes and sides. Then with the F5 button you have the option to stop the camera from moving with the ball. This feature is useful in free kicks and corner kicks, where your eyes need to concentrate where the ball is.

It's a pity there is no multiplayer option, neither on the same PC. It was a much requested feature, and it would have made the game much more fun to play against friends. At least EA Sports included the option to be able to apply to manage other teams from the Spanish, German, Italian, English and Scottish Leagues. That makes the game more fun since when you're tired of your team you can quit and search for adventures somewhere else in Europe.

Of course, in every game there's also some disappointing things which are either left out or lack detail. Probably FA Premier League Football Manager 99 doesn't lack much details except some small things are almost in every game of this genre. There's no Top Scorers Tables, for example. Even though there are tables of the Top Managers, Top Clubs and Top Players, the Top Scorers Tables are one of the most important. Then there's no Man of the Match Award. This feature was even in FIFA Soccer Manager, but for some reason not in FA Premier League Football Manager 99.


Pros
Full of Details and Options
Totally Realistic
Fun to manage and watch the match
Spectacular Graphics
Lasts Long

Cons
Needs a Very Good PC...
...And without a 3D Card you won't see much
No Multiplayer
Lacks some small details


Verdict: Probably the Best Soccer Management Game out there. A Must buy for everyone who likes Soccer Management Games. But make sure you have a very Good PC and a 3D Fx Card. Else you'll be disappointed.