This may be a bit shorter than my usual posts – that’s simply because there’s not much you can write about something so painfully lacking in content.
Giant Killers was the only football management sim on the Dreamcast. Released in May 2001, several months after Sega announced that they were discontinuing the DC and quitting the hardware market altogether, it is now one of the more sought after releases for those looking to complete a PAL DC collection.
An adaptation of a series that had built up several releases on the PC, GK positioned itself as a less involved, more immediate alternative to the likes of Championship Manager. This simplicity seemed like it would make for a pretty straighforward transfer onto a console. This simplicity is also what destroys it as anything resembling a satisfying experience.
Even by the standards of the time, GK is unbelievably basic compared to the likes of LMA Manager on the PlayStation or Player Manager ’99 on the N64. It is more comparable to O’Leary Manager 2000 on the Game Boy Color. The bloody GAME. BOY. COLOR!
Those nine TV-screen looking icons up there… they’re ALL of your options.
Every single thing you can do in the game… bar the vidiprinter-esque screen that appears during matches. Just use the triggers to flick through them in turn.
From left to right:
TRAINING – Even then, if you choose the easy option (I’ll get onto the difficulty settings) the training is automated therefore the icon is blanked out!
The X and Y buttons can be used to switch between screens but you’ll still see no more than two dozen or so sub-menus in the entire game.
The first menu you can really make any kind of decisions on is the transfers. Your kitty is decided by the initial difficulty – easy gives you and only you a £25million windfall, medium awards this to all 92 clubs and hard lumps you with the default budget, which for all but about half a dozen teams is the square root of bugger all.
The lesson here is not to be lured in by big names – chances are they might very well be useless. I made this mistake in buying Eidur Gudjohnsen and Freddie Ljungberg for Wrexham – their ratings were barely any better than those players in my initial starting XI.
It’s entirely about percentages and this goes equally well in regards to formation. Just keep flicking through them until you work out which one scores highest and stick with it. No tweaks, no thinking about little things like balance or team chemistry. In Giant Killers, matches ARE won on paper.
I’ll admit that it can be fun to take a team from the lower divisions and get them to challenge for the Premier League title, especially on a higher difficulty. But the illusion is soon broken when you release that the only reason why you’re in the shake up is that Emile Heskey has scored 35 goals in one season and Clint Hill has become the best defender in the world.