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New Football Manager is top of the league; Computer Games FOOTBALL MANAGER 2008 PC - pounds 24.99.

Byline: MARTIN SMITH

IN the tricky and roller-coaster world of top-flight football, mistakes and imperfections are quickly rooted out. Take note, Mark Clattenburg.

So it's no surprise that the virtuallyflawless Football Manager remains a class apart.

Yes, the grand-daddy of football management sims returned this week - complete with a new look, extra features, a new skin and wee bit of spit and polish.

Transforming Everton into an invincible outfit winning both the Premier League and the Champions' League (no sniggering at the back) is always a tasty - if time-consuming - challenge.

New features allow budgets to be balanced and altered, improved team talks and the ability to gauge fans' - and the board's - reactions to your career.

Rating FM is tricky. Obviously if you don't like football, then this game isn't for you.

But those with even the merest hint of interest in the beautiful game, then fire up FM and sit back and enjoy one of the games which will undoubtedly steal hours and hours of your life this winter. *****

SPIDER-MAN: FRIEND OR FOE Xbox 360 - pounds 39.99.

SPIDEY'S back ... again. This time, the best web-slinger in town is aided by friends as he travels around the globe, kicking butt.

After a long, long intro setting the scene, you finally get to grips with the bad guys. Strangely, some of these - Green Goblin and Venom to name but two - can be turned into good guys and fight alongside you. Hmmm.

This latest Spidey adventure does offer a totally new storyline, some healthy doses of comedy and entertaining cut-scenes.

And the two-player co-op feature is welcome - particularly for those who have yet to hook into the wonders of online gaming.

However, Friend or Foe is little more than a button-bashing beat-'em-up. The fight scenes are thoughtless and quickly become dull and repetitive while the excruciatingly bad camera angles make the gameplay awful.

Comic book and fans might enjoy this but, unless you're a big beat-'em fan, then this is probably one to avoid.

*******

COCOTO RACER Nintendo DS - pounds 24.99.

YET more crazy kart racing comes to the DS, as you get to play with Cocoto and his friends in a series of devilish races. The gaming premise is familiar - choose your character and then head out on to the track for either a Championship showdown, simple race, battle or time trial.

Wireless functionality adds an extra layer of competition to proceedings, but sadly this comes a poor second when compared with the best DS karting racers out there.

Not only don't you really care about the characters, but graphical polish and presentation seems to be lacking throughout. Little kids will lap it up for a while, but this is no long-term racing investment. ********

CAPTION(S):

TALKING TACTICS... Football Manager 2008 continues its winning run.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Coventry Newpapers
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 26, 2007
Words:464
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