Rock Manager

Rock Manager is yet another one of those value-priced business sims. As the title suggests, you become a “rock manager†and must tackle nine challenging scenarios to complete the game. The goal of most of them is to manage, produce, and promote an up-and-coming rock band. As you can imagine, this is no easy task. Try dealing with a club that thinks your band’s sound is “too anarchistic and loud,†or coping with a TV network that won’t give you the time of day.

7_1At the start of the game, you “audition†potential band members, pick a name, and spend cash to license some music before hitting the recording studio. Once there, the songs can be recorded and tweaked using the mixing board, and then saved for future reference. This feature is a welcome bonus: you’ll undoubtedly enjoy playing around with the separate tracks to create your own masterpiece. Speaking of which, the music in the game — which includes about 20 original pop, rock, punk, and metal tracks — is actually pretty good.

With contract in hand, it’s time to create an album cover and support the CD by schmoozing with radio stations, playing gigs, and even sending gifts to music magazines. One of the game’s hardest missions involves helping the aging band “Firewolf†plan a comeback tour before retiring; problem is, these middle-aged burnouts like their drink too much. Another scenario is to help two brothers put aside their differences to record the song “Supermarket Love†and make it a hit.

Though it’s a refreshing twist on the business sim genre, Rock Manager does have a few minor problems that could’ve easily been fixed. Technically speaking, while the game doesn’t require much hard-drive space, all the audio clips must be loaded off the CD — meaning an inevitable delay every time someone says something. On the gameplay front, some accuracy is thrown out the window when an independent band charges $120 per person at their first gig. Lastly, this isn’t a game that will win many awards for having cutting edge graphics.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win95

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