Forget Pop Idol and Popstars, Rock Manager from PAN Interactive is where the band of tomorrow is - at least on your PC anyway.


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You start by picking the members that you want in your group, their name, and the song that they're going to perform, so you could quite easily make up your virtual band with members who are similar to a Myleene, Gareth or Will - or maybe even someone with a bit of talent.

Although, you'll soon realise that making the dream star or band isn't quite all glitz and glamour, as you're put in at the deep end and having to deal with stressy untalented singers, guitarists who want to be drummers, drummers who hate the lead vocalist, and generally stroppy little gits who don't get on with each other.


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It's then off to the recording studios, which range from a small studio with not many features and poor quality recordings but the history of previous bands and a cosy atmosphere, or maybe you could go for the big recording studio, which costs more to use, and the band members don't feel as home in, but the final recording is much more pleasing to the ear, and that of the record company that you're trying to get a deal from.

Just you'll face patronising big companies who like the sound but don't think it's quite their market, or bedroom based record companies who don't think it's rock and roll enough for them, and they won't hold back with their critical comments either.


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Once you finally do strike the right balance, you'll be on the route to your millions, if you can bribe the media, give freebies to the local radio station, get your CD in the local music shops, arrange live gigs and all whilst keeping your band members happy - a tricky task, to say the least.

To keep your group members happy, you can buy them gifts, from bottles of beer to hockey tickets, flowers to a holiday, a games console and loads of other tempting goodies - of course, they all react differently and you've got to be careful that you don't offend them by giving a gift they won't like, or upsetting the other band members by giving some lots of presents and others none.


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As you progress through Rock Manager, you're given tougher scenarios to complete (eight in total), including a totally talentless girl who can't sing to save her life (hmm, wonder who she might be based on?), but her father wants his sweet little darling to get chart success, and is prepared to pay top whack to get her there - he's got some dodgy associates to remind you of his corrupt money driven power too.

Rock Manager might not be the PC title with the most lastability, but it's got a good balance of management related tasks without getting in to the boring football manager style dullness. Packed full of tounge-in-cheek humour that will keep you smiling, and bound to be a "hit" with gamers who like their music or think they could tell Pop Idol's Simon Cowell a thing or two about band management.

Overall score: 7 out of 10
Publisher: Mindscape
Players: 1
Recommended Price: 29.99
Available: Now
Buy Rock Manager for the PC from Amazon