Featuring the English national squad in a top-down soccer game, England Championship Special represents British publisher Grand Slam's attempt to cash in on both England's respectable semi-final entry at the 1990 World Cup and the popularity of Anco's acclaimed Kick Off series.
With its 1991 release, English Championship Special is somewhat awkwardly set in between the 1990 World Cup (England made the semi finals, its best result since 1966, then lost to Germany and to Italy in the third-place match) and the European Championship of 1992, to which the "Championship Special" part of the title refers. The squad composition is based on the 1991 status quo, which means you'll go into the Euro tournament with World Cup veterans such as Waddle, Beardsley and Wright, but without 1992 players like Alan Shearer or Alan Smith, infamous substitute to Gary Lineker in the Sweden match.
While Grand Slam got the England team and manager to officially endorse the game (thus having names and photos of 20 squad members from Robson to Gascoigne), they didn't buy the Euro Championship license. You'll be playing seven out of 22 European nations for the "Champions of Europe" title in a nondescript international tournament, from group matches to finals.
Mimicking Kick Off in style and perspective, European Championship Special is geared towards high-speed play at bottom-level complexity, with only one action key for kicks and slides and heads. No cards and hardly any penalties, primitive AI and straightforward gameplay make for goals galore, and the weather system turns out to be wind velocities only, which turns out don't affect the ball at all.
One of the most poorly designed and poorly conceived footie games ever made, England Football Championship has very little to recommend, except for the ability to take control of the full England squad -- but then again, so many other soccer games also feature that. The game's top-down perspective is very uninspiring... mostly because every player looks the same, and their huge, bloated heads makes it very hard to see what they're doing with the ball. Poor control scheme and an even poorer AI (who is usually a walkover most of the time) add to the below average quality. Only the most die-hard fan of the sport who must try every soccer game should even think about playing this Real Dog. Highly recommended-- that you never touch this game and play Dino Dini's classic Goal! instead :)
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