Championship Manager 01 / 02 marks the latest and final update to the Championship Manager 3 engine, and at the time of going to press has already broken UK PC game sales records, shifting well over 100,000 copies within a day or two of launch. It's quite popular then, and on face value it is quite hard to see why. Naturally, the game does boast a startlingly accurate array of teams, players and competitions from the best leagues and competitions of world football. Yes, it does allow every man to fulfill his boyhood dream of controlling a football club down to the most intricate details of training, signing, tactics, injuries, and finance. But at the end of the day, Champ Man is still just a collection of statistics and results.
Yet it is from this anal accountancy-style attention to the hard facts and figures that make the game the joy it is to play; for underneath the coldness of the database lies the true essence of Football. Never has a game captured the thrills and spills of the real thing so accurately as in this case, it's just so damn believable, and ultimately addictive and fun.
Because football is fun, and when you're in control the tactical wizardry, signing of new players and day to day squad management prove even more intriguing than watching the match. Though the result is always paramount. It is the truth in this that lies behind why Championship Manager is the success it is. This is game of Chess-ethics, where visual wonders are irrelevant and base compared to the higher-plane of the mental work-out.
So what's this latest installment got going for it other than the previously mentioned realism and cunning of the gameplay? Well, firstly, the commentary is far less repetitive and much better written during matches, the news and information reporting system is more comprehensive and useful, the club / player data is accurate up to October when the was completed, and Sports Interactive have added some more nice background photos.
All of which leaves CM 01 / 02 fit for the new season and an essential edition to any footie fans gaming collection. With the next installment, CM4, Sports Interactive are promising support for multiplayer gaming, and possibly, a tactical view of players during the match... I look forward to this with drooling impatience. In the meantime, I'm off to continue Liverpool's season of destiny, the European Cup is within my grasp, I urge you to do the same, for Championship Manager is simply the best football management simulation ever.
The latest version of the greatest football management game ever is now here on the PC. Season 01/02 is based on the CM3 engine, and will be the latest update until the completely new CM4. It contains all the updates to CM3 that patches and the previous update version Season 00/01 brought, plus some new ones of it's own that I will talk about later. I would first like to remind you that this is not an add-on pack for CM3 or CM00/01, but another new version.
Now, a lot of you out there probably like football, but many of you don't, and I would like to warn you that this is a football-fans-only game. You don't need to be any sort of dedicated fan, just someone who likes the game in some way or another. Football haters will probably not enjoy this game, but may find if worth a try due to the fun it offers.
Anyway, on the game - it consists of thousands of screens of precise football data that can be used to make you the ultimate football manager. As expected, you lead a team from one of 26 nations (each with more than one league), and guide the team to the top. Whether this be the Premiership, Serie B Promotion, or Champions League victory, it's your choice, and you can make any team go all the way if you're good enough. You can play for as long as you like, and watch teams change stadium, managers, and staff, predicted from real-life situations.
The game does not feature a graphics engine at all. Instead, the games are played with flashing commentary. This isn't a bad point, however, as games using a graphics engine for the games have tended to be poor, and this feature in Champ Man has always worked fine for many.
As previously, the game features pictures behind the menus, but for the first time, they are not of the clubs the stats are about. This is due to Sports Interactive getting sued by an unnamed Football Association over the data being used in Championship Manager: Season 00/01. So, you get pics of the SI team and pics licensed from their local club, Manchester City. However, the game comes with a picture editor allowing you to add your own pics in the game, so you can make it what you like. Also, you could always copy the pics from a previous CM3 version into the CM01/02 pics directory and get back what you lost. It's not Sports Interactive's fault, so we cannot fault them for this.
The sounds are pretty good in game, with cheers from the crowd when you score, but not having a graphics engine could have been made up with full commentary. But then, decent in-game commentary has yet to appear in a computer game.
The gameplay in Champ Man has not been beaten. It offers so much depth that you don't know where to start. All the vital statistics that complete the game are there are can be used by you to buy the best players around.
Championship Manager: Season 01/02 is a game you'll come back to again and again. Even after this review I will continue to play this game, and improve my team's performance, and the inclusion of the player editor allows you to create your own teams and take them to the top. Put yourself into the game, your family, your colleagues, your pets, put their pics in with the picture editor and you have a game that offers limitless lifespan as well as self-customization. This is football heaven.
People who downloaded Championship Manager: Season 01/02 have also downloaded:
Championship Manager: Season 00/01, Championship Manager: Season 03/04, Championship Manager: Season 99/00, Championship Manager 97/98, Championship Manager 4, Championship Manager 2, Championship Manager 96/97, Championship Manager 1
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