Championship Manager : Season 01/02
by Eidos Interactive
Typical! You have the ultimate console at your disposal which can push more polygons per second than you can dream of and what game is the cream of the crop on this exquisite piece of technology? A game that relies solely on text, that's what. Of course this would be upsetting if it weren't for the fact that this game is Championship Manager, the Holy Grail of football management simulation.
So we finally have the great CM on a console. If like me you've played the game (can we really call this software that seems predict real events in football a game?) since it first came out around ten years ago, then you may be wondering how it feels without a mouse to navigate the interface. Well you can rest assured on this because Sports Interactive never do anything by halves and they have adopted the use of the gamepad wonderfully well. The right and left analogue sticks can be used to move the cursor and the directional pad can be used to move directly to the next clickable location. Unlike the PC version though you don't need to push the cursor everywhere to perform an action.
SI have given functions to certain buttons to make the interface navigation a breeze. Press the 'Y' button and you'll continue the game and move the time on or pause and restart during a match. Press the 'X' key to to access the news items. The right trigger scrolls down and the left trigger scrolls up. The 'Back' button rather logically will take you back to the previous screen and the 'Start' button will take you to the next screen. If you feel the need to control the game 'mouse style' you can use either of the analogue buttons and the 'A' button to perform the default options and the 'B' button to perform the right click actions that you would do in the PC version. The blue menu bar that is a permanent feature of the PC version can be called up at any time by pressing the 'Black' button and you can save your game, find players (for this feature, an onscreen keypad appears and you enter the name by clicking on the letters), access your squad and a whole host of other important actions from here. You will find yourself accustomed to the controls in no time. Brilliant work, SI.
Of course the game could only be made on the XBOX because of the console's working memory and hard drive. If you play a game with a single league then the save game is just over 8,000 memory blocks which doesn't even scratch the surface on the hard drive. Unlike the PC version you can only run 3 concurrent leagues out of the 26 on offer. The player database is also smaller than the PC version but to be honest this is hardly noticeable.
Everything is here from the PC version apart from the data editor. The ability to compare two players, scout the opposition, get embroiled in media hype and deal with players' moods etc have all been brought over from the PC version. In fact the only key difference I noticed is that when a team scores a goal the commentary does not flash. This is a good thing though as those that are affected by sudden flashes of light whilst playing console games need not worry about this with Championship Manager.
No problems here for deaf gamers. Exactly like the PC version in that it is totally text based. The font is also clearly legible regardless of the standard of your TV. Nothing more to say really.
What more can you say SI have taken the PC version of Championship Manager: Season 01/02 updated the data (very recent it is too) and superbly recreated all the drama and tension on the XBOX. There is something very satisfying in being able to relax on the sofa with a beverage and snack of your choice whilst deciding who is going to fill that troubled left back position that your team have. Yes you have a gamepad instead of a mouse but the gameplay is all too familiar and as a result just as excellent as it ever was and is.
Overall Game Rating: 9.5/10 The best game on the XBOX? If you are a football fan then the answer is definitely yes. If you're not a football fan then this is one game that might make you reconsider. Sports Interactive prove that once again gameplay does not necessarily have anything to do with breathtaking graphics as Championship Manager harnesses the power of the imagination, something no technology can compete with.
Deaf Gamers comment: Perfect.