Championship Manager : Season 01/02
by Eidos Interactive
The waiting is finally over, the new season for virtual football managers has begun. The excitement with which every release of a Championship Manager game is greeted grows with every new release. Every year there are other football management games that come out, last a few weeks in the charts and plop into the bargain bucket. Championship Manager is different though as it remains at No.1 for weeks and remains in the top ten until the next version. The reason for its success is simple, it is as real as any game will get. Spot a new footballing star in a game of Championship Manager and it is almost a certainty that in real life that player will also become a star. Neil Lennon was an example of this in his days at Crewe (in CM2) and so is Saviola who has been a sensation for the last couple of years in the world of Championship Manager and after signing for Barcelona this summer he is now doing great things in real life. In one of the earlier incarnations of the game, Season 99/00 (I think), Pires signed for Arsenal almost every time and guess what in real life he goes and signs for Arsenal. It is this ability to second guess the real football world that has made people take notice of Championship Manager.
So what's new with this last update of the Championship Manager 3 game engine. Well for starters there is attribute masking or, as it is commonly known, the fog of war. What this does is hides player attributes that the game thinks you would not know if you were in a real managerial situation. You may, whilst playing as a manager of an English team, look at an Italian Serie B defender for instance and find that all of his statistics/attributes are missing. If you send a scout to watch the player then you will eventually find out his attributes. However as with everything in the world of Championship Manager everything relies on something else and the statistics you see will only be as good as the scout's ability to judge the player. What attribute masking does is to make you use your scouts in a more realistic way. Speaking of scouts, you can now scout the opposition. The scout informs you of the preferred formation of the opposition and he also tells you which player is likely to be a threat.
The second significant difference in this version is the adoption of the new transfer regulations. You are introduced to the new regulations by a series of messages that give you all the details of the changes to take place as the game typically starts in July and the new rules do not come into effect until the 1st of September. The game has implemented the new rules well and does not leave the user with any questions at all.
Media and player interaction have also been stepped up in this update. Whilst managing Coventry, I had a problem with a Youssef Safri. He was homesick and when something like this occurs you now have the option to give the player a leave of absence. Whilst absent the player's agent announced he would not return to the club. Eventually the player decided to return to the club, However all was not well, as certain players were upset by this and did not want to play alongside him. The Chairman also stated that he thought the player had no right to be in the squad. You just don't get this kind of interaction and atmosphere with other games.
The match commentary has been improved since the last version. You are now told when your team has survived pressure from your opponents attack as well as which player is doing the business for you etc. You may be told that 'Gerrard is spraying the ball all over the pitch' or 'Ferguson is winning everything in the air today' it may not sound too much but it gives you an improved mental picture of the game.
Additional new features include the ability to compare two players. This feature shows who is better, and by how much, in each attribute. Again this seems like a small addition but it is especially useful if you can't decide between two players. You can also make notes on a player now. These notes can be for any purpose you wish. You can also set reminders as well so if you playing against a side and their midfielder is impressing you can make a note to keep an eye on him and have a reminder pop up as a news item at a time of your choosing.
The Data Editor has also been improved. It is now even easier to change any data should you feel that one of your favourite players has been rated wrongly. A new hidden feature is the ability to change the font within the game to one of your choosing. If you goto the C:\Program Files\Championship Manager 01-02\Data directory and create a folder called 'fonts' (without the quotes) you can place any TrueType fonts in there that you like. When you next go into the game goto game settings and when you choose your font the new ones will be there. This will enable you to view all the game's data in your preferred font.
As with all Championship Manager games everything is text based and as a result is perfect for deaf gamers. The game is a significant improvement on last years edition and will keep you addicted until Championship Manager 4 hits the shelf sometime in the latter part of 2002.
Overall Game Rating: 9.6/10 The ultimate football management game.
Quality of text: 10/10 The game is completely text based.
Graphics: NR It would be unfair to rate Championship Manager for graphics because it is 100% text based.
Visual Presentation: 9/10 Very good. The layout of information is very easy on the eye. Menus and messages all have the selected choices highlighted. All text is clear and easy to read.
Interface:10/10 An example to the gaming world of what a gaming interface can be.
Gameplay:9.5/10 Almost perfect, as close as you are going to get anyway until CM4 comes out next year.