Championship Manager 01 / 02
I have a girlfriend. We get on well together. That is, apart from lately, it would seem. I just can't understand it. One day we were fine together, enjoying each others company, and taking pleasure in time spent together, next; bitterness and regret. What have I done wrong? It all began about a week ago, when I brought home the latest review copy of the new Championship Manager game. Needless to say, I was more than all little impressed by it, and wanting to provide the good readers of Ferrago with a complete and balanced perspective, thought a little gameplay outside office hours might be required. So here am, seven days and three seasons at the helm of Liverpool later, still testing this latest update out. But what is strange is that my girlfriend seems to view the game with utter contempt and hatred. I went shopping yesterday to get some beer to drink whilst playing Champ Man, as I left she screamed at me something about never listening to her, so naturally, I ignored her ranting and ran to the shop as quickly as possible; keen to return and resume my season.
Upon my return In was horrified to find her on the computer in the process of uninstalling Champ Man! Dragging her from the terminal she struggled, but ultimately she was overcome and I was able to resume my game. A close call! The things I do for your people…
Anyway, we haven't spoken since, but that's okay as I have my 'little men in the screen' to converse with, and I'm trying to get through a season every two days now. But I digress, back to the game.
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 fulfil 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 instalment 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 instalment, 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.