Championship Manager

Title           Championship Manager
Game Type       Sport
Publisher       Domark, 1992
Players         1
Compatibility   All
HD Installable  Yes
Submission      Martin Smith Profiled Reviewer

Managing a football (soccer) team may not seem like the most interesting
idea for a game, but the genre has been popular for 20 years now. Football
management games offer a degree of control beyond any action game, with
the chance to guide every aspect of your favourite club, and lead them to
success that can't happen in the real world of Roman Abramovic, MK Dons
and Roonaldo. Since 1992 Leeds have risen and fallen, Fulham risen from
the bottom of the league to the top, Oldham gone the other way, and
millions of people have locked themselves in their rooms playing various
Championship Manager incarnations.

The distinguishing feature of this one is the huge amount of statistical
data stored. Every player has 10 ability attributes, rated from 1 to 20,
including passing, tackling and heading, as well as position and
personality data. Player performances in every competitive match are rated
out of 10 and stored for posterity. This was widely regarded as‘realistic’
and‘strategic, which seems like a strange understanding of real sport
(or indeed real life). All of this leads to a lot of setting up time –
typically around 30 minutes to start a game, and around 20 minutes between
seasons. At the time I was drawn into this quite heavily. The transfer
system worked well, with the secret bidding and counter-bidding both
realistic and fair, reducing your chance of losing out on a player you can
afford and want, and it was easy to move between the information.

However, compared to other management games at the time, especially
Gremlin's excellent Premier Manager, the presentation was laughable, with
boxes of text representing everything, and matches played out with just
some vague text comments. This also made it hard to know what you were
doing wrong. What you were doing wrong was probably the formation, as this
is by far the most important element - 4-2-1-3 at home and 4-3-1-2 away
would guarantee rapid promotions as long as the ‘support man’ behind the
strikers was good. Forget having to alter your tactics for different
matches, there's no need.

There wasn't much to do, with no training, sponsorship, ground
improvements or staff hiring and firing. There wasn't as much tactical
versatility as there should've been. For no apparent reason, only 80 teams
were included rather than the real 92. There were too many tricks, such as
setting a player's value at maximum and retiring him to get an extra
bundle of cash. It was almost impossible to sign overseas players, despite
a specific option existing for them. Getting young player into your squad
was completely random as well. Thanks probably to the amount of data being
stored, it was prone to crashing and corrupting from floppies. It was a
dream come true for blank disk manufacturers, as you'd need quite a few.

There are many excellent football management games on the Amiga, such as
On the Ball, the Premier Manager series and Ultimate Soccer Manager. This
one's something of an oddity really – on the surface there's very little
to it, but if it grabs you, it won’t let you go. I wouldn’t recommend it
compared to the aforementioned titled above.

Overall: 71%

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