Championship Manager ’93 Review
- Vintage: 1993
- Developer: Domark/Intelek Data Research
- Publisher: Domark
- Genre: Football management sim
Glorified spreadsheet or football management masterclass? The Championship Manager franchise has built up a huge following since it’s first iteration and it’s success arguably started here in 1993 with the first version to feature real player-names. Lauded as “The most realistic football management simulation ever” at the time, your job in this game is to lead your team to glory.
As you start the game you are presented with a list of all the teams in the football league so choose wisely. You can start right at the top if you choose to, taking the helm at Manchester United or Liverpool, but beware! Expectations will be high, and the patience of the fans and directors alike is very short. It is far more appealing to me to start at rock bottom with the likes of Scarborough and take them up on a meterioric rise through the ranks to the Premiership and Europe.
After nailing your colours to the mast you must pick your personality, ranging from ‘selfish’ and ‘withdrawn’ to ‘thoughtful’ and ‘confident’. Your choice here is important, as all your staff and players have personalities too (footballers with personalities? What is the world coming to?) and arrogant players are easily wound up by withdrawn managers and coaches. Once this is done, the game initializes all the stats, facts and figures ready for your new career, which can take a while (about 25 minutes).
When the number crunching is done, It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. You will be seeing a lot of the main menu screen and from here you can access the huge amount of information available to you. First up, ‘club details’: Here is a list of all the teams you can view, including your own.
Unfortunately, you’ve inherited the bunch of chumps employed by the last manager in charge of your club, and your first job is weighing up which players and staff are worth keeping hold of (if any). You can also check the finances, see your league form, check out the club’s history or a multitude of other options.
Each player’s page holds a wealth of information; their age, wages, playing position, skills, current form, last seasons form, morale and personality. From here you can access more menus to change their wages or buy, if you don’t already own him. And this is where the game comes alive. The transfer market. Their is nothing more exhilarating than watching an unknown player you spotted in the lower leagues slowly becoming a multi-million pound international star and, of course, earning your team a promotion in the process. The simplicity is refreshing when compared to modern management games, all you do is click ‘buy’, set the amount and if the club and player are happy with the deal, the player is yours!
Success can’t be won and loss in the transfer market alone. It’s up to you to shape your rag-tag and bob-tail team in to a polished unit. You can arrange your players into any formation you like. Standard 4-4-2 or inverted christmas tree with dynamic bauble wingers? It’s all at your disposal, just pick a player and tell him where to stand.
When the action begins you’re presented with a screen containing a timer, a scoreboard and six bars. The bars represent your relative strength in the areas of defense, midfield and attack, and from these you can gauge your team’s performance. If your defence bar is low, your opponents chances are more likely to find their mark. If your midfield bar is high, you will get more chances and if the attack bar is high, your chances will be converted more often. Significant events in the game are reported intermittently through a line of text in the middle of the display. You will be kept abreast of chances on goal, injuries, opponent’s substitutions, bookings and your star striker’s new haircut (or not).
After the game each player is given a mark out of ten enabling you to sort the Steve McMananmans from the Steve Bulls. All of these stats are stored in the player profile and on player performance tables so you can make an informed decision concerning your next starting eleven. Herein lies the crux of the game: Assemble your squad from purchases and those already available, assign them roles and formation, watch them play, assess their performance, rinse, repeat until glory/shame. Ah, the beautiful game.
Err… there’s sound? Oh yeah! There’s a catchy tune on the intro screen, but that’s your lot.
Not very pretty to look at, but it doesn’t need to be. Things are arranged well so that there is a lot of information on screen but it is still clear and mostly intuitive.
Huge amounts of players and stats to get your teeth into without things getting too complicated. Just concentrate on management: you won’t be asked to pick advertising boards or which toothpaste the boot boy will use this week. The details that are there are for the sake of gameplay and realism is only adhered to when it serves enjoyment. Perfectly balanced – If you get into this one, it will eat your life for breakfast (and lunch, and dinner, and possibly a midnight snack too).
Review written by: StickHead