Review by chris2001

"The CM series is still going strong..."

As seems to be the trend with more recent Championship Manager games, this latest addition to the series contains several seemingly small changes, but small changes that have a large impact on the realism and enjoyability of the game, especially if you are a big football fan. You can choose any team from 26 selectable national leagues, from England to the USA, and almost anywhere in between, all of which can be run simultaneously if you have the patience (or the super-powerful computer) to do it. For the first time in a while, the game also comes with a built-in data editor, so you can keep it updated yourself as transfers occur in real life.

Other new features which make this an improvement on CM 2000/2001 include the usual statistical updates - player/manager transfers and suchlike, an improved scouting system which allows you to get an even closer analysis on your rivals match-day tactics and star players. As usual, the low-tech match-day text commentary still remains, but it has been improved slightly so you can judge your players performances more accurately. A hidden stats mode is now available too - in which key player attributes that a manager would not normally know without having a player scouted would know. This helps add a little more challenge to the game, and one of my criticisms of past Championship Manager games is that they have been a little too easy.

New manager options include the ability to give your board ''Ultimatums'', the ability to appeal against player bans, and the ability to make notes on players in a game.

So, how does it rate?

Graphics: 5/10

Well, the menus look okay, the font is nice, and most of the background photos are nice, but it's hardly spectacular. No match-day visuals mean there is really little scope for good graphics here.

Sound: 6/10

Again, there's nothing really wrong with the sound, but it is unspectacular. The crowd sounds are nice though, and add to the atmosphere a little if you can be bothered to keep them on.

Gameplay: 9/10

It seems so simple, buy a few players, make a good team, go out and win matches - but there is much more to it than that. Put simply this is the closest to being a football manager you will get without donning the sheepskin jacket and trudging to the dugout yourself.

Replay value: 10/10

Almost endless. The data editor means you can keep player statistics up-to-date (or you could just download updates from the Web..), and the possibilities are endless. You may have won the league with one team, but there's always next season, there's always that tempting job offer from Real Madrid, there's always the possibility of starting a new game and recreating your past glories with another side. This game is more than enough to tide you over until CM4 arrives on the scene.

Overall (not an average): 9/10

If you're the slightest bit interested in football, buy it. Just be sure to cancel all meetings you have for the following few months if you do...


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/13/02, Updated 05/20/02


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