Review by Millers C

"A truly massive game"

The Championship Manager series has been in existence since the dawn of time, or so it seems. The brainchild of the Collyer brothers, 5 installments later Championship Manager 2001/2002 finally saw the light of day in December 2001 to much hype and promise.

To bill Championship Manager 2001/2002 as a brand new game would be incorrect; this is an updated version of Championship Manager 3, much in the same way 99/00 and 00/01 were. So what makes loyal fans of this series want to purchase yet another add on?

Football management games are an acquired taste, some people will either love them or hate them, but the simple layout and perfect gameplay makes this series a dream to play, a trend continued in this game.

Graphically speaking this is a game that is never going to win any awards. The game itself is composed via a set of point and click menus designed for easy and swift access, taking a similar form to the previous games and suits it perfectly as all the relevant information is at your fingertips. The menus are pasted over several football related backgrounds and it is even possible to alter the games fonts if you wish. Visually, this game is as pleasing on the eye as could be expected.

In terms of gameplay it is very simple to explain how this game runs. The experience of taking a lower level team to champions league qualification and turning them into a championship winning outfit is unrivalled in any other game. You see, more than ever your decisions reflect the overall performance and results on the pitch thanks to the refined tactics and transfers section. Seeing your decisions come up trumps in the game is a joy to behold - it's the closest thing most of us will get to managing a real football team.

When playing the game, the format is identical to the previous games in that there is a block of text explaining what is happening in the game whilst the appropriate stats are just a click away from the various tabs on offer. You can also peer into other teams results as they are happening making this game all the more realistic, and those last day relegation dog fights all the more nail biting. Championship Manager 2 had commentary, and perhaps this is one of the things this game lacked.

Championship Manager 2001/2002 also offers much more media involvement than ever before, with players being criticized for their lack of effort and performance and you the manager being asked for your opinions on the league you are in. Be careful as negative responses will turn some players or fans against you causing dressing room unrest. It's now also possible to send your scouts across the globe in search of the next Gianfranco Zola. Sports Interactive have really come up with some excellent new features and it's a great testament to them that they managed to fit all this in.

You can choose from several new leagues from Finland to Germany to Japan and with hundreds of clubs ready for you to take control of with no two clubs ever being the same, opening up a new challenge each time. This results in longevity unparalleled by any other game as there is always something to return for.

There are enough new features here to keep dedicated fans of the series happy, and the simplistic yet comprehensive gameplay should satisfy the casual gamers as well.
This is one of the most challenging and involving games of all time, as it will literally keep you playing for years to come. Its current budget price and low system requirements make it criminal not to have this in your collection.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 06/01/05

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