Championship Manager '93 logo Gamer Gold

Could you manage Manchester United and win the Premier League title? Here's your big chance, grab your mouse and get down to it.

The football league season is finally coming to a close. It's now the time of hearty promotion and relegation battles. Manchester United are, at the time of writing, setting smugly at the top of the league and it looks as though Alex Ferguson has finally achieved league success for the Red Devils for the first time since 1967.

The pressure of controlling a football club must be immense. Not only do you have to run the team and make sure you've got the best 11 players on the park on a Saturday afternoon, but you must also keep an eye on the money situation and the general running of the club.

The question to be asked in this review is, could you have done it? Could you have taken a football club like Manchester United to the league title? Well thanks to Domark you can find out.

There are two types of computer football games. The first is the action/arcade game like Sensible Soccer or Kick Off where you have direct control over your team. There is much more to football than just playing it, though, and this is reflected in the second type of game.

The management type has been around since the days of the Spectrum where Football Manager was the definitive football game. Not much in the way of graphics or sound, but the playability was unbeatable.

One of the most recent football games to hit the charts was Premier Manager by Gremlin and a lot of you punters out seemed to have enjoyed it immensely.
A year or so ago, Domark released Championship Manager and it fared pretty well in the cruel world of computer games sales. It was probably the most realistic football management game I'd ever played, so you can well imagine the grin on my face when I heard about the brand new updated version.

Yep, Championship Manager '93 is here and it promises to be the best football management simulation ever in the whole wide world. That's some statement, but I have the sneaky suspicion that Domark fully intend not to break that promise. If I were to detail every new feature in this updated version of Championship Manager then Gamer would be full up and besides I haven't got time. I'll run through a few of them though. Basically everything is now included plus all the cup competitions all have their proper names.

All the player data is now correct and when you click on the player's name you get a full screen of statistics. You basically get a full run down on the player in question from number of goals scored to his previous club history to the colour of his underpants.

This information coupled with the player's real names give CM 93 that edge of realism, simply because you can relate to the players better.

Other features include a brand new scout system, player loans, upgrading of stadia, injury time, manager's salary, own goals, win bonuses, more board comments and many more. There is also a five-week gap before the start of the season, so that you can organise friendlies, then select your best team and get your players up to match fitness. This is a nice little touch and it's the first time I've seen it done in a football management game.

As I mentioned before the real names add that touch of realism to the game, but they also have the correct ages, so it's only going to be a matter of time before you have to re-name your team to Parkside Old Folks Wanderers.
To stop this from happening CM 93 generates new players to come into the game, obviously you won't of heard of them, but it's nevertheless a good idea.

Another big addition to the game is the inclusion of foreign players into the transfer market. There are in fact 100 foreigners and the game includes a wide variety of players and countries. Unless you're a totally loopy football fan then you will never head of any of them apart from the odd Italian here and there and that's only thanks to Channel Four's Sunday afternoon TV programme. You never know, you might pick up a Pele or two!

Take a gander at the screenshots and you'll see that CM 93 is not graphically fantastic. The whole game is controlled using the mouse and centres around a menu system which involves a lot of clicking. The only graphic of interest is the choice of pictures which you can have as your backdrop to the game. There are seven or so to choose from.
You can choose a nice picture of the charming Chelsea midfield dynamo Andy Townsend, or you can even leave it totally blank - the choice as they say is yours...

One thing you should know about is the actual match day. Now this is nothing like what I expected when I first saw it. The set-up of the screen is incredibly basic with the time set in the top right corner, the two team names and six little bars at the bottom. You get a running commentary of the game, but it's all done in broken English. An example would be "Rush rounds keeper. Rolls it in net. Goal. Goal disallowed, Referee spotted handball offence." It does seem strange at first, but after five miutes you become used to it.

Well I can see the ref signalling to his linesman and we've played two minutes of injury time, so I'll sum up for you.
Championship Manager is the most complete football management sim I've ever played. The sheer amount of detail that's gone into it is unbelievable. Simply because so much time and effort has been put in by the games creators, it deserves a Gamer Gold.

Everything you think should be in a management game is in Championship Manager 93. Internationals, transfers, scouts, penalties and so on are all there. It will appeal to the dedicated football fan, but I also think it could do rather well with other gamesplayers because it is so good.

Graphically it is not brilliant, but I don't think that this type of game warrants amazing graphics anyway. The sound department is virtually non-existent with only a couple of cheers in there when you score a goal, but again it's not the type of game that needs sound. It's positively overflowing with playability and is highly addictive.

There are two ways to buy the game. The first is to run down the shops and pay £29.99 for it. The second is to upgrade your original Championship manager by sending the disks and £7.99 to those nice chaps at Intelek who can be reached at: Championship Manager '93, Intelek, PO Box 1738, Bournemouth BH4 8YN.

To put it simply, Championship Manager is Ryan Giggs, while all the other games are Tony Adams. I rest my case.



Championship Manager '93 logo

When I was a young lad I always wondered what a football manager actually did. OK, so they sat in the dugout, wore sheepskin coats, chainsmoked and, it seemed, did little else. They couldn't play (unless they were player-managers of course) so why the big salaries, gold bracelets and fat cigars?

And then one day I realised that the majority of footballers needed to be told what to do. This came as quite a shock. Was Glenn Hoddle really told to 'play through the channels' and did Don Revie need to explain the process of 'jockeying' to Billy Bremmer?

In the past few weeks Brian Clough and Graeme Souness have commanded more column inches in the national newspapers than all the players put together. The managers are the stars. We'd all like to be one and we all know we could do a better job, right?

Enter the management sim, a game for football fans and, I would suggest, football fans only. Who else but a fan could possibly be interested in all the facts and figures, and if you don't know your 4-4-2's from your sweeper systems then what's the point?

Championship Manager '93 is an update of i>the original, with a load more features thrown in. A maximum of four players can compete and you get to choose your personality type, manage the English club of your choice and take them (hopefully) to the dizzy heights of the European Cup Final. Before all the glamour though, you have to knuckle down to the bread and butter of the league.

Lineker! Lineker!
All the information you will ever need is at your disposal. If you want to know whether Scarborough play continental-style or the long ball game, then you just click on their Club Details to find out.

If you want one of your club scouts to search for a creative, influential, goal-scoring midfield player, between the ages of 20-24, costing over £2m then he will go out and fin you one. You can also have different scouts looking for different types of players.

You're given a few weeks before the season starts to prepare the team for battle and the opportunity to arrange friendlies both home and away. There's also the transfer market for team strengthening (with foreign players also available), an option which remains throughout the season.

But sure to keep a careful eye on the club finances though, and beware, major signings don't always make an impact. You have to negotiate transfer fees and contracts, and look out for unsettled players in the squad.

Gooooaaaaaaal......
The actual matches are three moving bar charts per team of defence, midfield and attack and there are in-match comments to keep you in suspense (well, on the edge of your bench). The comments from the boardroom can be daunting though, and if they 'suggest' a big name signing could be useful, you feel under pressure to buy one. Overall the attention to detail is excellent and the number of features too numerous to mention here.

Unfortunately, there are one or two minor grouches. Why must you sit through the game sequences if you don't want to? Why do you have to watch the video printer and then a classified result check for all the divisions if you only want to see your own league? It would have been nice if these were optional.

And after a home defeat by Oldham, why can't you go to the pub, down a skinful and then sleep in a field. Overall though, a comprehensive management sim and a success.


UPGRADE YOUR ORIGINAL CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER

For £7.99 plus £1 P&P.
Return original disks and make cheques payable to Intelek, PO Box 1738, Bournmouth BH4 8YN.


NOT GEGEN ELEND

Championship Manager '93 logo Treble Champions 2 logo

Die Kombination von Sport und Wirtschaft muß nicht immer gleich Kampftrinken bedeuten: Heute berichten wir live aus dem vollbesetzten Joker-Stadion über das Freundschaftsspiel zweier Soccer-Manager.

Zuerst rollen die drei Disks des Championship Managers ins Stadion und nehmen an der 1-Megabyte-Linie Aufstellung. Kurz darauf erscheint auch die Solo-Scheibe vom 2. FC Treble Champions, läuft sich an der 512-KB-Marke warm - und schon ertönt der Anpfiff!

1. HALBZEIT
Zu Beginn erkämpft sich das Domark-Team leichte Vorteile durch seine HD-Installation und die gute (britische) Anleitung. Dann dürfen bis zu vier Vereinskapitäne festlegen, welchen der 150 englischen Clubs sie übernehmen und in welcher Division sie starten wollen.

Anschließend berechnet der Amiga stolze 30 Minuten lang das Szenario - sobald er damit fertig ist, stellt man erschüttert fest, daß das Game nur eine aktualisierte Ausgabe des im letzten Jahr erschienenen Vorgängers ist. In Kurzfassing heißt das, wir haben es wieder mit einem reinen "Trainer-Manager" zu tun, der auf wirtschaftliche Elemente wie Stadionsausbau und Sponsorenwerbung großzügig verzichtet.

Dasselbe in Knallrot kriegt man von den Treble Champions geboten, die bei näherer Betrachtung auch bloß ein Update der Krücke aus dem vorigen Jahr darstellen. Hier darf nur ein einziger Teamchef den Schwierigkeitsgrad und die gewünschte Liga auswählen, sich auf den Transfermarkt stürzen, Freundschaftsspiele veranstalten, die Trainingszeiten festlegen - und sogar das Stadion ausbauen.

2. HALBZEIT
Nach der Pause sinkt das Niveau der beiden Kontrahenten endgültig ins Bodenlose: Der Championship Manager kann zu seinen Gunsten gerade noch die halbwegs akzeptable Handhabung ins Feld führen, während sein Treble-Kollege vom Präsidium nicht mal eine Maus gestellt bekam und ausschließlich via Tastatur Karriere machen darf.

Die Optik besteht hier wie dort zu 99 Prozent aus Menüs, Balkendiagrammen und endlosen Zahlenkolonnen, der Championship Manager wirft darüber hinaus eine kurze Titelmelodie in die Präsentationsschlacht.

Verständlich, daß das Publikum langsam unruhig wird und immer lauter sein Eintrittsgeld zurück verlangt; deshalb brechen wir die restlos enttäuschende Begegnung hier auch ab und erwähnen nur noch der Vollständigkeit halber, daß (natürlich) bei keinem der beiden Games irgendwelche besonderen Features zu entdecken waren.

ENDSTAND
Das Resultat ist ein klares 0:0, wobei der Championship Manager zumindest anfangs ein paar später nicht eingelöste Hoffnungen geweckt hat - aber bis zum Aufstieg in die Bezirksliga ist auch für ihn noch ein langer und steiniger Weg... (rf)



Championship Manager '93 logo

Domark get back on top form with an off-the-pitch footy sim.

My daily journey to work takes a little over half an hour, and I do quite a bit of thinking in that time. I plan my work for the day and, if I have a review to write, I try to come up with a really ace idea for an introduction.

Introductions are very important in AP reviews. Which is a shame because, despite the 150 miles I've covered sine I was first given Championship '93, I haven't been able to come up with a decent intro at all. Damn. I guess it's going to have to be one of those 'talking about the game a lot' reviews and the team are all going to laugh at me for being so pathetically unimaginative. Damn.

You won't be astonished to find that Championship Manager '93 is a football management sim. Nor will you be surprised to find that it's a new and improved version of Championship Manager.

The review copy came with a list of no less than 37 additional features. Well, actually, it came with a list of exactly 37 additional features and I'm not sure why I bothered to say it like that. I suppose it makes it all sound a bit more exciting.

I think it's time to get rid of a few of the more shallow-minded. The only sound comes in the form of a jolly tune with the intro. There is no animation except for some performance bars during the progress of the game. There are no match highlights. There is no action of any kind to speak of. It's about management, tactics, and planning. If you don't want to think, you won't want to play.


And you don't have to wear a camel coat, either

Right, that's got rid of them. There's a 'quick start' option, but quick start options are for wimps. We want it all and we don't care how long we have to wait Which is a good thing, because setting up the proper version of the game takes about 15 minutes.

You choose your own main characteristic (I decided to be 'thoughtful'), choose your team (Tottenham, of course, what other team is there?) and the machine chugs away for a wekk and a half setting up all the team data and stuff.

Then you play. Arrange a few pre-season friendlies, pick your squad, keep an eye on injuries, watch out for decent players on the transfer list, accidentally play Gary Mabbutt in goal (oops, bit of an oversight, that - still, we only lost 1-0, perhaps there's a lesson there for Spurs). Then you get into the season proper.

Matches are played, players are bought and sold, the board lets you know how well it thinks you're doing and the whole thing, despite the apparent lack of action and excitement, is enthralling. You can experiment with your squad, change tactics and formation during the game, accidentally put Gary Mabbutt in goal (I can't believe I did that), and generally try to be a better manager than the chaps who make their livings doing it.

One thing that particularly entertained me was the TV teleprinter-type results service that started giving me all the results on a Saturday afternoon. I could check out my rivals' performances and then pop out for a cuppa (just like you do on a Saturday afternoon when you're only interested in your own team's results and are waiting for Beverly Hills 90210 to come on).

If there's anything you can think of that you'd have to do as a footy manager, it's probably in here, with the possible exception of having a glamorous partner and living ina large country house decorated in dubious taste. Oh, and you don't have to wear in dubious taste. Oh, and you don't have to wear a camel coat, either.

There's not much in here for the action fan, but if you want something that'll get yer brain going, then it's worth a look. I enjoyed myself immensely and I'm going back for more. I wonder if I should try Gary Mabbutt in goal again...



Championship Manager '93 logo

Move over, Brian Clough - Mark Patterson puts on his manager's cap and gives it one hundred per cent.

I normally despise football management games, mainly because they offer very little that the original Football Manager didn't - and that's around 10 years old now. The newly revamped Championship Manager, however, somehow convinced me to keep playing, no matter how much I tried to hate it.

Firstly it's current. All the Premier League teams are featured along with the top European clubs. Each team has the same players as the real-life squads, with statistics reflecting their current form. This is important to football freaks like me who can't stand managing teams with players who were eligible for the '66 World Cup squad.

When you take the seat at your new desk your first job is to organise the players. As with most games of this type they're given ratings for attributes such as passing, shooting, tackling and speed. They also have contracts, disputes with the manager or other players and generally unpredictable traits. At this point you can afford to flog the trouble makers and invest your cash in some rising stars.

RESERVISTS
Another feature which I haven't seen before is the inclusion of reserve teams. Where the first team players have ratings for their skills, clicking on a reserve player just gives you a comment such as 'promising' or 'fair'. Using one of these is risky, but if you're hit with an injury crisis it's usually the only place to turn.

The transfer market is the best place to pick up new talent. Amateur managers might just scout the market and see if there's anything they like, while the pros employ scouts. This motley crew have proficiency ratings depending on how successful they are.

All you need to do is tell them what position you want the player to fill, how skilful they should be, which divisions to look in and what age range to look at. They'll obligingly go away and a week later report back with a list of every player who fits the bill, whether they're transfer listed or unhappy at their current club.

The team's tactics have to be set before a match if you don't want your players to end up milling around like lost sheep. This feature goes into some depth, as you have to assign each player to the position they're best suited to, choose the formation, style of play and whether or not your team hold back or push forward. The game styles range from continental to long-ball and there's just about every formation you could ask for.

Setting the tactics is extremely time consuming to begin with and initially left me wondering if I could be bothered continuing with a full season. Fortunately the game stores your last set of tactics, so once you've found a winning game plan you rarely need to alter it.

As you can tell from the screenshots on this page, there's not much to look at in this game. There are a number of pre-set digitised background pics, including one of Ian Wright (and a good thing too). Apart from those you are faced with multitudes of menus and other unattractive text screens.

What really sets this game apart is the sheer weight of features. It does take a while to process the results, and it has some very annoying features such as showing you the entire League's transfers for that week. Apart from that there's very little to fault it.