Now, whilst we have perfectly capable computers to enjoy the latest iterations of the Football Manager series, we have been re-living a little part of our misspent youth by revisiting the game that sucked so many hours from our the first time around.
Standing out from the crowd
Looking back to when Championship Manager Season 01/02 was first released in October 2001, there are not a lot of new features or innovations to separate from the previous year’s release, comparing the two, only the addition of a “Fog Of War” to hide some player stats and the latest EU transfer regulations stand out as noteworthy updates to the series.
But what made this game so seminal in the history of football management gaming was the actual gameplay itself. This version has probably been the only one so far in the long line of Sports Interactive games that has got the balance between “Fun” and “Football Simulation” perfect. The proof of this is how it is still constantly used as the benchmark to compare the new Football Manager games. About once every few months a thread will be made on the official Football Manager website bemoaning, how the latest game in the series, is either too “tactically in depth” or takes “too long to get through a season”, compared to what was experienced in Championship Manager 01/02.
Holding on to the past
To this day, there is still many fan sites dedicated to this game, mostly offering gameplay help and the latest fan made data updates, to bring the squad data up to date with current goings on in the football world, if you think about it, this is a monumental task in itself, image all that has happened in the football world since the 01/02, back then Manchester United still had Juan Sebastian Veron in the first team.
Whilst it did take a bit of faffing around to get the game running on a Windows 7 machine and working on our network, for some reason it had to be set to Windows NT compatibility. The game has been thoroughly enjoyable and with the speed and processing power of modern computers, we can whizz through a season and have the largest database imaginable to emulate the football world in.
In terms of looks it does seem a bit dated compared to the modern Football Manager offerings, gone are all the fancy menu’s and details, and things are reduced to simple buttons and lists. There is certainly no 3D match engine, or 2D to mention it, everything is still in the old text style, leaving the match to be played out in your own imagination. But, this does nothing to limit the enjoyment, we have still been having transfer battles over the purchasing the same players and when we go head to head in a league game, it can get quiet heated.
Tactically the games is very basic in comparison to the newer titles, but also this can be a positive for people who do not wish the edit every single aspect of a players role, on CM01/02 you can simple setup a formation, pick the team and away you go. However, the aspect of player training is a bit frustrating in this older CM game, you cannot simply let the coaches get on with it, you need to manually assign each coach certain training elements and this can be a bit boring. Player transfer are again a fairly simple process, keep offering money till the club accepts your offer, offer the player a contract and job done, none of the agents and counter offering which is seen in the latest Football Manager games.
If you are looking to see were the Football Manager series has its roots and are wondering why people are still talking about all conquering careers they had on this game, then you can grab it completely legally and free via the Eidos website.
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