Championship Manager: Season 97/98
It's Weird How Cm2 Affects People.No matter how well you've been doing in the previous version of the game, no matter how fond you are of some of the players you've bought, developed from scratch, or discovered by accident; no matter how proud you are that you've taken someone from the infested gutters of Division 3 up to the heights of Europe; as soon as the new version comes in, you abandon your old game. Instantly. The arrival of the new disk has the same effect as a new football season itself: you're full of fresh hopes, excited about the prospect of new (real-life) buys, and itching to get into it. (That doesn't explain why some people around here immediately rush to buy all the same players they had in the previous version, but that's another matter).
This version is the last CM2 update we'll see. Next year we'll have CM3 - a whole new re-working. No doubt people will be up in arms at some of the changes planned - some of the more anal fans have apparently been giving the developers a hard time about the minor alterations. Obsessives don't take kindly to change.
Here we go again...
This update comes with a slightly altered version of the game. It's been made harder: harder to score; harder to succeed long-term; harder to work out a winning formation. At times, it's like playing the original, where you.needed to create four chances in order to get a goal, and the computer (believing itself to be some kind of electronic Maradona) seemed to need half that.
You need to concentrate more on winning the ball back than before, and a different approach to away games may also help. The boards' attitudes to managers are more hard-nosed and there are changes in the way players react in matches - headstrong players retaliate after bad fouls, or remember who it was that 'got them', so they can dish out some extras later in the game, and so on.
Real-life major injuries have, for the first time, been incorporated into the game - along with recuperation times. So Shearer's out until Easter; Chris Armstrong's out until about October (the game starts in July, remember). The day I wrote this, it was announced that Roy Keane would be out for the whole season - a shame, because they were talking about ensuring he would be in the game.
Most of the new features are unlikely to induce a full-on chubby in even the most ardent fans. The big new ideas (virtual dress-me-up manager dolls; light-sourced dancing mascots, or whatever) are being saved for next year's CM3. You'd be hard pressed to even notice some of the changes in this version unless you're a real anal obsessive type. Hang on, that's everyone who plays it. Anyway, 16MB of RAM lets you run multiple leagues at the same time, from all major European leagues (and Scotland), as long as you have the processing power (running three leagues on a P90 really drags: you have all those extra matches, not to mention Under-21 internationals). Run an 8MB game if your machine's crap.
More new features
Basically, it's an update disk with the odd new feature and tweaked gameplay. There are things that will irritate you and you might quibble with some of the ratings. The main reason for buying it is to have this season's stats. As such, 30 quid may seem excessive, especially as you could download one of the updates from the internet into the old version. But you do get the chance to play in far-flung leagues and you do get a harder challenge. You know you're going to buy it..
For the first time, the magical jiggery-pokery used to create the players, teams and managers in the game is yours for the asking, giving you power hitherto unprecedented in the realms of human experience. With this tool, you're only slightly lower down than God on the All-Powerful Beings ladder. Well, Paul Daniels, then.
You can mess about with stuff in all the databases, editing player ratings and even creating new players from scatch, as I've done here. Cheats and blackguards will, of course, abuse this power. Right-thinking people like us won't go near it. We've only changed a few things here to show you what you can do.
It's a bit disappointing, really — you can only use it before you start a game. Which sort of defeats the object of having it in there, really, because no-one's going to check through every rating before they start. And if, once you start a game, you notice some players have ratings you'd like to change, you'll have to start again. The Collyers claim they never intended it to be used to alter things as the season progresses, which is why they haven't changed it from the one they use into a more friendly version. It's kind of, "Here you go, we've finished with it, take it or leave it." Personally, I'll leave it. Meanwhile, if you want to keep players up to date as they move around in real life, you'll have to use the editors on the internet, which apparently still work with the new code.
Download Championship Manager: Season 97/98
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
It's Here... Ish. The New Version Of the game that has more devout followers than a machine gun-wielding Muslim fundamentalist is finally back, and it's been tweaked and fiddled with. It's not finished yet, but we've had a chance to play through half a season or so, and we thought you'd be dying to find out how things are shaping up. So here you go...
For those who haven't been following our regular reports, the big new feature is the multiple league option. You can manage teams in any three countries from England, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Scotland, Holland, Portugal and Belgium. The possibilities are endless, and the resultant addition of thousands more players to choose from around the world, including full Under-21 squads, means life's a little easier in the lower divisions. On top of that, it's even educational - learn about European leagues the easy way, or whatever. You might fancy the struggle of controlling your favourite, lowly team, but then for a bit of light relief, have a go at controlling Juventus to lift your depression. On the one hand you'll be dealing in free transfers and low-level signings; on the other you'll be toying with the affections of the best players in the world.
Since I usually have a Spurs/Gillingham game, with Spurs in their current state I thought I deserved two light relief games, so I chose Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. I've already bought Rivaldo, Batistuta and Ronaldo for Barcelona. And you get to mess with the big Spanish clubs' B-teams. I've also started a 'cool shirts' game, in which I only control teams with groovy shirts. Since Boavista and FC Utrecht are both fab, it's a Portuguese/Dutch game. All very diverting.
Obviously, the more leagues you run, the greater the demands on your processor and hard drive - and with the number of matches being calculated in a multiple league game, it can get a bit slow at times on my old P90. But the match results from all the leagues being played are now shown on-screen in a small window. At least it gives you something to watch while you wait.
Initial impressions are that it's a lot harder. I'm having a bit of a rough time of it at the moment with Barcelona having lost to lowly Merida in a league game. With 20 minutes to go and 1-0 down, I went a bit mental (it's the hot Spanish sun), with Stoichkov, Batistuta, Rivaldo, Sonny Anderson and Luis Figo up front, and didn't create a single extra chance - never mind get the equaliser or win.
I had a brief word with Paul Collyer about this (his brother Oliver is working on CM3 now). "It's the last version you're going to see of C/W2,"said Paul, "and most people will have been playing the game for three years now and will be pretty good at it, so we wanted to make it a challenge. You now have to think a lot more about the balance of the side. There's no point throwing everyone forward as a last gasp attempt to score because there won't be anyone to win possession for you." But I had De La Pena and Guardiola back in midfield, I whined. "Oh, well," he said, laughing. He's a bastard like that.