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遊戲品評 - CM03/04 PC Zone 評論

CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER 2003-04


PC

Sports Interactive

Eidos Interactive

1

Sim / Strategy

11 Dec 03

Can I shock you? I didn't get addicted to Championship Manager 4. Perhaps because, having reviewed it for PC ZONE, I got on a plane to South America and stayed there for six weeks. While roughly a quarter of a million people were trawling the virtual transfer market and staring at tiny dots on a screen, I was tanning my oily hide.

By the time I got back, Spring had sprung, and faced with the option of squinting at a monitor or lying in the park observing Swedish au pairs, I chose the latter. Throw in the farrago of the numerous patches and it became increasingly unappetising. Which is strange when you think that despite its bug issues, CM4 was the best instalment of the series yet. Maybe it was sunstroke.

So surely this latest standalone update to unarguably the finest football management game ever (even despite the multitude of bugs the game shipped with) would prove to be no more successful at stealing my life? Surely, I'd been cured of my Championship Manager addiction once and for all?

 

SYSTEM ADDICT
So what am I doing sat up in the middle of the night with a throbbing head and eyes like piss-holes in the snow? Tragically, I'm back. It's said that when drug addicts relapse, they immediately go back to the same levels of intoxication they enjoyed in their heyday. That would also appear to be true of Championship Manager, as there's been no fannying about. No question of playing a couple of matches and switching it off: we're talking eight hours straight, hunger pangs, grinding jaw, tapping foot, the lot. I am a weak man. I've been sucked back into a pretend world of association football.

 

INSTANT REPLAY
Ostensibly, it's the same game as CM4, with the obligatory data update and new leagues. The key difference, though, is that it works near-perfectly out of the box. There are some ergonomic improvements, with the training in particular receiving a much-needed overhaul, enabling you to gauge its affect more clearly.

The match engine now boasts instant replays too, along with visual indicators such as red and yellow cards and the offside flag, saving you the humiliation of running round your bedroom celebrating a disallowed goal. There've also been subtle changes made to the interface, and while they may not be immediately apparent to the untrained eye, going back to CM4 does feel a little clunky.

The CM4 bug debacle will have left a lot of people disillusioned, and that's fair enough. Annoyingly, though, this is the game that CM4 should have been out of the box. I genuinely wanted to slate it,
but it has inexorably got the better of me, even if it does need slight patching. Begrudgingly, but undeniably, a classic.