Amiga Power1st September 1992
Published in Amiga Power #17
Hey footy fans, do you remember I Play: 3D Soccer? It scored 58 per cent in AP2 in case you'd forgotten. Well, Football Champ is basically I Play: 3D Soccer with a few strategy-tactics bells on for the sake of realism.
To make Football Champ's teams behave more like their real-life counterparts, the program includes data pertaining to the performance of Italian and English First Division soccer players plus playability tweaks and the facility to create hundreds of formations.
Now that's all very well, but Football Champ unfortunately retains the same viewpoint as its predecessor. Oh, it's all very nice and effective at generating a feeling of being there (you can view the action from almost any angle) and the controls are friendly enough, but Football Champ is virtually unplayable - and not much fun even if you do get the hang of it. The pitch and the players generally move in a realistic manner, but there's an insufficient depth of field and no simulation of peripheral vision which means the realism is as limited as the playability. I'm all for innovation, but not at the expense of playability.
Most of the time playing Football Champ is spent chasing the ball. The rest of the team do their own thing - they don't follow your lead as in almost all other footy simulations. That's realistic, I grant you, but (insert standard Amiga Power "If you want realism, what's wrong with reality?" line here) it doesn't make for Premier Division playability.
"Yeah? Well I'm goin' to the front!" Throb. Scratch. "Let's Go!" Thump. Thump-thump-thump. "Aye-yeah!". That's the music. Not what I expected. (There are even disco lights when you get the copy protection wrong.) I also don't expect to see sloppy 'LOADING' and 'DECRUNCHING' messages either.
If you want to play a realistic simulation of soccer, then Football Champ is all yours. I'd sooner play an unrealistic simulation which allowed me to fulfil a dream of being a hot pro, so to speak. Like Sensible Soccer.
The Bottom Line
Football Champ looks real impressive but is more entertaining to watch than play. It's the sad truth.