League Challenge (Atlantis) Review | Atari User - Everygamegoing

Atari User

League Challenge
By Atlantis
Atari 400/800/600XL/800XL/130XE

Published in Atari User #36

League Challenge

This is a game of management that allows you as a football critic to take the hot seat and prove your worth by taking charge of a league team. You have the chance of aiming for Division One, and maybe even completing the double by being voted Manager of the Year.

League Challenge is loaded in two parts - the main program followed by a short amount of data. Once loaded you are asked to sign on the dotted line and select your team. There are 64 names available to choose from or you can use your own 14-character name.

The screen displays are mainly text but there are some graphics during matches. You start the actual game with the mid-week options - looking over your playing staff as well as your club's statistics. You can load and save data here to allow you that mid-season break to relax.

The save option only saves the necessary data, so the main program has to be loaded first.

Mid-week decisions lead you into the preparation for your first league match. Your earlier training choice may well determine your fate on Saturday: Do you choose an easy session or do you put your players through their paces?

It's up to you, but the cost of training increases with your level of choice.

Now it's on to team selection time. The ratings for defence, midfield and attack are shown along with both teams' fitness rating allowing comparisons to be made.

Individual palyers have both a skill and a fitness level, which vary from one to nine. The former remains the same throughout the season but, fitness will fluctuate depending on whether a player is resting or playing.

You can change your team's formation by selecting and removing players to field a combination which best matches your opponents.

League Challenge then switches to a very basic graphics mode which is, however, sufficient for playability. So sit back and watch the action as the goalmouth highlights are shown.

Once it's all over, the match result is displayed along with any injuries incurred. The results of the other matches in your division are also shown with a full league table.

Your weekly turnover is shown at the end of each match - you can go into debt, but only to the amount of £250,000. Pass this and the club is declared bankrupt and the game starts afresh.

So be careful when you buy players. But make sure you have the money in the bank before writing that cheque because it won't bounce - you will - right back to the start. Players available for transfer are shown from time to time and as a maximum of 15 players is allowed in a squad at any one time remember to leave a space for that star signing.

There are fifteen league matches to be played in a season together with knockout cup matches.

An important consideration for cup matches is fitness. If a replay is necessary the option for team re-selection is not available, so it may be advisable to use players with a high fitness rating.

When the season is over you receive a bonus payment which depends on your league position. The top three teams are promoted while the bottom three are relegated.

You keep the same players for the start of the following season, but their skill and fitness levels may change.

All in all it is a good game - not an original theme, but it does have variations on other similar ones. It's very easy to use and offers entertainment for both novice and expert.

The screens change quickly and only the match highlights are shown, so there's no time for tedium to set in. Sound could have been used to add atmosphere to the match highlights: It would have been nice to hear the roar of the crowd when a goal was scored.

The graphics are a little on the weak side and the game deserved more time and effort being devoted to this area. But overall playability is the most important factor. Everyone likes glossy graphics and sound but if - as in this case - the game is addictive and enjoyable then that's what counts the most.

Keith Pattison