Superb visual presentation is Championship Football's major feature, with the action displayed via an unusual 'through the helmet' 3D view. The player becomes involved in every play, whether attacking or defensive, taking a central role in the proceedings. This arcade-orientated action is complemented by a strategy section involving the planning of offensive and defensive moves.
Initially, two teams are chosen from the 28 provided, and the duration of each quarter is set at either four or seven minutes. With these parameters set, the match begins.
The screen is split into three display areas. The largest shows match details such as score, time elapsed, timeouts and the ball's position, while the others contain a comprehensive and extensive list of offensive and defensive plays.
At the beginning of an offensive play the user scrolls through the list and chooses a manoeuvre. The screen displays a view through the player's helmet and the computer quarterback yells instructions - although the speech is grating and somewhat garbled (a bit like a Dalek with marbles in his voicebox). When play begins, the player uses the joystick to follow a series of arrows at the bottom of the screen - failure to comply results in a swift tackle or incomplete pass.
Defensive plays are chosen in the same way, although the player doesn't partake in the action and is forced to watch from an offensive player's viewpoint - often a nail-biting situation.
Other moves, including the kick-off, punt and 'extra point plays' are also executed in the first person with the player taking the role of receiver or kicker. When the opponent is punting or going for a PAT, the player's job is to break through the line and block the kick. Following each move, the screen reverts to the tri-display and another is selected.
It must be stated that this is an admirable attempt at an original idea, but unfortunately there isn't quite enough freedom within the arcade sequences. Most moves are rigorously dictated by the arrows, and there's very little variety in the moves that *do* allow the player a free reign. Having said that, there's an excellent tactical simulation in there, appreciated best when two humans are toggling the joysticks. Try it first before exchanging any cash.
This is without a doubt the most graphically impressive of all the grid iron games. The look is very realistic and solid, endowing the multitude of moves with a great atmosphere.
The trouble is that I only really felt a degree of control over a few of them, and consequently found myself getting frustrated. The one-player game is rather boring and unaddictive, but the two player option provides a lot of fun and a great degree of challenge.
Slick and thoughtful all round.
Convincing 3D graphics relate the action extremely well.
Somewhat limited and repetitive arcade screens, but the tactical game is fine.
The rules are strictly adhered to, and the execution is very realistic all-round.
The computer is a tough nut to crack, with twenty-eight varied teams to challenge one another.
Value For Money 79%
A good investment for those who are unable to partake in the sport - and wish they could.
Plenty of padding surrounds a fine strategic game. Try it out if you think you can stand the play limitations.