Play it like it’s (CM) 1999

23 11 2006

Peter Crouch was just an 18 year old youngster with Tottenham, Bradford City were taking on Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal, and a 19 year old Ronaldinho could be yours for less than £5m. Championship Manager 3: 99/00 may not have the features nor graphical interface than its predecessors, but stepping back to a time when Andy Hinchcliffe was fighting with Graeme Le Saux for a place in the England squad is certainly quite revealing.

I downloaded the CM99/00 demo mainly out of interest. I remember playing the game seven years ago when it was released, but just how different was the footballing world back then? After a few initially problems trying to make the game work on XP, I was confronted with the familiar and welcoming menu screen, complete with Ole Gunnar StillatUnitedevenafteralltheseyears Solsjkaer celebrating in the background.

Choosing my club was my first tast, as ever. The Premiership in those days held teams such as Bradford City, Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday. Gosh, in those days even Watford were up there! I mean, imagine that happening today. The First Division (not The Championship back then!) is home to Bolton, Blackburn, Charlton, Fulham and Man City and back then Accrington Stanley couldn’t even be found in the low regions of the Conference. After plucking for Manchester United (just because it’s easier, let’s be honest – a transfer kitty of £46.5m!) it was time to look at the squad.

Now remember, in those days having David May and Dwight Yorke were not necessarily signs of a bad team. It certainly is interesting seeing how these players have seen their careers develop or falter during the years since this games release. The reserves are full of players who have gone on to be quite successful with lower league squads (David Healy, Ronnie Wallwork, etc), a couple who would later step up to the first team (Wes Brown, Michael Silvestre) and, rather poignantly, Jimmy Davis, the then 17 year old striker who was tragically killed in a car crash in 2003.

I saw a few names that caught my surprise, mainly because I didn’t realise that they were at that particular club at the time. Thierry Henry is a sprightly 21 year old in his first season with Arsenal, 18 year old Ashley Cole is with the Gunners, only he is described as an attacking midfielder, John Terry is worth less than £400,000 with Chelsea, Jose Reina is a 16 year old trainee at Barcelona, and West Ham United still have Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Rio Ferdinand on their books. Again, and rather sadly, so too is Marc-Vivien Foe, who died in the same year as Davis.

Looking at the game itself shows how far the series has progressed. I’ve found that it is the little touches that have made the big differences to the later titles – right clicking on players, player interaction, viewing reserve and youth squads, 2D match engine, etc. However it is clear to see that CM99/00 still holds a number of great little touches to keep you playing, even as a modern day gamer. I would highly recommend grabbing a copy of the demo, if only to see what clubs were like pre-Rooney. I’m not attempting to review the game in detail, nor to compare it to later offerings – just offering some of my main thoughts when looking back at what was, at the time, such a fine title. Of course, it still is – some people still play previous versions of the series even to this day in preference to the most recent releases.

I’m going to offer you a little mini-challenge now. It’s nothing that serious or demanding – simply download the demo and see for yourself how things have changed. Leave a comment with your thoughts and prehaps your best memories of the game or even any players that you have found that are worth mentioning.

The demo can be found at http://downloads.theregister.co.uk/Windows/Games/Sports/champman-9900.html

Should you have any problems with the game, I found this little snippet of advice to be useful:

right-click on the icon ‘my computer’ then proties -> advanced -> performance -> settings -> advanced -> virtual memory -> change -> no paging file -> apply -> restart then and enjoy the game as I do everything is allright and there are no problems with game and other things, programmes.

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3 responses

30 11 2006
The Football Manager Community » FM Community Digest 24/11/2006, 25/11/2006, 26/11/2006, 27/11/2006

[…] Check out Blog FM’s nostalgic look at CM99/00 […]

21 12 2006
paul

u r a legend, i decided 2 go bk in time and check out cm99/00 once again, i found a full version download at filefront.com but couldnt get 2 work on xp due 2 the virtual memory problems until now. thanx 4 the advise

7 06 2007
Jon

I still play 99/00 to this day, i love blackburns tranfer funds of 30m+. u can sign a world class juninho from athletico right at the start, and either west ham or coventry are going to be relegated, so u can get robbie keane or joe cole before anyone else.
such a game, really really really really really good.

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