It’s almost just like being there! Complete with the pixelated players kicking around a pixelated ball, with pixelated fans, drinking pixelated beer, and punching each other’s pixelated faces until pixelated blood flies everywhere… Or, not.
The game’s blatant disclaimer is particularly amusing because Sensible Software has made more soccer games than there are Rocky sequels. The copyright clearly shows 1992, 1993, 1994. Co-incidentally, Sensible released games each of those years, only those games were franchised, and this one has no connection whatsoever. In other words, it’s a cosmetic fix up sans-license to sell another game. The underlying game hasn’t likely evolved much at all.
To their credit, however, it’s a good engine. What the game lacks in graphics, it makes up in gameplay and finesse. For its era, it provides surprising control over the soccer experience and is clearly targeted at the more hardcore of soccer fans who would not be impressed by the likes of NES World Soccer.
It features the usual frustration of you only being able to control one guy while the computer can control everyone, perfectly, but it doesn’t drive you crazy. Instead, it makes you want to learn the controls better and refine your play. The play moves from the screen to in your head, and you begin thinking ahead, planning your moves, strategising. This effect is the sign of an engaging game.
Verdict: While I could do with a bit more eye candy, and the music does get a bit repetitive, I’ve played far worse games. The underlying engine and AI are solid, clearly due to several years of refinements, and the stat tracking and saving is an important feature for hardcore sports fans who want to track long-term progress of their favourite teams. For the era, Chapionship Soccer ’94 did a decent job of exciting gamers on a Saturday afternoon with a few beers.