APP OF THE DAY: Championship Manager 1980s Legends review (iPhone / iPod touch)

It's seemingly 1980s football week on Pocket-lint. Firstly, we met and chatted to two of the decades biggest stars, in the guise of Liverpool legends John Barnes and Ian Rush, and Paul's been trying to give himself a tight perm using a pencil and a can of VO5.

However, we're sure that fluorescent leg warmers are better suited to those who are less hirsute in the leg department.

Thankfully, there's another way to celebrate what was good and great about 80s footy, without donning shorts that feel like cheesewire around the posterior parts. So, cue the Anfield Rap and check out...

Championship Manager 1980s Legends

Format
iPhone / iPod touch
Price
£1.79
Where
iTunes

We were big fans of Beautiful Games Studio's previous reworking of its iPhone football management franchise, where it placed the action firmly in the 1970s. However, setting the sequel a decade later makes it instantly more familiar to our generation, and while the game engine is nigh-on identical, CM 1980s Legends is a far better game for it.

You can choose to start in either 1980, 1983 or 1986, and each of those will present different challenges and, clearly, different player databases. Indeed, having started a game in each year, we were surprised just how much team line-ups had changed in short spaces of time.

The biggest difference between the periods that you'll initially notice is that, should you start in 1986, there is no European football for English teams. UEFA banned English clubs from competing in its competitions indefinitely after the Heysel Stadium disaster on 29 May 1985, when Liverpool took on Juventus in the European Cup Final. And while the ban was lifted in 1990 (Liverpool didn't return until the following year), this in-game ruling serves as a stark reminder of the dark days of football hooliganism and the effects thereof.

Indeed, BGS has dedicated the app to the memory of the victims of this incident alongside the many who died in the Hillsborough Stadium and Valley Parade disasters. It would, perhaps, be nice to donate some of the profits of the game too, but the thought is appreciated.

On a lighter note, the game itself moves along at a fair old rate. It's standard fare - pick your team, your tactics, train the players, etc - but there's enough to do between matches to stop it feeling like it's on autopilot.

Not all the leagues are presented. For starters, the old fourth division in England is missing (what is now known as The Football League: npower League 2). But at least there's no transfer window to contend with - you can sign players when you like. So, it's a case of taking the rough with the smooth.

If you play in 1980, you also have to remember that the three points for a win rule didn't come into the English game until 1981 (and not until 1994, 1995 for Scotland, Italy and Spain), so it'll be harder to win the league outright.

Oh, and there's other archaic rules to remember too, such as only two substitutes per team.

It certainly all adds up to a fascinating experience, and much more engrossing than many similar games before it. Maybe that's just for me though, as, being a Liverpool fan, it's just nice to take control when the reds ruled and Man Utd were a pale shadow of their current glory. Maybe this is a sign.

We can dream.



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