DescriptionFeaturing the English national squad in a top-down soccer game, England Championship Special represents British publisher Grand Slam's attempt to cash in on both England's respectable semi-final entry at the 1990 World Cup and the popularity of Anco's acclaimed Kick Off series.
With its 1991 release, English Championship Special is somewhat awkwardly set in between the 1990 World Cup (England made the semi finals, its best result since 1966, then lost to Germany and to Italy in the third-place match) and the European Championship of 1992, to which the "Championship Special" part of the title refers. The squad composition is based on the 1991 status quo, which means you'll go into the Euro tournament with World Cup veterans such as Waddle, Beardsley and Wright, but without 1992 players like Alan Shearer or Alan Smith, infamous substitute to Gary Lineker in the Sweden match.
While Grand Slam got the England team and manager to officially endorse the game (thus having names and photos of 20 squad members from Robson to Gascoigne), they didn't buy the Euro Championship license. You'll be playing seven out of 22 European nations for the "Champions of Europe" title in a nondescript international tournament, from group matches to finals.
Mimicking Kick Off in style and perspective, European Championship Special is geared towards high-speed play at bottom-level complexity, with only one action key for kicks and slides and heads. No cards and hardly any penalties, primitive AI and straightforward gameplay make for goals galore, and the weather system turns out to be wind velocities only, which turns out don't affect the ball at all.
|Wow, it’s a mediocre Kick Off rip-off endorsed by a mediocre national team!||Atari ST||-Chris (7312)|
|ASM (Aktueller Software Markt)||DOS||Jul, 1991||7.4 out of 12||62|
|ASM (Aktueller Software Markt)||Atari ST||Jul, 1991||7 out of 12||58|
|ASM (Aktueller Software Markt)||Amiga||Jul, 1991||7 out of 12||58|
|ST Format||Atari ST||Dec, 1991||56 out of 100||56|
|ASM (Aktueller Software Markt)||Commodore 64||Jul, 1991||5.4 out of 12||45|
|Commodore Format||Commodore 64||Aug, 1991||23 out of 100||23|
|Computer and Video Games (CVG)||Amiga||Oct, 1991||21 out of 100||21|
|Amiga Joker||Amiga||Jul, 1991||16 out of 100||16|
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AthletesEngland Championship Special's national squad with their corresponding attributes as given in the game:
Player Speed Skill Strength Aggression David Seaman 5 2 4 4 Chris Woods 4 1 3 4 Des Walker 4 4 3 4 Mark Wright 3 3 4 3 Stuart Pearce 4 5 4 5 Gary Stevens 3 3 3 4 Paul Parker 3 4 4 3 John Barnes 4 5 3 4 Neil Webb 3 3 4 3 Trevor Steven 3 4 3 4 Steve Hodge 3 2 4 3 Stephen McMahon 3 2 4 4 Paul Gascoigne 5 2 4 5 Chris Waddle 4 5 3 3 Steve Bull 4 4 3 4 Bryan Robson 3 2 4 3 Ian Wright 4 5 2 4 David Platt 5 4 4 3 Peter Beardsley 4 3 3 3 Gary Lineker 5 4 3 4
The manual omits McMahon, but lists Nigel Martin, Tony Dorigo, Tony Adams and Lee Dixon, none of which appear in the game. In addition, the manual gives completely different (considerably higher) values for the four player attributes.
Version differencesAmiga and ST versions are the game's original incarnations with both the full set of gameplay elements and most detailed graphics. The Amiga version suffers from bugs that cause players to warp around the playfield.
The PC version is a stripped-down conversion of the 16-Bit originals with coarser graphics. Team morale is omitted, side-view penalty shots are replaced by a cruder top-down variation. Strangely enough, PC version matches cannot be played a full 90 minutes, but only 45 minutes max - likely a bug.
The C64 conversion has no digitized pictures except for the player photos, no referee graphics, weather and morale system aren't implemented, the penalty shots correspond to the PC version.