Go back to UEFA Champions League: Season 2001/2002

Written by: Rik

Date posted: October 26, 2019

It’s fair to say I had some issues getting this game running. Well, that’s not quite true: it ran ok for a while, then crashed on a consistent basis, which meant that this was a slightly more annoying case than something that flatly refuses to work at all: a game that seems to be ok at first but then flips out for no fathomable reason.

Now, I’ll be reasonably persistent with something that won’t even load up, but if it doesn’t, there are always other oldies. But I find that once I’ve invested some time, played a bit, and started forming opinions, it becomes a problem that I have more motivation to solve [Do you mean ‘become obsessed with to the exclusion of other more worthy things you could do with your time’? – FFG reader]

Here’s what would happen: I could install the game, load it up, tinker with settings and play a full match with no problems. During the second match, however, the game would crash, regardless of the opponents or various other settings. At first, I considered it was just a matter of fiddling around with compatibility or multi-core settings, seeing if a contemporary patch was available (no) or just having to put up with some instability and saving often.

Winning the Champions League is great. But I almost felt as happy as these chaps when I finally got this game working!

But all my tinkering came to nothing. The official guidance that comes with the game makes reference to not alt-tabbing away from the application while it’s running, and making sure that the screen resolution in the game was the same as the system resolution. But neither of these suggestions made any difference either. (This was all on Win 8.1, incidentally, and symptoms were consistent across both my desktop and laptop, which sometimes deliver different results when it comes to stubborn 00s games).

After playing through one and a half matches (most often: Liverpool vs. Boavista, then one half of Liverpool vs. Borussia Dortmund) for what seemed like the hundredth time, I cracked and considered the nuclear option: dusting off the Win XP machine with a knackered DVD drive that sounds as if it’s about to launch into space. First, though: a brief dalliance with a virtual machine, which was a lot easier to set up than I thought, but once up and running, the graphics were mega glitchy and the game was unplayable.

The old PC it was, then, assuming it still worked (it did). And so too, did the game. Satisfied that I’d cracked it, I played through three matches in a row, saved the game and exited, only to find the same issues repeating themselves upon reloading. And coming back after a reboot, it then refused to load up at all. Uninstalling (including deleting saves) and then reinstalling seemed to get things going again, but I still had the same puzzle of what to do about the initial issue of the game crashing during matches.

We were long past ridiculous by this point, but I was hardly going to give up now. I had noticed that the game save option had been behaving weirdly throughout, with phantom errors and cryptic references to memory cards, so I hatched one last plan to get through at least one whole Champions League campaign: uninstall the game, reinstall it again, then play at a time when I could set aside a few hours to get through a tournament without saving.

I tell you – if you think these lads are happy, you should have seen me when I finally got the game working!!!! [Oh dear god – FFG reader]

Sure enough, this actually worked, although it was high-stakes stuff, rather like when your car develops a problem on the motorway and you hope it gets you all the way home, and there were some hairy moments when my CD drive had a bit of an age-induced fit.

Sadly, I went through so many permutations of different configurations that a sense of paranoia started to creep in, and I definitely didn’t get to the bottom of what caused the crash, nor can I say for certain that this is the only way for the game to work.

However, my best recommendation is to install on 32-bit (or 16-bit!) Windows, get straight into a tournament, and avoid saving your game. Clearly, you’d have to be some kind of madman (or woman) to go to such lengths to play a football game from 2002 of middling quality, but if you are such a person, and have any better suggestions, please do write in – you could win a prize.