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1-8 Player

Game Type

Sports Sim

Mem. Card

Review Date

April 1997


Setting the Scene

Well what can we say about this that hasn't already been written a thousand times. Basically this is Acclaims attempt to dethrone Madden as the king of the American Football Simulations and like so many annual revisions to sports games this is the latest 1997 version of the game, featuring more up to date statistics and a whole host of extras that the software writers hope will have you reaching for your wallets yet again.


This is a multiplayer three dimensional American Football simulation that has been created for all of us that admire the sport, but don't really want to get our legs broken playing it.


The nice intro. sequence sets the mood for you to jump straight into quick game. The options screens look great and the tension is high as you wait for the first matchup to load, the screen changes and then it hits you......

You double take at the screen and quickly check to see if this is a Megadrive or a PlayStation that you are playing because the player graphics are blocky and more cartoon-like than realistic. You can see the individual numbers on the Jerseys sure enough, but I would rather have sacrificed this detail for crisper sprites. Activision tell us that the player graphics were motion captured from the New York Jets players Adrian Murrell and Lonnie Young, so in theory what you see on the field, is what you see in the game..... Hmmm

The game has some great camera angles including one which allows you to set the camera angle to your own favorite angle, a nice touch.

The stadiums are also nice, but why are the crowds not animated, instead they are made up of a flat blurred texture that does nothing to improve the realism of the game.

Sounds and Effects

Again, everything starts off very well. The rear speakers of my surround sound system burst into life as the opening introductory sequence went through its paces and it must be said, sounded fantastic. The in-game sounds are reasonable, but at no point did they "blow my socks off". The crowd sound samples are very average and after a short time you stop noticing this constant monotone background noise. The crunching of player-on-player is crisp and clean, not realistic enough to make you wince, but good enough not to complain about and I liked the way that you could get your players to taunt the opposition with various macho shouts.


To be fair, they have crammed in loads of statistical information into the game, which will no doubt please the die hard fans of the sport. Stick in a memory card and you can keep a running record of the longest pass, rush and more.

The rosters are as up to date as possible and they have added loads of new plays to keep the gameplay as varied as possible and improve the longevity of the game.

The A.I of the computer players has been improved over the original version of this game and will present a real challenge to anyone who plays on the higher difficulty settings.

Variable weather conditions also add to the difficulty of the game and are a nice inclusion.

As with most simulations, there is always a fine line between true realism and playability. I feel that the programmers may have got it slightly wrong with the pace of the players in this game. Giving them the benefit of the doubt (in that its not simply that the game engine runs too slowly), it may well be the case that they run at exactly the same pace as the real players do, but regardless of accuracy, you are constantly left with the feeling that you are always watching a slo-motion replay, rather than athletes at the peak of their form. However this may suit some people who prefer a more relaxed pace to their football.

A very nice feature of the game is the ability to change the course of history. By replaying famous old games at critical points, you get to see if you can change the outcome within the final few minutes of play.

The actual playing of the game is fine, its pretty easy to pick up if you concentrate on getting used to two or three plays at a time, rather than trying to be smart and using them all in your first few games. You may find that the quickest way to start enjoying this game is via the multiplayer modes. Either you and a friend, or up to 8 human players can play at once. Its far easier to learn the game mechanics when you are playing another human, due to the simple fact that they will almost surely make all of the same mistakes as you will, unlike the computer, who will just make you look incompetent. After a few games you will feel confident enough to challenge the PlayStations brain to a game or two!

Value for Money

It will take some time to master this game, but this is what you want. The way that you can set-up the game to your liking adds a nice individual touch to it and the massive amount of statistical information that is available will please the true fans of this genre.

As a multiplayer game this is a blast to play and would be worth purchasing if you have a multi-tap, a handful of joypads and a bunch of friends.

If you have got the original, then rent this first, just to make sure that all of the additions are to your liking.





Unfortunately I think we will have to wait for the 1998 version of this game before we see the definitive American Football Simulation. Don't get me wrong this is a very playable game, its just that we were all hoping for a little bit more.











A good game , but not a classic.








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