Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Joe Montana, hero of San Francisco in the Eighties, the best quarterback ever to grace the NFL (ha!). After two appearances on the MD, Joe shrinks down to the humble GG.
There are so many American Football games on every console that anyone who doesn’t know the rules is either extremely thick (Paul, can you tell me the rules for American Football? —Claire) or doesn’t give a toss (wake me when it’s over —Ade).
In its basic terms, you need to move the ball (oval) to the opposite end of the field to score a ‘touchdown’. You have four attempts to move at least ten yards otherwise possession goes to your opponent.
You can kick the ball through the posts for less points than a touchdown but this move can prove vital in a close-run game.
Load up the GG and you’re shown a nicely digitised picture of Mr Montana. Move onto the team selection stage, choosing your lads from the standard 24 NFL teams, then choose the computer’s team.
Now, do you want heads or tails? Use Up to select and button to toss the coin.
The match underway, you view the pitch from above but the players are slightly angled, to simulate isometric 3D. The graphics are detailed, pleasing to the eye and highly functional.
If you’ve received a kick, the GG shows details of the ‘down’ — how many yards are needed, where you are on the pitch, etc.
Also onscreen are the various plays you can choose from. One is recommended by Joe and you’d be wise to take his advice.
A play selected, the screen switches back to the pitch and the pay’s set up. Button ‘snaps’ the ball; pressing it again highlights each of your possible receivers in turn. Pressing throws the ball, which your receiver will try and catch.
Score a touchdown and the screen shows you celebrating with a silly dance. Your conversion attempt’s set up then you just press and direct the ball through the posts.
When you’re on defence, the screens are the same but the plays are different (of course). Your player’s indicated by an arrow above his head but you can choose a different one with . Button tackles the guy with the ball.
Each quarter’s five minutes long (realtime) but stops are made when the ball goes out of bounds (over the sideline) or a time-out’s called.
After playing Joe Montana for a while, one thing really hits home: it’s so easy. The final score in my first game was 98 - 9 in my favour.
While the controls are easy and smooth to operate, the opponents are just no challenge. Their passes are easy to intercept and their defence is laughable. I made my first touchdown in 42 seconds.
Talking of plays, where the hell have they all gone? You have about 13 plays in your book but can only choose from a maximum of seven at any one time.
While the graphics are great and the sound competent, having no league or play-off system’s a really stupid idea. All your left with is a game with no real challenge for yourself and little to do in two-player mode.
If sport’s your thing, play Super Kick Off.
The only half-decent GG American Football game.
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