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NFL 2K1 (Dreamcast) artwork

NFL 2K1 (Dreamcast) review


"I've played many a football game in my day, but none of them have ever matched Super Tecmo Bowl for the NES, not even last year's stellar NFL 2K. Now, the folks at Visual Concepts have just made that old Tecmo dev team weep bitterly- NFL 2K1 is the best football game ever made. EVER. The game is fine tuned to perfection, with only a few (understandable) faults. "



I've played many a football game in my day, but none of them have ever matched Super Tecmo Bowl for the NES, not even last year's stellar NFL 2K. Now, the folks at Visual Concepts have just made that old Tecmo dev team weep bitterly- NFL 2K1 is the best football game ever made. EVER. The game is fine tuned to perfection, with only a few (understandable) faults.

While I shift away from the subject of dev houses weeping bitterly, I should mention that the EA and 989 boys shouldn't have bothered this year. NFL 2K1 does what those boys won't be able to do for another year and a half: bring a bunch of would-be grid iron jocks and fat female mid-40s Cincinatti Bengals fans together in an online battle of epic porportions. Not one of the 1987 AFC title match between that jerk John Elway and my beloved Browns, but epic nonetheless. Online support features 8 players per game (I never got to do that; everytime I get online with 2K1 its unbelievably nuts just to find a few other players) a nice number indeed. More than PSO actually.

This review's focus, though, will be on the offline portion of the game. Which is, well, a hell of a lot of the game. Most of the problems that pursisted in NFL 2K are, for the most part, corrected in 2K1. The running game is here, finally. In 2K it was nearly impossible to move the ball up field, and the only effective way was to stiff arm like mad. That is corrected in 2K1, which now sports a much more balanced pass and run system. There also seem to be more running plays this year than last, so that is a marked improvement.

The game is still as easy to pick up and play as last years. Call it a nag, but the entire idea of hitting a button after the snap just to bring up passing roots in Madden has been a nuisance that brings a lot of stress and little time into the mix. 2K1 is still supreme. I snap the ball, I get more recievers designation up in less than a second. Huzzah! Now I can burn those SOBs on the other side with Couch to Johnson.

2K1 also features retro uniforms, like the Charger's or the Bill's or the Bronco's (boo) AFL threads, and a nicely assembled franchise mode, which allows you to play as a team over a period of seasons while signing and trading and cutting players. Recent retirees from the league, Dan Marino, Steve Young, Barry Sanders, and Kevin Greene (I don't really know if he's retired, though) can be signed as free agents. Playing many seasons will see your players retiring or demanding trades or signing with other teams in the league. Franchise mode adds more than enough to hold you over until next year's iteration.

Now, NFL 2K1 is not without it's faults. Last year's edition had a problem with out-of-bounds calls. While 2K1 fixes many this problem, it does get a bit annoying when you connect with a reciever in the back of the end zone who runs out of bounds, leading to such a call. (It cost me a 13-10 loss to the Broncos... ugh) The game also seems to feature more penalties this time around. While it is out of the ordinary to run for daylight, pick up 38 yards and get called back on clipping, that does seems to happen on occasion in 2K1. Most penatlies come in the form of encroachment or fall starts.

2K1's graphics are, in a word, goregous. Player models to tout that freakish puppet feel from last year, but seeing green and brown dirt smudges on them, or seeing Terrell Davis pound on the ground with his fists after getting wrangled in the backfield (hehehe) are impressive. Commentary from the games to commentators have also improved- not to the point you'll really like the commentary, but it'll still sound better than Madden and Sommerall's few voice clipping in the old PSX Maddens.

Recommending NFL 2K1 is fairly easy. Its the best football game out right now, and it will remain the best until 2K2 dazzles me all over again. If you grow tired of watching Jim Drukkenmiller throwing interceptions with a red and black football this spring or Gov. Ventura harrass 2-bit coaches of 2-bit New York franchises other than the Jets, NFL 2K1 will fill that football void. Its well worth buying a Dreamcast just to experience it.

Rating: 9/10

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