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NFL Quarterback Club (Game Gear) artwork

NFL Quarterback Club (Game Gear) review

"Back in the day, NFL Quarterback Club was one of the daddies of American Football. Many of its incarnations were mightily superior to its Madden equivalent. But now on the Game Gear we see one of Acclaim's earlier attempts at cornering the American Football market. "

Back in the day, NFL Quarterback Club was one of the daddies of American Football. Many of its incarnations were mightily superior to its Madden equivalent. But now on the Game Gear we see one of Acclaim's earlier attempts at cornering the American Football market.

As you'd expect, you choose your favourite NFL team and jump right into the Playoffs or engage in a full season. The divisions are all correct to the '95 season and there's plenty to play. Once in the game, you choose your play and get into it. The action takes place from an isometric sideline perspective allowing you to see all the players on the field. When engaging in a passing play, you choose which receiver to pass to by which button you press (1 or 2). After only a couple of plays though, this game's flaws become rather obviously apparent.

Some of the game's basics haven't been taken care of. For one thing, each team's playbook is ridiculously small, limited to only about 20 plays for offense and only 16 for defense. It makes your choice very limited and so you'll be using the same plays over and over again within the same game, especially considering that 8 of those 36 plays in your playbook are Special Team plays - many of which you'll never be obliged to use. But it gets much worse. Pressing the 1-button when in control of a receiver or running back makes your player spin off a tackle and pressing the 2-button makes your player's speed increase for a short while. While the speed boost is limited to only once a play (which is still too much considering its effectiveness) you can spin off tackles indefinitely meaning that by tapping the 1-button rapidly you can almost always heave through wave after wave of defensive linemen and backs without much trouble at all. This terrible problem means that you never actually need to use passing plays. Just using the same running plays will result in your team getting Touchdown after Touchdown. There are some nice trick plays but they're rarely inspired and aren't anywhere near as effective as a running play up through the middle. Another problem is that the defensive plays make very little difference to the outcome of the plays, because the rush and blitz plays tend to give the same outcome - a sack (when a Quarterback is tackled behind the line of offense). Just by picking control of your center, you can boost through and sack your opponent's quarterback every single time. The truth is, NFL QBC '95 can be completed easily by use of very cheap tricks. Acclaim should really have sorted this out to stop these repetitive tactics being so effective.

There are some other gameplay problems beyond the obvious cheap tactics faux pas though. The passing plays are not only redundant, but they're also quite restrictive too. You can only pass to one of two receivers, which doesn't give you much of an option if they're both well-covered - you'll just have to run the ball with your QB. Obviously the lack of buttons makes it difficult to have many passing options, but I'm sure it would have been feasible to have a third receiver by use of pressing multiple buttons simultaneously. The lack of receivers makes all the passing plays incredibly inflexible, and flexibility is a something that is a must in all American Football games, no matter how old.

Another great flaw is that the points counter only goes up to 99. You wouldn't think that this would matter normally, but when playing a game with 15-minute quarters, it's more than possible, if not certain, that the match will finish at 99-99, even in the toughest of pro modes. From this example, it's pretty obvious that the game is not only easy, but it's been terribly rushed. Surely this is the kind of thing that would have been avoided with just a few hours of play-testing. I've won by more than 50 points in 2-minute quarter matches on the hardest difficulty setting. Acclaim really should have made everything a lot more difficult and they certainly should have rid this game of those cheap tactics because the game offers no challenge otherwise.

Even then, you'll be even more annoyed that there aren't any player management/statistic screens. It may be a bit much to have management in a handheld game but it's criminal not to have manual substitutions, statistics and injuries even in a portable NFL game. Even the Game Gear FIFA games gave you the option to substitute player when they were fatigued or injured. Also, they've only decided to include one rule, and that's the offsides rule. Pass interference is perfectly legal in this game so rather than attempt to stay with an intended receiver, you can push him out of the way and intercept the pass. Honestly, how hard is it to include some of the basic rules of the game into one cartridge? Not very difficult I’d bet. This is another example of basic gameplay flaws allowing the player to take advantage of cheap yet effective tactics. It makes the game so easy and uninteresting that you’ll always be considering an alternative to playing this game. It makes the entire process of playing the game so utterly pointless.

Apart from the slightly enjoyable yet redundant trick plays and competent visuals, NFL QBC ’95 does very little right. In fact, some of the mistakes in the core gameplay mechanics are downright diabolical. You’ll often be wondering “Now why did/didn’t they do this?”. NFL QBC ’95 is easy, cheap, unfulfilling and often downright pointless. There are better things you could be doing with your life.

ceredig's avatar
Community review by ceredig (November 24, 2004)

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