NFL Blitz (Nintendo 64) review
"Tired of slower-paced, graphically-accurate football games like Madden? Want to play the sport and have a bit more fun with it also? This is Blitz, where you don't have to know a thing about the game of football, hell, you could even hate the sport, and you could still have serious fun. It takes the real deal, then removes all the penalties and rules that slow it down. Plus it adds huge muscles, attitude, and then speeds everything up twofold. "
Tired of slower-paced, graphically-accurate football games like Madden? Want to play the sport and have a bit more fun with it also? This is Blitz, where you don't have to know a thing about the game of football, hell, you could even hate the sport, and you could still have serious fun. It takes the real deal, then removes all the penalties and rules that slow it down. Plus it adds huge muscles, attitude, and then speeds everything up twofold.
The game is real easy to pick up, and the basic controls are taught to you when the game starts; well, sort of. Actually, at first the ball lands in your hands, and you donít know what the heck to do. After the first run of your game, then the game will teach you the controls and basic rules, so on your very first run, you will be on your own.
Not that the controls are difficult, but being tossed into the game so quickly can be a bit of a shock. Youíre just thrown right in with hardly any warning, so if you set the controller down to scratch yourself, your opponent may be returning the punt for a touchdown already. In between quarters the game also suddenly jumps back into play, so if you were staring at the hot cheerleader that gives you game tips, you may be in trouble.
Anyway mastering the more advanced controls is the most fun and learning how to time your jumps, dives, spins, jukes, etc., opens lots of more space for you. However, the one huge problem in this game will always reoccur and annoy you. That is the ridiculous power of the opponentís defense. At least, when it comes to passes. Obviously, long Hail Mary passes have a good chance of being intercepted, but so does just about any other pass in this game. Most of the throws will get intercepted or at least blocked. This is really frustrating and forces you to run most of the time. Running is easier because the opponent defense is stupid sometimes, but it gets boring running every play.
See, when you choose a passing play, the receivers will run off on their own, following the set path. The game will automatically highlight one of them, based on who it thinks is the most open. You can either throw directly to this one, which isnít always the best choice, or pick who you want to throw to using the control stick (by the way, the highlighted receiver changes every few seconds, so you may end up throwing to someone you didnít want to using the first method). Sounds good, except using the control stick to pick your throw is hard and doesnít always work. Itís supposed to be as simple as if you hold right, youíll throw to the far right receiver, hold left, to the left receiver, etc. And that usually works, but hitting the middle receiver is challenging. Plus, when receivers cross, itís sometimes hard to pick who youíre throwing to. This set-up of picking your receiver is mediocre and setting different buttons to the different receivers, as done in other football games, works better.
As if offense is enough of a challenge, defense is also difficult. Unlike the computerís amazing defense, your players seem just stand around and do nothing. The computerís players closely follow your receivers, while yours hardly make a move towards them. This means you have to pretty much cover all the receivers yourself, which is impossible on most plays. This means easy passes for the computer quarterback. The logical thing to do would be to blitz the hell out of them on every play. This works sometimes, but when it doesnít work then thereís absolutely nobody back, and they will probably score a touchdown.
Graphically, the game is only average. Itís not terrible but it certainly could have been better. Probably the worst part of the game are the players, they are incredibly blocky and blurry. The field is okay, but the lines arenít very sharp and sometimes wobble. The ball is also oddly formed, and only vaguely resembles a football. When you see a player holding the ball it looks more like their hand is going through it instead.
At least the plays that you can choose from are cool. Thereís lots of variety in the offensive category, a few running plays and about a dozen passing plays. Not an overwhelming amount but enough to keep the opponent off balance. Plus you have the option to flip them and play them in reverse. The annoying though is that if you are on a play where punting or going for a field goal is an option, instead of getting a new spot, the punt or field goal plays cover up other plays. Sometimes you canít do the play you want to because it is covered. On defense, thereís only half the amount of plays, but they are all solid. Experimenting with the several different blitz plays is great fun.
Featuring the voice of John Madden, the game delivers some funny commentary. Unlike other sports games where the commentators talk on and on, Madden only yells things like ďA deep pass!Ē or ďIntercepted!Ē, so there isnít a run-on commentary. After plays you can also hear him say things like ďHeíll be picking his teeth up for a week!Ē Some of his comments like this will get you chuckling. The sound effects are mostly superb too. The best part is easily the sounds of the grunting players when they get hit hard.
Thereís also a play creator feature, where you can design your own play to use on your team in season mode. The creator is actually surprisingly well made, and you can use it to make almost any play you can think of. You can even tell the receivers to speed up or juke at a certain point in their track so that they can confuse the defenders. Very cool, and fun to experiment with, so in all, a great feature.
So the gameís easy controls, instructions, and basic rules built right in make this a great pick up and go game. It has cool plays, good sound, and a nice play creator feature. However, some gameplay elements are flawed, like playing defense with really bad computer teammates. But even with the flaws, the game has such a strong fun factor, and itís a game that anyone, even a football hater, can pick up and enjoy. So if you can somewhat overlook the problems that it has, you will have a great time with Blitz.
Community review by iamtheprodigy (August 13, 2006)
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