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NFL 2K1 (Dreamcast) artwork

NFL 2K1 (Dreamcast) review

"Both the play-by-play and color commentary are awesome, and that play-by-play excellence should be noted a million times. The commentators accurately depict the events of the contest, and include player names, yardage, and..."

EA Sports' Madden series has always dominated the football game field, and many consider it one of the best series in all of video games. But when the Dreamcast released, a company called Visual Concepts continued the Sega Sports NFL series and released NFL2K, which surprised many people with its spectacular visuals, gameplay, and commentary. Now, VC has tried to improve on its formula with NFL2K1. Did they succeed?

First off, I would like to note that I will be reviewing this title as its own game, and not a sequel/follow-up. Thus, I will try to keep mentions of NFL2K to a minimum.

Since the game is licensed by both the NFL and Players, Inc., you can expect nothing but the best when it comes to authenticity. The more famous players look much like their real-life counterparts, and stadiums have unique features and authentic logos. The better players--such as Randy Moss and Kurt Warner--will have better skills, obviously, though much of their ability depends on how you play yourself.

While I'm on the topic of detail, I might as well talk about the graphics. NFL2K1, much like its predecessor, includes full motion-captured moves, realistic player models, and awesome textures. Although the crowd is partially animated, it is mostly composed of inanimate 2D sprites that make the game look worse, to tell you the truth. Also, it seems Visual Concepts forgot to use anti-aliasing, as there are plenty of jaggies throughout. Weird.

To compliment the graphics there's the sound. First off, the commentary is excellent. The game boasts it as a TV broadcast on the ''Sega Sports Network,'' and is actually quite convincing. Both the play-by-play and color commentary are awesome, and that play-by-play excellence should be noted a million times. The commentators accurately depict the events of the contest, and include player names, yardage, and their opinion on the plays with sheer brilliance. However, there are a couple of faults in it. For one, sometimes they will say things for one team that are wrong, as they actually represent the other team. For instance, many times I have intercepted the ball, and when I (the Bills) started the respective drive, 'Dan Stevens' said, ''The Bills gave up the ball last time...'' This confused me. Wasn't that the other team?, I thought. Oh well. Also, when you're down by 7 points, with 30 seconds left in the game, and you're on 4th down, sometimes they'll say, ''They're going for it! I don't agree with that call.'' Weird. And another plus on the commentary: no Madden. Good deal. In addition to the amazing commentary, there's quite good sound effects during the game, such as hits, catches, grunts, taunts, referee calls, etc. They all add to the enjoyment of the game, and are a welcomed addition.

Play-calling is fairly easy, though it's easier to use the d-pad to move through the menus--something I still can't explain. Plays are set up by formation (as a default option), and once you select the formation, you choose the play. Red plays are running, blue are passing, and the patterns are shown on-screen. Simple, eh? Yes, quite.

And on the field, things are pretty straight-forward. If you're running, the QB will automatically hand it off to the 'back, who you then control, and can spin, juke, stiff-arm--any of the essential basics. When passing, once the ball is snapped, each of the eligible receivers are highlighted by a corresponding button, such as A, B, X, etc. If you feel like scrambling, you press the R trigger, and once you pass the line of scrimmage run like any other player. And when a receiver catches the ball, he follows the running controls also. Kicking and punting are executed by a directional arrow, which you control with the analog stick, and a Power meter, which you must time correctly to get the strongest kick. For some reason, the arrow moves when you don't even touch the stick. It's awful annoying, but I'm sure it was put in to make it a little harder. On defense, different buttons allow for different defensive options, such as dive tackles, dashing, and jumping. Cool.

You can create players, teams, and plays, and all are fairly simple. However, create-a-player is limited, and the major customizable options are face mask and skin colors. Figures. I was rather disappointed in that you cannot use your created teams during the season, and it would have been a nice feature.

Overall, NFL2K1 is one of the best football games to date, and rivals the dominating EA Madden series, for sure. Oh, and there's online play too. Woohoo!

Knux's avatar
Staff review by Zack M (Date unavailable)

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