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NFL Blitz (PC) Review

Publisher: Midway
Release Date: July 1998

Background Info

Midway, makers of the famous NBA Jam series, reached deep into their pocketbooks to market NFL Blitz (Blitz). Is the game really as good as it sounds? Read on.

Presentation/Graphics : 85
Visually, Blitz looks exactly like its arcade brother assuming you have a 3D accelerator. Direct 3D and 3Dfx cards are supported and you'll be amazed at the framerates you'll get with a moderately fast system. The players themselves still are roughly the size of Buicks and other graphical nuances such as uniforms, helmets and weather effects are right on the money. Don't expect such enhancements as pretty stadium graphics or city skylines in the background though. Midway omitted these things for obvious reasons: to make what you do see all the time (the players and the field) as graphically pleasing as possible. Luckily, you won't notice these missing elements as you attempt to slam your opponent into the ground or high-step your way into the endzone. Overall, Midway has done an admirable job keeping framerates high without sacrificing any attention to detail and fans of the arcade won't be dissapointed here.

Presentation/Audio : 80
The announcer doing the commentary is better than most football games I've played. With lines such as "That was a truly pathetic display", "Is that legal?" and "Up close and personal!", the sound effects of Blitz are tremendous. Bone-crushing tackles produces defenders screaming in agony as they get thrown to the ground.

Interface/Options : 93
Blitz's interface has a real close resemblance to the arcade version of NFL Blitz. Of course, that's what Midway was shooting for. The interface has nothing special but it's really simple to use. There were practically no load times at all on my system. I liked the fact that I was able to quit the game anytime I wanted by pressing ESC and then pressing Y for yes. However, I don't see a reason why they didn't include an option to quit the current game but not leave the program.

No season modes, can't adjust the amount of time for each quarter (In terms of minutes, not setting the clock speed) and no option to sub players are just a few of the options that make this not a game for hardcore football gamers. The game did let gamers have the choice of tracking their user's stats such as wins, losses, passing and rushing yards per game, sacks per game, average points scored/allowed but nothing really in-depth.

Blitz only featured 2 pages of offensive plays and 1 page of defensive plays. I figured after a while, it doesn't really matter what offensive play you are picking, your players will end up running up the field and cutting either to the inside or outside on most of the plays.

Blitz lacks timeouts, although there is really no need for it since the clock stalls after each play.

The game doesn't have a multiplayer option available currently, however the rumor of a patch that could change this has been surfacing. We don't have any more details except rumors.

Gameplay : 89
What can I say? Blitz is NBA Jam style football. Seven players on each side of the field, no injuries, no penalties, no out of bounds (unless you jump out), 30 yards for a first down and you got players jumping up 10 feet into the air to make a catch. Defenders can dive between 3-7 yards to try to take someone down. It was easy to sack the opposing quarterback, but after a while, I found out whatever side I line up on, the quarterback from the other team will either stay in the pocket or roll out to the opposite side. That was kind of nice. It was almost impossible to run because of two factors: 1) I couldn't find a running play :) and 2) Like I mentioned above, defenders are like supermen in Blitz, and they can tackle you from 3-7 yards out.

A nice touch to the gameplay was the turbo button. The turbo button was used on offense to sometimes knock oncoming defenders backwards by lowering the ball carrier's shoulders or stiff arming them. However, that doesn't always work. Guess what happens when it does? That's right, your player gets stuffed and knock senseless to the ground.

The passing was a little confusing also. Its not the typical press one of 4 buttons to pass to a receiver of your choice. I'm still not too familiar how to pass to a particular receiver. The closest thing to a solution I found was if I held one of the directional arrows, a different receiver would become highlighted. That didn't work for me all the time though. Passing in Blitz is not hard at all. It just depends how many yards you get on a pass. I found putting a guy in motion and passing to him and then having him pass to one of your receivers downfield works really well. If you need 1-7 yards for a first down, try to hike the ball and keep on hitting the pass button. Your QB will throw to someone and most of the time you will get enough yardage for a 1st down.

I loved being able to control a LB or DB and take out a receiver at the start of the play. Sometimes I wait till the QB throws it near the area I'm in, then I dive at the intended receiver, and usually the chances of getting a pick if I have a teammate standing there really increase as a result of not having a receiver competing for the ball.

Kicking a field goal in Blitz isn't too hard. Although I'm not sure what the longest field goal possible in the game is, I know I've kicked a 55 or 60 yarder before. However, you don't get the option of kicking a field goal unless you are within range. If you are out of range, the only special teams play you have available to you is the punt. There is no option to choose the amount of power you wish to put into the kick, just the ability to choose the accuracy.

Such things like being able to pick someone put and slam them into the ground or leg drops and elbow drops makes me wonder if some of the developers of Blitz were close to the people who developed the #1 wrestling game, WWF Warzone.:)

Difficulty : 85
The AI is not by all means the greatest but it's above average from the games I have played. I have a record of 6-10 in the 16 games I have played so far. Don't get me wrong, I'm not too bad of a gamer, but I should mention that I used teams with good ratings such as the 49ers, Cowboys, Broncos, etc... It takes maybe 2-3 games until you get the way the AI works. It doesn't take an AI as smart as a rocket scientist to tackle someone if players can jump 3-7 yards. :)

Overall : 86
NFL Blitz is not a game for football simulation fans. With the lack of a 16-week schedule, most diehard football fans will be disappointed. However, if just want a smashmouth football game or if you would like a break from the slow paced likes of Madden 99 or Gameday 99, you can't go wrong with NFL Blitz ($28 for a limited time at your local CompUSA) especially if you would like an easy game to play along with all the bone crushing tackles. It makes me wonder why the PC version of NFL Blitz did not include a season mode or a play editor. Having those two features would have made this game more appealing to those football gamers who enjoy a little of simulation and arcade gameplay.

By: James C. 10/8/98

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