Up for a game of footbrawl?
Just the other day, I was playing some football against my friends, Steve and Jerry. Steve threw this beautiful long pass towards Jerry, when suddenly I jumped 3 feet into the air and intercepted it. This didn't make Jerry very happy. Jerry's response was to smash my head into the grass, granting me the experience of tasting fresh fertilizer. Lying there, half dead, back broken, Steve came up to me and tried to sell me a Toyota. I told him I wasn't in the market to buy a new car - then he kicked me in the ribs. Bastard.
Okay, so that never happened (but I'll tell my grandkids it did). But for those of you who want to live out such dreams and if you believe football isn't violent enough, there's good ole' NFL Blitz 2000, an update to last year's successful NFL Blitz.
If you aren't in the know, NFL Blitz is the NBA Jam of the football world: classic, all-American football with a minimalist's rulebook. A first down consists of 30 yards, and the teams are 7 on 7. Everything else is a-o-kay: pummel the other team to your heart's content.
So what's new about 2000? Well, a few things. Players can now "catch fire" (no, not literally - but that would be kind of cool) like in NBA Jam, giving them increased abilities and speed. In order to ignite, three successive complete passes must be made or the quarterback/receiver must be sacked twice behind the line of scrimmage.
Also new is Blitz passing, which is similar to 'Icon' passing in other sports games. Different buttons stand for the different receivers, and you just tap the button to pass to the right guy. While this does try to bridge the gap between arcade and simulation, the familiar D-pad aiming technique found in the first Blitz still seems more natural.
Another simulation element is the ability to create your own plays with a play editor. The play editor is now available on all versions of Blitz; previously, this option was only available on the N64.
Single player mode, like any other arcade style sports game, is fun for only so long. The computer will give you a good game, though often times it plays pretty cheap. There's a Season mode that allows you to set up a series of games throughout a season of football. Nice inclusion, but can get boring way too fast...
The fun really starts when you try to whup some multi-player ass. All versions of Blitz now employ a 2-4 player mode, missing from last year's 2 player Blitz on the Playstation and N64. When two human players control the offense, they switch between receiving and passing. This allows for a fairer game. Defensively, each human chooses one of the defensive linemen to control. This addition is the most worthy of all the updates to the game.
The Dreamcast version does sport the smoothest animations and best looking backgrounds. But it falls short when compared to that 'other' football game, NFL 2K. Of course, this is hardly a fair comparison. Blitz on the Dreamcast does beautifully translate the arcade version... but could it have been even better?
As you'd expect, there's a constant barrage of announcer and player one-liners. Linebackers dish out funny insults the quarterback whines about lack of coverage. The announcer has some clever lines, but he can get very annoying. Musically, there's this constant pseudo hip-hop loop in the background that should have been left out.
The addition of the four-player mode gives NFL Blitz 2000 a significant advantage over last year's version. If you're after a deeper football game or something that you can play alone, getting Blitzed isn't the right choice (the right choice is NFL 2K). But if arcade style football is your thing and you plan on having your whole crew over for a party, this game should make you happy.