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Ever since the release of Mortal Kombat, violence in video games has been a hot topic. Everyone and their mom has had some kind of conversation that mentioned classic titles such as Mortal Kombat (off with his head!), Doom (yes, kids these days want to kill everybody), and even Super Mario (why did he have to squash all the goombas on the head?). One little gem that happened to slip by these discussions was Mutant League Football, perhaps the best underrated violent game ever to grace a Sega platform. MLF was football at its most primitive, complete with aliens, flying body parts, and the infamous 'kill the ref' play. It's also one of the coolest games ever.
Many years later, violent football games have once again cropped up, only this time they carry the seal of the National Felons… er, I mean Football League. Welcome to the newest iteration of Midway's arcade football series, NFL Blitz 2001!
Blitz 2001 is an adrenaline rush of pure primal football. All the players are getting angry and the time has come to dish out some punishment. Unnecessary roughness is the name of the game in a title with no refs, no rules, and no mercy. You'll have a blast smashing the other team's players like a ripe watermelon.
It's kinda strange, though, how no one ever leaves the field on the stretcher and how every three out of four plays will leave the receiver/defender with an injury to his foot. I guess we all know where their Achilles heel lies.
If a football "sim" a la NFL 2K1 is what you are seeking, you ought to turn elsewhere. Blitz boasts a full-on arcade assault.
The game starts off on the slow side as gamers are met with way too many loading screens, but once the game gets into gear, it's pure lightning. Gameplay runs faster than O.J. Simpson from the LA police department and each play will be completed in the blink of an eye. This style of action makes play calling virtually useless since everything happens so fast.
The demise of play calling also sounds the death knell for one of Blitz's extra features. Designing your own plays would have come in handy if there had actually been enough time to implement them. Oh well, maybe you can just create a play where the entire line dogpiles the ball handler.
Graphically, Blitz does just enough to get the job done. While the graphics don't match the artistry of Visual Concepts, the less realistic look of the players lends credit to the insanely violent gameplay. I wonder what the ESRB would have to say if a realistic-looking Oakland Raiders were to run out onto the field and start bodyslamming the players on the other team (as if they didn't do that already)?
The music in Blitz 2001 is pretty bad and will end up annoying the hell out of you. Almost as annoying as the music is the game's wise guy announcer. He doesn't exactly call the plays; he just makes crack after crack about the players. Someone should remind him that crack kills.
New to the Blitz series is the instant replay cam. Wanna see all your greatest hits? Well, just hit the pause button and get ready to relive all the pain. Even though you can't move anywhere on the field with the camera, this new replay feature is a great addition to the Blitz line of games.
Also new to the Blitz world are the Create a Player and Create a Team options. However, these editors don't really give you that much power to create your own unique teams and players at all. The Player Creator basically allows you modify a player's attributes, position, name, and number. The rest of the options are pretty much garbage. The player skins are few and far between and altering the height and weight of a player do absolutely nothing. The Team Editor basically only gives you the power to shuffle players and uniforms around. Move along people, there's nothing to see here.
Another extra mode included in the Blitz package is called 'Party Games'. This mode breaks down into 3 mini games: 1st and Goal Frenzy, Goal Line Stand, and QB Challenge. These games don't really do anything special and certainly don't seem like they would fit a party better than the normal multi-player mode does.
As with any other sports game, Blitz 2001 is best played with a cold one in hand and a few buddies at your side. With action as fast and furious as this, four players at once is something that can't be missed.
The Dreamcast version of Blitz 2001 does justice to its arcade counterpart. Unfortunately, the extra modes included in the home version don't do anything to make the game better. While this game was a good arcade football game, this Dreamcast version lacks the spit and polish of a great home title.