When I win the Tecmo Super Bowl, I'm (not) going to Disneyland!
Sports games from back in the day just had that charm, you know? Some didn't even have real teams or player names, but even so, they were a blast to play, alone or with a pal sitting next to you. The Tecmo series of sports games were at their peak back then, with their own style of cheesy, primitive cut-scenes.
[image1]Tecmo Super Bowl makes a return in Tecmo Bowl Throwback, pun totally intended. If you remember playing the sequel to Tecmo Bowl back in the early 1990s, there isn't much to get reacquainted here. You get the same game from almost twenty years ago with a new coat of paint. I know I'm becoming increasingly repetitive with these game reviews for remakes, but the same point can be made with Tecmo Bowl Throwback: It's a game fueled purely by nostalgia.
The new graphical makeover isn't hard on the eyes, adding two options of isometric planes of view at the touch of a button. Even so, the 3D-ish presentation manages to make the game even slower mainly due to added cut-scenes during certain plays, like a quarterback sack or injury, that seem to occur just about every single time. So it gets repetitive within minutes. Also, just like the Secret of Monkey Island, you can switch back to the old visuals on the fly.
Considering EA has had the NFL license for years now, don't expect to play the oldie teams of the 1990s like in the original. Even so, all the team and player stats from the period are there, so if you pick the Atlanta "whatever that logo means", their number 21 wide-receiver will play a lot like Mr. Sanders.
Controlling your players isn't very complex. There are only a couple of buttons you'll have to push in order to get things going. When you're attacking, one button snaps the ball and another throws it if you're passing. Even so, the game manages to get sticky when passing the ball, since instead of actually pointing at whom you want to throw the ball, you have to continuously press a button to do so.
[image2]Your playbook is limited at best. Independent of which position you're playing, there are nine plays to choose from: four pass plays, four run plays, and one dive play. The dive play is practically useless throughout the entire match, unless you're facing the red zone. In that case, you got a 50/50 chance to get an automatic touchdown, when your player dives over the defensive line guarding the end zone.
Playing defense is just a pain in the neck and feels random at best. Picking a play to counter your opponent doesn't seem to make much a difference most of the time. You only get to choose a player to control before the snap and your A.I.-controlled buddies are about as smart as a penny. The gameplay is easy to exploit - a zigzagging running-back can effortlessly make a defensive line look a bunch of stooges, which just becomes frustrating even in the shortest of matches.
Taking your game online doesn't make things better. That is, if you're lucky enough to find someone to play with, since it's already a draught of players out there to choose from. Getting into an actual lobby is another challenge in itself thanks to how unstable the game is. I had matches lock up on me as well - the pitch completely deserted and the other guy sent me messages asking "Did this happen to you too?!".
While Tecmo Bowl Throwback definitely scratches your nostalgia itch (if you have one), it's just plain and not very fun in the long run in this day and age. $10 will only take you so far and I can only wonder why Tecmo would put out a football game in the off-season like this. Let the pig fly... somewhere else.