Ooo, that play just didn’t work!
It’s fourth down and goal, 5 seconds left on the clock, you’re down by 5
points, and the opponents know all your plays. What do you do? Simple!
Look into your personal playbook and use a play that you created instead.
NFL ’97 attempts to go where no football game has successfully gone before:
into the coaches room. With very few differences, most football games have been
pretty much the same. They succeed or fail with the smoothness of the play
and the number of options that they offer. People need a gimmick to buy the
newest football game, and NFL ’97 has provided it in the form of the
playmaker. First, however, we must look at the other aspects of the
The graphics are pretty good in NFL ’97, but they could be better.
The players are larger than they are in most of the football games we have
seen recently. Of course, the players celebrate when they make a good
tackle or score a touchdown; nothing that we haven’t seen before. They
also don’t seem as smooth as they could have been. I hate to mention the
opening sequence as part of the game, but the video (FMV) quality just isn’t
very good. I know that they have to compress the data of the video, but
does Sega have to do it on all their games? They also need to pay more attention to their color palette. Maybe they should sacrifice
the room for quality FMV or just not have it at all.
Electing not to go with pass ‘windows’, NFL ’96 simply marks each
possible receiver with a letter corresponding to a button on the
controller. Press that letter, the ball goes to that man (What’ll they
think of next!). You can also throw independently of the receiver. When
you press the pass button, it gives you a tracking line of the ball’s
prospective flight. Adjust the line to where you want it, and let the
pigskin loose. You can then take control of one of the receivers and break
the coverage to catch the ball. You can also throw away the ball to avoid
an oncoming tackle. This is an excellent addition and we’ll
probably be seeing more of it in the coming year of football games.
You ever wanted to design your own football team and fill it with the best
players of the league? Well, NFL ’97 allows you to do so. With a
team maker option, you can have Jerry Rice on any team you wish. Forget
the experts top choices, now you get to see who makes it to the
Now, on to the playmaker. Tired of being an armchair quarterback when you
really want to be an armchair coach? Well, here’s your chance. Although
the playmaker is a little limited in its scope, it is still fun to play
around with. Even somebody who doesn’t know the difference between a 4-3
and a shotgun setup can create a successful play. The first limitation is
the fact that you can only create offensive plays. You’re not allowed to design
the ultimate blitz in which all your players squash the quarterback into
paste. Second, you can only choose setups and running routes from a set
number of paths. If you have a revolutionary way to setup an offensive
line, forget it. You’re stuck with the basic line formations. While these
two limitations seem rather annoying, they actually aren’t that bad. With the simplifications of line setup and
running patterns anybody from age five to eighty can design their own play without having to go to coach’s school.
The play maker was an excellent first attempt for NFL ’97, and we’re
sure to see an even better one next year.
All in all, NFL ’96 is a good game. With all the players, the
teams, and the plays, it is a lot of fun for sports lovers everywhere. The
playmaker was an excellent addition and the perfect gimmick to draw in coaching enthusiasts, or get regular sports fans to replace their previous football game.