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ESPN Sunday Night NFL

Genre: Sports Developer: Sony Interactive Studios Publisher: Sony Interactive Studios Players: 1-2 Released: 1994

Ugh, remember how I said that National Hockey Night was the only good ESPN sports game and the rest of them were mostly mediocre (actually, I said that that game felt like hockey was slapped on it)? Well, mediocrity for this game is a crap shoot. I guess this game could be mediocre if everything fell into place perfectly every time you played it, but how often does that happen, no matter what game you play? It doesn’t really ever happen and for a game to need you to have a perfect experience every time you play it pretty much means it has some major flaws. And this game has some flaws, pretty big ones in fact… like really big., enormous. Ya gotta trust me.

I love Sunday Night NFL on TV a great amount (now known as Football Night in America) It’s always fun to flip between that game and Family Guy on Sunday nights. I popped this game in after reading a question on our forum’s football thread, and boy could you write a book about all of the problems I found while playing this. Don’t worry though, it’s not as bad as Pro Quarterback, but the fact is that this feels like a bad company’s miserable football game with Chris Berman and ESPN slapped on it. Yyou turn on the game, and see that wacky company logo, and you just know its bad news. Why do we sports guys always get stuck with the crappy games? I mean, two of the three companies involved I have heard of, Absolute and Sony Imagesoft, but those are two companies I don’t look to to provide great sports games. We are in for a trip, guys. Hold on.

Ugh, let’s get to the gameplay. You turn it on and you see the cool mid 1990s Sunday Night NFL logo slide in. Yeah, that’s cool. Alright, off on the right foot (smart Genesis football gamers know that that doesn’t mean jack)! Immediately after getting past all of that hoopla, you get to the menu area. The basic things are presented, game type, whether you want to play home or away, and team selection are available at the offset. Okay, I’m playing as Detroit. After pressing start like instructed, you get more expanded options such as the ability to turn off delay of game or pass interference. Why would you want to do that? That doesn’t make any sense to me. I have played this game with penalties on for a while now and I have never incurred a penalty. Anyway, this is one of the first games that I remember to let the teams have their actual skill level or have them be on a level playing field. So if your like me, or any other Detroit Pretty Kitties fans, we are in luck.

Okay, now we go to the epic fail “moving the sprites” mouth open and closed to make it look like they are talking. Thus begins the avalanche of crap. Get into the game, choose your kick type like any normal game and it begins. It has a really awkward kick meter and once the player kicks the ball, the camera doesn’t change angles! You can’t see where the kick team is coming from! Good luck getting more than ten to fifteen yards on each return. Little do you know that the real hell is about to be unleashed upon us paper bag-headed fans.

Once you are tackled, you go to the play select screen and it seems like a battle plan to figure out what play you want. It’s so.. broken and annoying to figure out what play you want. You have to hit buttons in sort of a three-by-three grid and then hit another button and just have to keep hitting buttons until your guys break the huddle. I have worked on it for a while and it takes some mental math to figure it out. There is just no fun in that whatsoever, and then we get to the gameplay. On defense, it’s not hard to figure out how things work. B shuffles through the players and you go from there.

It’s just so broken and not worth the time to try to figure it out. I think more than just the confusing and bland play selection is that the basic engine for this game is pretty poor too. The field graphics are awful too! The “grass” looks like the fuzz on the TV turned green, and the lines on the field are way too thin. This game just really sucks. Is it as bad as Pro Quarterback? There is no way that it is, but it sure is an awful experience. Don’t get excited that this game says ESPN on it, just don’t play it. Don’t even think about thinking about playing this game.

SCORE: 3 out of 10

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