Genre: Sports Developer: Tecmo Publisher: Tecmo Players: 1-2 Released: 1994
Sold Out! That’s what you might have discovered if you were looking for this game in 1994. Tecmo Super Bowl II: Special Edition is the forgotten middle child in the trilogy of great Tecmo football games that came out on the Nes, Genesis, and SNES, as Tecmo underestimated the popularity of their football franchise with a lower print run. The game quickly sold out and many fans were left without a copy. Tecmo later issued a letter to fans of the game who couldn’t find a copy stating that there would be no more copies made because Tecmo Super Bowl III: Final Edition would be out shortly. Chances are you might have played it as a rental, which is where many of the copies went, or perhaps you were lucky enough to own a copy. These days, it’s one of the rarer Genesis sports titles and will probably cost you more than you’re use to paying for a sports game.
This game was a complete overhaul of the previous Tecmo Super Bowl game on the Genesis, though the departure from the previous format upsets more Tecmo Bowl fans now than it did upon release. Back then, the new features were supposed add new depth and realism into the football playing experience. The field view was put into perspective that really seemed to do little good (or bad) for the game. The simple controls had always been what made the Tecmo Bowl games great and the simplicity is still there, with very few functions to figure out. The gameplay controls are a little slower and you won’t be able to zig and zag your way down the field the way you use to in older editions. The game is tougher than previous Tecmo Bowls but not so tough that you can’t drop an 87-yard TD bomb on your opponent.
Animations of your player hopping out of tackles and dragging opponents have been added to the in gameplay along with all new cut scenes. The cut scenes and overall graphics of the game may seem a bit dated but hold up better than most football games on the Genesis. The cut scenes in this version are some of the best and I especially like the sack and long bomb pass animations. You will also get special animations for achieving 100yds rushing, 150yds receiving, and 300yds passing in a single game.
The menus are the worst in the series (not that they were ever that great) and are really lacking. A giant American flag with tacky gold plates makes up the selection screens. Season mode’s stat tracking has been where this series has always shined and though it has changed a bit, it still gives you some of the best season stat tracking on the Genesis and introduces a new NFL records section. In this area you can try to break records such as Marino’s 48 TD’s in a season (do it years before Manning ever did). You also have the choice at the beginning of a season to have trade weeks. This is a nice addition and adds to the season mode. The computer will only except fair trades though, so don’t go trying for a Pro Bowl team or you’ll end up with no trades at all. At the end of the season you also get treated to an All-Pro player team, offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year, and MVP awards.
The music in my opinion is at its best in this version. It’s one of the features that really set this game apart from Tecmo Super Bowl III that gets rid of in game music all together. The organ -style music might grow old on some but the variation of tunes should lessen the blow. The music changes for just about every situation in the game: offense, defense, returning kicks, intercepting, fumbles, touchdowns, pro bowls, playoffs, and Super Bowls all have different music.
So is it worth hunting down this rare Genesis sports title? Probably not. While it’s a solid football game that won’t disappoint, it offers very little that the easier-to-find successor doesn’t. The only things you’ll find in Special Edition that you won’t in Final Edition is in game music and different cut scenes.
SCORE: 7 out of 10