Genre: Sports Developer: Tecmo Publisher: Tecmo Players: 1-2 Released: 1993
Many football video games have come and gone, but one title that stands as out as one of the best football games is Tecmo Super Bowl on the NES. That game featured quite a bit of realism, options, and stats, yet still featured fast-paced arcade gameplay that made it easy for anyone to pick up and play. In 1993 Tecmo decided to bring their successful pigskin pack to the Genesis, and the addicting gameplay that made it a hit on the NES was left intact here.
Naturally one or two players can take the field, and TSB sports a nice set of features. This game was licensed by both the NFL and the NFL Players Association, meaning you get all the NFL teams and most of the players on the team (during the intro a screen appears saying the rosters were accurate as of August 18, 1993). Not all the players could be featured due to licensing agreements and have generic names, like QB Chiefs. There are three modes of play: an exhibition game, a full season, or the Pro Bowl, pitting the best of the AFC against the NFC. You get your choice of the 28 NFL teams, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Once you (and a friend) pick your teams, it’s down to the field for some exciting football action. Each quarter lasts five minutes, and the standard rules of football apply, so if you’ve seen a game on television you’ll know how it works. You get a choice of eight plays, four running and four passing. You can also customize the playbook with different plays and make substitutions. During the game you’ll have to deal with incomplete passes, quarterback sacks, injuries, fumbles, and so on. Sometimes passes will even get tipped up, giving you the chance at a pick.
Of course most all football games have a season mode, and Tecmo Super Bowl is no different. You can pick a team to control and take them through a whole 17-week season. TSB features the full season schedule, but you can skip most of the games, or you can play as more than one team, and you can switch at any time, just not during games. A battery back-up not only saves your place, but also saves the stats from every game. It even ranks the players based on their performance. If you can post a good enough win-loss record, you’ll get into the playoffs. Win the playoffs and it’s off to the Super Bowl to go for the World’s Championship. Also, you can play one of three seasons: (1991, 1992, and 1993) or you can play through all three years consecutively.
The graphics are okay, for a Genesis cart. While the game may look a little too much like the NES original and the players are a little on the small side, they have pretty good animation. In Tecmo tradition you get some nice cut scenes, such as catches, close plays, kicks, and players celebrating after a touchdown. You even get a cool halftime show, complete with jumping cheerleaders. The cut scenes look pretty good, though the player movement during the clips are a little odd. The audio, on the other hand, gets a penalty. The tunes are just bland, not like the cool background music on the NES cart. The voice clips are scratchy and not that great, again unlike the NES.
Thankfully, the controls work pretty well. For the most part you mainly use the A and B buttons; the C button is only used to select receivers or get touchbacks in the end zone. The directions are also responsive when you need it. The one flaw is you cannot change players on defense once the ball is snapped.
To sum it all up Tecmo Super Bowl won’t give the Madden games much competition. It’s just not as deep and doesn’t have all the options and customization that the aforementioned game does. It would be nice to have special features such as weather conditions and the like. Is it still worth your time? You bet! This is a football game that you can easily get into without having to flip through a 40-page manual learning complex commands. There’s still a lot of stats as well, so stat freaks should be satisfied. Plus it’s faithful to the NES game, so if you enjoyed that version you’ll easily get into its 16-bit cousin. Tecmo later released two sequels on the Genesis, but they messed with the gameplay to make it more “realistic,” and that ruined the series. Bottom line is if you’re looking for a quick football fix, then Tecmo Super Bowl is the game for you.
SCORE: 8 out of 10