Genre: Sports Developer: Park Place Productions Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1-2 Released: 1991
It was the year 1991, and Sega was just beginning to take control of the gaming market, as well as find itself as a prominent gaming company. Being in the second year of the Genesis’ prominence, the system had yet to have a football game in its library. We now know that Sega was basically pulling their hair out to get this title released for the 1990 Christmas season. However, now in 2007, is Joe Montana Football enough fun to sack the competition?
Lets start the festivities from the moment when the system is turned on. A big picture of Joe Touchdown is there and you hear one of the better voice examples proclaiming “Welcome to Joe Montana Football!” which personally is my favorite voice example for any game on the Genesis. After that, the player enters the screen where you can choose all of the options of the game. For 1991, this is about as expansive as options get. The player can choose from Exhibition, Sega Bowl (as I like to call it: The Sega Bowl Championship), and a two-minute drill to test how fast your offensive reflexes are. The player can also choose game length, whether penalties are on or not, and whether he is playing with a friend or not.
Choosing a team in this game is quite possibly the key ingredient to victory in this game. The game divides the teams into “categories” of the qualities of the teams available for play. The qualities range from a fair team (bad team) (Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Detroit, Denver) a good team (lower tiered mediocre squad) (Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston, Cincinnati) a strong team (upper tiered mediocre squad) (Kansas City, Washington, Chicago, Miami); and the teams you will have problems with who are the best in this game, and are nearly impossible to beat with any of the teams already mentioned or “Top-notch” (Buffalo, New York, Los Angeles (Raiders), and my team of choice, San Francisco).
In this reviewer’s opinion, this game plays exactly like electronic table football. The players all slide around fairly easily though the control is near picture perfect. Choosing a play is as simple as ever, simply because the plays don’t have weird names attached to them that are sometimes confusing. With that, if the player does not feel like picking a play, they can just pick the recommended play (Joe’s play). If the opposing team is at a weaker level, it is easier to break through the line on both sides of the ball and rack up some ridiculous stats, such has sacking the quarterback twenty-four times in a game or block ten punts in a game. This reviewer once threw for over eight hundred and fifty yards against Tampa Bay with San Francisco.
I think that the parity between the teams in this game is one of its problems. When playing the Sega Bowl, the player may find that the first two or three rounds are extremely simple and then go ahead and get smoked by either New York or Buffalo, because none of the other teams are even half as good as them. Also, another thing I dislike about this game is how there are no weather changes at all. Every game is clear and sunny – no rain, wind, or snow at all throughout the entire event.
When it comes to the aspects of gameplay that are somewhat detrimental to the enjoyment of this game, there are a few that lower this game from the ranks of the top of the Genesis library. When you are playing against a team with strong skill position players (QB, RB, WR), It is ridiculously difficult to tackle them with less than three players unless he is perfectly contained within the line of scrimmage. Also, there is no way of gauging kicks, whether they are kickoffs or field goals. The only way to figure it out is to direct them with the D-pad before you kick it and after you snap it. Though it’s just not precise enough, is it being kicked as far as it can be, or as straight? There is just no way to make it exact, its all general.
After playing this game for several hours over the past ten or so years, I have decided that this is the second best football game available for the Genesis, behind only Tecmo Super Bowl for eternal enshrinement in the Sega football trophy case. The fun in this game that I have had playing and reviewing it outweighs everything that is not exactly perfect with this groundbreaking title. This title is quite a gem in the Genesis library and is totally worth the money spent picking it up and tossing a few touchdowns with your friends. Just don’t forget to run the score up on them either.
SCORE: 8 out of 10