Tecmo Super Bowl
Box Shot
Tecmo Super Bowl
Platform: NES
Publisher: Tecmo
Designer: Tecmo
Genre: Sports
Players: 2 (Simultaneous)
Published Date 1991
Reviewed by: Kurt Kalata

I don't really watch football. I just don't find the appeal of sitting around a television every Sunday for three or more hours watching a football game. There's just other things I'd rather be doing. That's why I was surprised how much I enjoyed Tecmo Super Bowl...it's the football game for people who hate football!

Let's put it this way..if you don't know at least how to play football, then just go away. I'm not going to explain it, but instead explain the features of the game. Tecmo Super Bowl is played at a birds view overhead view. While on offense, passing consists of cycling through possible receivers, finding a good one (if someone is offscreen, they are indicated by an arrow) and then tossing it. Defense simply consists of choosing the player you want to control before the ball is hiked, and then either covering someone or charging toward the quaterback. The way the playbook works is interesting...on offense, you can choose from eight different plays (four running, four passing.) The defensive player is given the exact same set. If they pick the same play as the offense, they'll crush through the line and will almost always sack the quarterback. It's essentially very simple, and very fast paced.

Even though the gameplay is simple, the game tries to be serious by licensing all of the NFL teams circa 1990 and their players. Although some are missing due to licensing agreements (i.e. QB Eagles) you still get Joe Montana, which was ditched in later versions (because of his contract with Sega after this game was released.) Since the game is a bit old, don't expect up to date stats...Montana's still with the 49ers and Simms with the Giants. You can also play season games, using the authetic schedule, although you have to sit through the scoreboard of every game until its your team's turn to play.

There are still some quibbles with the way the game is played though. For instance, although you can throw the ball to someone off the screen, you can't tell whether they're being covered or not...leaving it to an act of faith. If you're on defense, you can't change the player once the ball is hiked...so you're left to trusting the computer players to try and tackle the ballholder if you're too far behind. Finally, there are so many breakaways in this game, that once a certain point is reached, the defense are given a speed boost to catch up. It's not entirely bad though...interceptions don't occur nearly as much as the previous Tecmo Bowl, and there are other features now implemented (onside kicks, injuries, and more.)

The ingame graphics are okay...there's plenty of flicker and the little guys aren't to detailed (but decently animated.) If you've played the original Tecmo Bowl, you'll notice they are a lot smaller, but this actually allows more action on the screen. However, the little video scenes that pop up to denote important actions (a close call, pass block, QB sack) are well detailed, and don't at all get in the way of the action. This is one of the few football games that I know that uses background music, and since its Tecmo, you know its gonna be decent. The music in Preseason mode is awesome, and the rest is pretty good too. The infamous "Face Down! HUT HUT HUT HUT" etc. is still in there, along with some other digitized voices and slams...although some grunts would've been nice. The simple gameplay and control is probably what makes this game so fun... if you've got a good quarterback, a good receiver, and nobody covering the receiver, you've got a good chance that the pass will make it. And running downfield, evading the opposing team, dodging each and every one of their tackle attempts, sure is fun.

Even as a generally nonserious football game, with a compact amount of plays and fast paced action, it still turns out to be tons of fun. Sure, the quibbles are annoying, but it is possible to put up with them. After all, I rate a game on how fun it is...and Tecmo Super Bowl still turns out to be one helluva lotta fun. You can pop the game in for a quick Preseason game and never get tired of it. I never have.