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NFL Blitz 2001
Platform:  Dreamcast
# of Players:  1 to 4
Developer:  Midway
Publisher:  Midway
Features:  All New Customization
Ratings:  Everyone
Memory Req.:  110 blocks
Info:  http://www.midway.com
As surely as you are going to get candy on Halloween, you are gonna get another Blitz game each fall. If you have one or both of the other Blitz games you may wonder why you need to get the latest one. After playing the new version for a while I am wondering that myself. I guess the easiest answer would be simply that this is new and who wants to be stuck with some old version. Well for those of you who have to have the latest and the greatest I must say that the new version surpasses that of yesteryear but not by that much.
For those of you who have never heard of the Blitz genre of game or football let me give you a brief explanation. (Those of you who have can just skip on down to the next paragraph.) Football is an intense sport with lots of hitting and spectacular plays. However with all of those people on the field and the pesky rules getting in the way and this concern for life, the game has gotten a bit boring. Take away half of the players, all of the rules, and the basic regard for human life and you have Blitz. The idea behind the game is to combine spectacular plays with hard hits, late hits, pass interference hits, and roughing up just about everyone. Sprinkled in are some taunts and name-calling so you have all of the favorite things about football with none of the bore.
Ok so now that we know what has been the case in previous Blitz games, letís take a look at this year. Well you can expect more of the same. A lot more. In fact aside form the new Ramsí uniforms and some new players itís like playing the exact same game as last year. The character models are no different. Most of the moves are the same. Hell, even the taunts sound familiar. The least they could have done was give the guys something new to yell. The only guy with a significant amount of new dialog is the announcer and after two games youíll hear all that he has to say. But you have to get it because its new, right?
What is new are some of the features. There is a mode entitled party games that features four different 1 player games to test your skill. I donít know what kind of a party you would be at where you would play 1 player skill games, but thatís what theyíre called. They include hitting targets and stopping an offensive drive from different points on the field. There is also the option to create players and teams to take with you throughout the season. The better they do, the more points you get to make them even more skilled All this is a stretch to create interest in the new version. Seems to me like they should have focused on improving the basic game and adding more of what makes the game fun instead of trying to make it more sim-like. Blitz is about fast gameplay and exaggerated tackles and passes, not skill points.
The one significant improvement is in the play books. There is an extra page of plays for each team and some of the new plays are really wild. So crazy in fact that you will have a hard time actually following the receivers down the field. No matter what play you call, it looks like the players are just running around aimlessly trying to get open. By the time the ball actually get there the defense has swarmed around the open man making him far less open than when the quarterback threw the ball. Short passes still work the best. Still, it is fun to go all out and watch the receiver complete some impossible catch. One new aspect I like is that the breakaways are actually breakaways meaning that once a receiver breaks, he cannot be caught just like in real football. Nothing was more annoying in the previous versions than making a wide open catch and seeing a safety come from the other side of the field and making the tackle.
So you can pretty much gauge for yourself how much you are going to like this new version of the same game. If you are a huge Blitz fan and new players, uniforms, and the ability to create teams is something you crave then you are gonna probably pick this up no matter what you read about it. However, if you are expecting a huge improvement over last yearís Blitz then donít waste your time. Donít get me wrong I love Blitz. I just wish I could have loved it more this year.


Chris Shade

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