Football season if finally upon us and so are the football games. For some this means hours spent in front of the TV, controller in hand, meticulously crafting plays and strategies in Madden or Gameday to get their team to the Super Bowl. There are others that could care less about the whole sport. And there are others still who love football but just can't seem to watch and control everything that is happening on the field in a football video game. The 3rd group will be happy to know that Midway has ported their arcade smash Blitz especially for you.
This game takes the fine sport of football and simplifies it to the point where it plays like a fast and furious arcade game instead of a complicated sports simulation. Each NFL team is made up of 7 players: a 3 man line, 2 receivers, a running back, and a quarterback. On defense you have the line, 2 cornerbacks, 2 line backers, and a safety. The controls are simplified as well reducing a whole configuration down to just 3 buttons, turbo, pass/tackle, and jump. It also uses the Dual Shock controller which makes running around very simple. The first downs are every 30 yards no matter where you start, and each goal is clearly marked. All this makes the learning curve incredibly small so anyone can learn how to play immediately.
As if that was not simple enough, the game comes without refs or rules. If is just hardcore destruction football. This is the second no refs/no rules football game out for the Playstation (next to Xtreme) and it delivers some hard hitting action. If you want to knock a receiver down before he gets the ball, go ahead. Feel like dropping a leg on the QB after a sack, you are more than welcome. Sure this becomes frustrating when all of the players cannot catch any passes because they are all down on the ground, but it forces the player to change the strategy and find plays that split the defense and only throw to the open man. There are a lot of big plays in a game like this, but at the same time it forces you to drive 10 yards at a time as well. Add to this all of the taunts, celebrations, and touchdown dances, and you have got one rockin' game.
As with most games on both two systems, the Playstation has its advantages and disadvantages versus the N64. Since Playstation is a CD based system it has loading time which can take away from the pace of the game. Actually the Playstation version is slightly slower overall as it is with most games. However the Playstation one comes with video - lots of video - most of which you have to earn by winning or by using secret codes. It also has more commentary and clearer sound. Also the Playstation version makes use of its capabilities for detail in graphics which lacks in the N64. Logos look sharper and the grass looks like, well grass. Unlike the N64 version there is no play editor which would not be a big deal if it was not so cool on the N64. Instead there is better sound and video. Very cool features but not as cool as the N64 play editor.
However the fun of Blitz lies not in its simulation aspects (of which it has very few) but in its play. It is more of a fun game than it is a fun football game (Imagine NBA Jam as a football game). Aside from the very basic concepts of run/pass/catch there is not really any football strategy at all. There is no way to work the clock (it stops after every down) and there are no injuries, weather, or rules. If you want more of a football simulation with less players then try Xtreme. If you want more of a fast-paced arcade game then Blitz is the way to go.
NFL Blitz is a game that anyone who ever watched football and enjoyed it should have. Forget about the fact that you are not really good at sports games, or they are hard to control. This is a game for the enthusiast. It reminds me of playing backyard football, but with far more destruction and mayhem. Although, I can't say I jumped on anybody after the play was over. (Okay a couple of times, but they really deserved it.)
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