|Tecmo Super Bowl|
|Platforms||NES, SNES, Genesis|
|Genre||Classic Console Football|
|MtAMinutes to Action||1|
|Score||8 Gameplay: 8
Fun Factor: 9
|Buy from Amazon|
Tecmo Super Bowl is a classic football game for the NES. With the real Super Bowl airing tomorrow night, I've decided to post my first hour review of Tecmo Super Bowl a few days early. This won't be a typical review though, as I've played the game to death, I'm going to perform some Super Bowl predictions with the 17 year old game and pit the New England Patriots against the New York Giants. This is tomorrow's Super Bowl matchup but obviously these teams are very different than what they were when this game came out, so don't place any bets off the outcome!
Post-game results: Tecmo Super Bowl predicted the winner! Not even Madden picked them right!
A little about the game before we get started, Tecmo Super Bowl was the sequel to... Tecmo Bowl, and though that game was very good, Super builds and improves on the original in nearly every way. We now have 30 man rosters instead of 20 and Tecmo Super Bowl also featured 11 men on each side of the ball for every play, where Tecmo Bowl only had 9. It also was one of the first games to use real players and real teams, quite the feat back then as they were breaking new ground (actually, quite the feat now too since EA has a crappy monopoly on the NFL and the NFLPA). Anyways, Tecmo Super Bowl is a great game and I have some wonderful childhood memories of it.
Doing a little research, I've found something interesting: there are only a few players in the game that are still active (five to be exact), and two of them are playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday! Junior Seau played for the San Diego Chargers in Tecmo Super Bowl and now plays for the New England Patriots; and Jeff Feagles played for the Philadelphia Eagles and now is the punter for the New York Football Giants! That's pretty amazing the longevity these guys have (and the great timing of their careers).
Let's get to the game now, here's the first hour of Tecmo Super Bowl and a pre-enactment of Super Bowl XLII. By the way, I am well aware I can download updated ROMs with current rosters but I'm trying to review the original game just like it was meant to be played. In my commentary though I'll replace the old timers with their current counterparts, just to make things... interesting.
(minutes are in bold)
00 - I hit start and the hour begins. I guess I have to go Preseason to get the matchup I want... I'll play as the Giants against the computer playing as the Patriots.
01 - Ha, I win the toss! I'll take the ball! I manage to return the opening kickoff to about my 40 yard line. Time to show the Patriots who owns Arizona!
02 - Whoops, I throw a pass out of bounds when I have a man wide open down the sideline. I think I forgot how to play!
03 - Oh man, these guys do not have any kind of secondary, expecting me to rush on 3rd and 10? I throw a long bomb for an easy touchdown... Hmm... 7-0.
04 - My kickoff goes deep and the ball's at the 20 for the Patriots. Oh, an interception and the Giants have the ball back! Tom Brady's ankle must really be affecting him.
05 - Five minutes in and the score is 14-0. A run up the middle by Brandon Jacobs.
06 - My kickoff pins them at their own 10 yard line. Brady throws one out of bounds as I bring the pass rush. Then he way overthrows the next one.
07 - Ouch, a quarterback sack nails them to their own one. Geez, the Giants are really good!
09 - The first quarter ends with me making a mad dash up the middle and then getting tackled. 14-0, Giants.
10 - Oh man, Eli Manning gets intercepted on the Patriots' 1 yard line! Bad Eli, bad!
11 - Well, things just aren't going Bill Belichick's way as Lawrence Maroney fumbles it and I run it in for an easy touchdown. 21-0. I pin them down again within their 20 yard line with the kickoff.
12 - Brady tries to take it himself but gets crushed at the line of scrimmage. An incomplete pass and a weak run from Maroney leads to another punt.
13 - Too bad the game doesn't let you try to block punts, that would be awesome.
14 - First down on the Patriots' six already. Touchdown! 28-0
15 - Brady calls a timeout as he gets sacked again within his five yard line. Oh man, as the first half runs out of time, Maroney gets away down the sideline but I'm able to chase him down! Phew!
16 - Oh crap! Awesome half-time show with some white underwear showing on the cheerleader! Nice! Hope this isn't the Janet Jackson incident all over again!
17 - It's 28-0 as the half begins and I'm kicking off.
18 - Dang, Tom Brady breaks loose and scrambles for a first down. Then a pass incomplete to Randy Moss with some tight coverage from R.W. McQuarters.
19 - Brady runs for another first down. The Golden Boy has got to go down! Ah, but Maroney fumbles again and the Giants recover.
20 - Eli! Stop overthrowing! Ahmad Bradshaw runs for a first down.
21 - Oh man, the Patriots' defensive line finally shows up and blitzes me hard! Eli goes down like a sack of potatoes. Eli overthrows another man wide open. 3rd and 22 to go.
22 - I try the unexpected on third and long and go for a run. I get stopped a few yards short though and have to kick a field goal. 31-0.
23 - Aw crap, I biff the kick and the Patriots have awesome field position on the Giants' 35 yard line. Maybe they'll actually score. Brady literally bounces off his own offensive line a few times and then gets sacked. Whoops.
24 - Holy crap! The Golden Boy fumbles and I pick it up and start hauling with it. I'm literally throwing Patriots off of me quite violently until I finally get taken down on their 30. Nice.
25 - Well, I take quick advantage of the turnover and as the third quarter ends, I rush in for the touchdown with Jacos. 38-0 Giants.
26 - Well, I pooch the kick on accident again but this time I recover, just as if I was doing an onside kick. Belichick must be furious right now (and Tom Coughlin stunned).
27 - Brandon Jacobs is running down the sideline like a runaway truck!! But he gets taken down... too bad. On the next play, Manning is able to escape the blitz but ends up throwing it at two Patriots players deep! Good thing they can't catch.
28 - Eli and his receivers are completely inept and can't catch anything. I have to kick a field goal, 41-0 (if only...).
29 - Moss dramatically dives for the ball... but misses. Too bad sucker.
30 - Haha, Brady throws it wildly in the stands and the receiver runs over the people to try and get it. They're now going for it on 4th and 6 with just over two minutes to go. And they're stuffed.
31 - Now should I just sit on the ball and let the clock run out...? Nah, not against the team that ran up the score all year. Ah, Plaxico Burress with the touchdown. 48-0.
32 - With just 30 seconds left, they manage to get a first down. Then Brady has all the time in the world to throw it and just tosses it away. A sack places them at third and long for the last play of the game.
33 - Well, that's all she wrote! The Giants have won Super Bowl XLII 48-0 in a complete domination over the Patriots.
34 - Well, since i have 26 minutes left, I think I have enough to play a little role reversal. This time, I'll be playing Tom Brady and leading the charge for my 4th Super Bowl ring. I win the coin toss again and elect to receive.
35 - Maroney runs for a first down. At least he didn't fumble. Oh man, Moss drops a pass that would have resulted in a touchdown!
36 - And Brady gets intercepted in the endzone. Wow.
37 - The Patriots' defense seems all right though as I force Eli to a three and out. What the... that was seriously like a 70 yard punt from Jeff Feagles, I'm down within my own 10!
38 - The Giants blitz relentlessly and force Brady to throw another interception. Eli's got it on our 20.
40 - As the first quarter ends the Giants score... I'm sad. 7-0 Giants.
41 - I get intercepted again when being blitzed. That's three in the first half!
42 - Hey, a break! I force the Giants to kick a field goal and they miss! It was a long one though, more than 50 yards.
43 - Okay, seriously. Did Brady vacation in Los Cabos or something because I just tried throwing to a wide open Randy Moss and he threw it way off to the left and was easily intercepted. I'm angry.
44 - I don't know why I'm picking pass defense plays as I keep getting ripped for long runs.
45 - I force them to kick another field goal but this time they're successful. 10-0 Giants.
46 - Ugh, time runs out in the half as I'm finally making my way down field. Too bad. The half-time show was even more awesome this time though. Lots more babes instead of just fat guys doing the wave. Got to see the panties again too! And one girl in a sports bra blew me a kiss. Nice.
48 - Frak, another long run from Brandon Jacobs gives the Giants their second touchdown. 17-0, but I did almost block their kick!
49 - Nice run from the kickoff! I'm down to their 30 yard line.
50 - Oh my... I reach their 10 yard line and then Maroney fumbles. Giants recover.
52 - It's nice that the defense can run faster than any running back, or they would have just scored another touchdown. The third quarter ends at 17-0.
53 - Two blitzes from me puts them at 4th and 26 (ugh...) and I force them to kick a field goal, and they miss again! Yay. This time it bounced off the left upright!
54 - And to top all that off, Brady throws his fifth interception. At least I can late hit Eli without repercussion. Oops, another touchdown from their RB, Ahmad Bradshaw. 24-0, Giants.
55 - YES! Tom Brady and Randy Moss finally connect for a touchdown that puts the Patriots on the board!
56 - Time for an onside kick attempt... It fails and all the Giants have to do now is run out the clock.
57 - But instead they decide to rub it in and throw for a touchdown. Eli to Plaxico. My own touchdown is quietly erased. 31-7, Giants.
59 - Not one to give up, Brady throws a long bomb as the final seconds tick away though, it's knocked incomplete though in the endzone, and the game ends. The Giants have once again defeated the Patriots, this time with a final score of 31-7. The Giants knocked me around for 205 rushing yards while Brady threw for just 148.
60 - It's pretty obvious the New York Giants are one of the dominant teams in Tecmo Super Bowl, as the teams' stats are based off their 1990 season... the year the Giants last won the Super Bowl (the game actually ended on a missed field goal by the Bills' Scott Norwood - Wide Right). And if you're wondering, the New England Patriots went 1-15, by far the worst team in the league and almost virtually opposite of their perfect 16-0 season this year. By the way the Giants whooped the Patriots in both simulated games, I think Tecmo did a pretty good job on those stats. Well, that's it for the first hour of Tecmo Super Bowl and my pre-enactment of Super Bowl XLII!
Time for some scores out of 10.
Minutes to Action: 1
It was interesting being able to play as both a really good team (Giants), and a really bad team (Patriots) as I experienced a wide range of success and failures. This is what makes Tecmo Super Bowl such a great game, the developers spent a lot of time working on balance and letting the stats influence the game in just the right way (even if they did get out of hand at times). The Patriots' quarterback was downright horrendous and constantly overthrew the ball or missed his target widely. This may be an over the top caricature of their QB at the time, but when you have an arcade-like setting and the seconds ticking by super fast, some things just have to be worked into the game. The Giants' running game on the other hand was stellar and was able to break blocks and tackles with ease.
Controlling Tecmo Super Bowl is a breeze, one of the unique things about it is the play selection screen. Both the offense and defense are looking at the same set of eight plays, four pass and four rush. If the defense picks the same play as the offense, they get a mad blitz on the quarterback that usually results in a sack. However, if the offense picks pass and the defense picks rush, the wide receiver will probably net a lot of yards. This makes for a great cat and mouse game between you and your opponent, even if I did rely on the rush a lot as the Giants and the pass as the Patriots (had to make up those points quick!).
Fun Factor: 9
This game is so much fun, it just plays tremendously well for being a 17 year old football game. There have been how many Maddens since then? And how many of those would I rather play than this game? The answers to those are "a lot" and "zero". Sure, Tecmo Super Bowl doesn't have quarterback vision or career mode as the punter, but it is easy to pick up and play while being deep at the same time. The games are fast and fun too, I was into my first game within one minute and managed to finish two complete games in an hour (while writing commentary to boot).
Graphics and Sound: 7
The thing that surprises me the most about Tecmo Super Bowl is the number of sprites on the field. We have 11 players on each team, so that's 22 sprites, and then we've got the football, the goalposts, cheerleaders, and first down markers. That's a lot of characters drawn on the screen, the problem is, only eight sprites can be updated at a time on the NES, so you get quite a bit of flicker when there's a lot of action going on. This is disappointing as it can be quite distracting when trying to navigate your running back through a defensive line. The game does feature some cool cutscenes though when an important play is happening, and there are at least two different half-time shows that are animated nicely. The sound in Tecmo Super Bowl is classic: the "hut hut hut hut hut hut hut" before each play is something I will never forget. The sound effects are not necessarily realistic, but they fit the arcade style of play.
If Tecmo Super Bowl was more like real life, we'd be treated to hours and hours of hype and speculation before the Big Game, where talking heads try to create stories around nothing. Thank God Tecmo Super Bowl is not like real life. This score of zero is probably the best score this game can get, because once you start injecting sports games with stories, well, the results are not pretty. The interesting thing is, sports stories work in just about every other medium (film, books, comics, TV, etc.), but not games. Some things are better left alone.
You may say I'm looking back at this game with rose-colored glasses but it's honestly such a fun game to play. It also has solid gameplay and decent graphics for its time. Modern football games look and play so much different than Tecmo Super Bowl, but if you ask me, this is the genre defining game. Great fun to play for twenty minutes or much longer and it will probably be more entertaining than the Super Bowl itself. This is the best football game I have ever played, the only other that comes close is NFL Blitz. Give it a try and play for an hour, you'll love it.