LYNX: NFL Football

From: Robert Jung (ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/19/92-11:58:02 PM Z

From: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Subject: LYNX: NFL Football
Date: Sat Sep 19 23:58:02 1992

1-2 players, vertical game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
Stereo? No

    There's no surprises here; NFL FOOTBALL for the Atari Lynx is a portable
version of the American pigskin sport. This is the sport where two teams of
eleven guys each try to carry an oddly-shaped brown ball down a hundred-yard
field into the opposing team's end zone. As a licensed game, all of the real
football teams and logos of the NFL are used, letting players fulfill their
fantasies of managing their hometown favorites. For even more realism, the
card features offensive plays designed by a real NFL coordinator, and game
strategies can be altered in real time as needed. The action takes place from
an overhead perspective, which zooms in and out of the action.


    NFL FOOTBALL had such promise, but falls far short. This game has so many
defects in its implementation that you wonder if anyone bothered to play it
before its release. The good news is that, on offense, almost two dozen plays
are available, and each play can be improvised as needed (pass the ball on a
running play, for instance). A game lasts for four 15-minute quarters, and
two players can compete head-to-head with the ComLynx cable.

    Everything else goes downhill from there. On offense, passes are done by
holding down the "B" button, moving a crosshair to an open receiver, then
releasing the button to throw -- all performed while the opposition rush for
the tackle. Running plays are easy to perform, but they yield little yardage
and become essentally useless. When you have the ball, any touch from an
opponent brings you down, with no chances to spin or break free. The selection
of defensive plays is pitiful, with only six general defenses available, and
there is no easy way to change the defensive player you are controlling.

    Two-player games are inherently more challenging because the computer
opponent is pathethic. The Lynx has no head for strategy, and you can use the
same play repeatedly with no effect. The computer makes up for its stupidity
by making its players run faster than your team; if all your defenders are
behind the ball carrier, it's a guaranteed touchdown. Each session is a
one-game bout, with no provisions for league play, and there is no difference
between teams other than their logos and uniform colors. There are no fouls,
no way to block punts, and many more shortfalls, too numerous to list.

    The graphics on NFL FOOTBALL are clean and identifiable, yet fail to
excite or inspire. The Lynx's hardware scaling is wasted; the screen zooms in
at the end of a play and zooms out to a high overhead shot for kickoffs, but
most of the game is viewed from a static halfway height. It's possible to be
in control of an off-screen player, though it shouldn't have to be. Screen
clips highlight cheering crowds and the referee's calls, but they are simply
animated there's not many of them.

    Sounds are a little better, but not by much. Aside from a title theme, the
game is quiet most of the time, with most of the sounds consisting of a
whistle and the shlup-shlup-shlup of running feet. The digitized voices of the
referee calls are a bit muddled, while the crowd that cheers after each score
is a simple "white noise" effect.

    It doesn't help if football games on other portable game systems are no
more sophisticated than NFL FOOTBALL. The bottom line is that this game is a
futile exercise in boredom, and is certainly not fun to play nor worth the
price asked for it.

                GAMEPLAY:        4.5
                GRAPHICS:        5
                SOUND:           5.5
                OVERALL:         4.5

  Rating values  10 - 8   Great! This game can't get much better.
                  7 - 5   Good. Average game, could be improved.
                  4 - 2   Poor. For devotees only.
                      1   Ick. Shoot it.


  >Sigh< ... First TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL, now this. Must be something about
Atari and football. At least I can ignore it and play PINBALL JAM instead.


   Send whatevers to    |      If it has pixels, I'm for it.
--------------------------------------+------------------------------Lynx up!
"You weren't chosen because you are the best pilot in the Air Force. You were
    chosen because you are the class clown and frankly, you're expendable."

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