Super Bowl
Copyright/Publisher: Ocean Software, Release Year: 1986,
Genre: American Football, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

All the hyp and pomp of the grand finale of this year's American Football season, Super Bowl XX has been captured in Ocean's latest release, Super Bowl. Featuring both teams which played in the final, the Chicago Bears and the New England Patriots, the player is given a chance to replay the final and rewrite recent NFL history...which team will win this time?

The program caters for one or two players, the former played against the computer controlled Patriots team and the latter played as a head to head. Now, we're not going to give a precis of the rules of American Footy here and now, but don't despair if you don't know anything about it. Super Bowl has been designed so that novices can play with ease and the package comes complete with two cassettes, the game and an audio cassette explaining the rules.

The screen is split vertically into two separate parts. The right hand side shows an overhead view of about half the pitch (which scrolls up and down as play moves the ball to opposite ends of the field) and the other gives details on the current situation of play, the team on the offensive, the current down and match time elapsed. There are also two mini video screens which show a close up of the actions of palyers from both teams.

The match is played in four quarters each lasting 15 realtime minutes with a change of end at each quarter and the first and thrid quarters commencing with a kick-off. Controlling the actions of the team is done using a series of pop-up menus from which the player (if playing offensively) sorts out the tactics of play, type of pass and the player to receive (if any). The primary menu gives passing options; long, short, rush play or special play (which leads to a sub menu allowing the player to choose to attempt a punt, field goal or goal line rush).

Each type of play leads to a sub menu allowing further specialised tactics to be dictated. Once the passing play has been set up there is an option which the player select to view what the players will do during the forthcoming play. Once happy with the tactics the player then has to select the player to be placed under his or her direct control during the play.

If two players are playing simultaneously then the defensive tactics are sorted out using the same sort of menu system. From this the defensive strategy to thwart the initial forward movement of the offensive team is decided (eg 3-4-4, 7-1-3 etc). Then individual players can be given instructions to mark certain offensive linesmen. This is another very comprehensive manu whuch has potential for all sorts of defensive tactics. Once that has been settled the player can then choose which player he or she would like to control during the movement.

Now the play can begin proper. A press of the fire button 'snaps' the ball to the quarterback and control of this team member is given to the player. During this time the other members of the team follow the instructions dictated to them by the menu screens. The quarterback can run anywhere on the field and under your control you must guide him through the hordes of players as far as possible before being inevitably tackled.

If a tackle is imminent and the quarterback hasn't passed the line of scrimmange then he can throw the ball by pressing fire button. As long as the fire button is depressed the player can choose which player to throw the ball to, but veru swift action is needed otherwise he'll be tackled. As soon as the ball is thrown the catcher is put under the player's control and the game continues. Care has to be taken when throwing the ball lest the opposition intercept or the catcher fumbles.

During the play the defensive teams allocated player is active and can be moved into an intercepting position or mark a player the controller thinks is on a threatening position.

Punting the ball either at kick-off or during an extra point attempt is done by keeping the button pressed and rapidly moving the joystick up and down. This activates the 'power bar' seen on the left hand side of the screen. The player has to determine how much power is needed to either kick the ball up the field or between the posts.

After every play a window emerges from the left hand side of the screen and replays the whole move using three-quarter screeen high players, just like you'd see on the telly. If you don't want to see a replay then a press of the fire button skips it so the game can be continued.

Julian Rignall
This is an excellent title and well worthy of its official NFL licence. All aspects of American Football have been included in the game and using them is all very easy with its tremendous menu system. Graphically and sonically the game isn't amazing but it scores tremendously high on its playability - you really feel as if you're playing a game of American Football.

The only gripe is that the computer player is a bit easy to beat, but the two player option is brilliant and more than makes up for the computer's deficiency. If you're a fan of this game then go out and get this now, if not try it - not only is it the ultimate American Football simulation, it's also an excellent game in itself.

P.S.
Although being a bit late for the American Super-bowl this game has definitely been worth the wait. Most other attempts at an American Football simulations have tended to lean more towards the strategy side, but Ocean have brought out the exciting fast action features in the game where you can both plan your moves and play them.

Everything is completely joystick controlled and although using the menus is intitially tricky, once mastered, some pretty amazing results can be achieved. The replay screen is brilliant with animation that would make Walt Disney proud! With this and Hardball who needs Nicky Horne and the crew.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 98%
Excellent and easy to use window system and brilliant replay screens.
GRAPHICS 84%
The replay screens are ace but other graphics are rather lacking in any detail.
SOUND 18%
A few crowd noises and little else.
HOOKABILITY 92%
With its tremendous ease to get into you'll be hooked from kick-off.
LASTABILITY 89%
The computer team is rather esy to beat but the two player option is where the game scores highest.
VALUE FOR MONEY 87%
It's cheaper than travelling to the Superbowl....
OVERALL 90%
and just as much fun as the real thing.


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