TV Sports Football
Copyright/Publisher: Cinemaware, Lead programmer: Daniel Lucas, Programmed By:
Graphics by: Ken Hard, Sound Effects By: Jim Simmons, Game Tester:
James Maxwell, Producer: Patrick
Cook, Executive Producer: Phyllis & Bob Jacob,
Release Year:1989, Genre: Am.Football, No Of Players: 1-28
Hail Mary: it's been no rush release, but it certainly ain't gonna bomb!
Almost a year after the Amiga original appeared (90% Issue 47) TV Sports Football
has touched down on the C64. This gridiron sim includes most of the features of
the original except the 'Team-mates' (two player vs computer) option, team and
player statistics, and fumbles.
Mirroring America's NFL, the Cinemaware Football League has 28 teams contesting
six divisions in the hope of reaching the play-offs, and ultimately the Cinemaware
Bowl. At the start of the season, any team can be edited to alter the players'
names and abilities (speed, strength, handling, agility) and change team ownership
- making it computer or human controlled. Changes are saved onto a blank disk
which is also used for saved games.
Both league and exhibition (friendly?!) matches start with the coin toss - the
winners choose whether to kick of receive the ball at the automatically-taken
Before each play the playcalling screen appears, allowing both offence and
defence to select from a variety of plays, using a combination of two joystick
moves to choose the formation and the way the offensive players will run (shown
by tactical diagrams)/defence will behave (blitz, or prepare for pass or inside/
outside run.) To add extra variety, the mirror image of any offensive play can be
selected by pressing fire with the relevant direction.
After both players have selected, it's onto the scrolling, overhead-view field
for the play. Before the snap (start of the play), the positions and assignments
of defensive players can be altered (blitz or man-to-man). The ball can be snapped
by the offence in one of two ways: pressing fire causes the quarterback to hand the
ball to a running back at the earliest opportunity.
Alternatively, pull back on the joystick and thew quarterback falls back a couple
of yards, ready to make a pass. When he's in the throwing positions, the
quarterback can be rotated left/right to aim the pass.
Holding down fire causes
him to throw the ball, a cross gradually moving up the field to indicate where
the ball will land - release fire to stop the cross. If a receiver is near enough
he may catch the ball. However, care must be taken as the ball can also be
intercepted by defensive players.
As soon as the ball is either handed off or successfully passed, the rusher/receiver
will immediately start running upfield - you can take over his control by moving
The offence gets four downs (plays) to advance the ball ten yards, in which case
they get a first down and start the process all over again. However, if they don't
make the distnace the ball is turned over to the defence - so teams usually kick
the ball upfield on fourth down.
There are three ways of scoring points: a touchdown, field goal, or safety
(tackling an offensive player in his own endzone). Field goal (and point-after-touchdown)
attempts are viewed from behind the kicker and can be taken manually or automatically.
American Football beats cricket for slowness, with apparently endless time-outs and
a circuit-fusing degree of ridiculous complexity. But edited highlights make a
convincing case for the drama hidden within, a great mix of action and tactical
planning which Cinemaware have captured quite perfectly.
The most amazing thing is the fast, slick animation of the beautifully detailed
footballers themselves; it really is very close to the Amiga original and seems
to me to play even faster.
Combined with the superlative intro sequences, this graphical fineness goes a
long way to getting even haters of the sport, such as myself, into the game. Planning
which play to make, then actually executing it provides a compelling tactical/arcade
I certainly enjoyed it, especially sending buffalo-like linebackers crashing into
Phil's quarterback. At £20 with hour-long matches, there's no denying you need
a degree of patience and determination to get the most of the complex product, but
it's another great C64 game and an amazing conversion by Alien Technology Group -
obviously a superior bunch of programmers!
What an excellent conversion this is. The game plays almost identically to the
Amiga version with a great variety of running and passing plays to choose from.
Graphics are also very good with detailed player sprites moving surprisingly fast
considering there's so much happening on the field.
The overhead view is much clearer than the side-on one used in 4th And Inches,
and gameplay is far superior with full control over the quarterback and, when the
ball is passed/handed off, the receiver/rusher.
My only minor niggle is that I couldn't get the quarterback to manually roll
left/right and pitch the ball out to a running back (one of my favourite moves on
the Amiga). This means that your opponent can't be fooled by a fake run before a
pass (a 'play action').
But this is a minor flaw in an otherwise amazing conversion. Even though it
lacks the original's graphical interludes and detailed statistics, TV Sports Football
is by far the best American Football sim on the 64, brilliantly combining arcade
action and strategy. A must for any gridiron fan.
This puts the chronic ST version to shame! Both graphically and playwise it bears
a much closer resemblance to the classic Amiga game. Okay, so some of the more
razzmatazzy aspects are missing (especially cheerleaders, boo hoo!), but more
importantly the excellent core of the game has been kept perfectly intact.
Both strategy and arcade skills are tested to the full - you'll need both to
beat some of the very intelligent computer teams - and the league offers an immense
long-term challenge. The game is complex (just like the sport) and each match
takes well over an hour - this certainly isn't a game you can pick up and play
for a few minutes now and then.
However, the reward of learning how to pass
efficiently and intelligently choose plays is a huge sense of achievement. In fact
TV Sports Football is an excellent introduction to the sport, as well as the most
perfect conversion of the sport any existing gridiron fan could hope for.