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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Midway


Ups: It's NFL Blitz, with four-player capability, more plays, a play editor, and the legendary "on fire" feature from NBA Jam.
Downs: Graphics don't exactly burn down the house.
System Reqs:
Sony Playstation
NFL Blitz is, as we all know, a product of pure genius. The muse of video games must have been bloated to delirium on Mountain Dew and Doritos the day she sat down next to somebody at Midway and said "Here’s an idea: let’s make a game that combines the spirit of ‘you go down to the blue Rambler and cut right while we run a triple reverse and then hit you over by the trash cans’ with the speed, size, hardcore hitting and licenses of the No Fun League. Then let’s throw in a dollop of Three Stooges slapstick violence, mix well and crank the whole thing up to eleven." Of this divine inspiration was born NFL Blitz, the game that’s to Madden and GameDay as Warheads are to Milky Ways, as Ginger is to Mary Ann, as Black Flag is to the Beatles.

For those of you who just got out of prison, NFL Blitz is Midway’s arcade football game that features seven-man teams and thirty-yard first downs; there are—as Midway loves to reiterate--no refs, no rules, no mercy. For example, pass interference is not only legal, it’s a necessity, and blindsiding receivers with vicious tackles while the ball’s in the air is as basic a maneuver as the spin move in most games. Games are short, made up of four two-minute quarters—that’s all the normal human heart can take—and very high-scoring. There’s no such thing as a conservative gameplan in NFL Blitz; go for it on 4th and 57? You betcha. Bring the house on 3rd and 1? Oh, yeah. Fumbles and interceptions, high-wire receptions and neck-snapping tackles abound. It all adds up to absolutely manic gameplay and the most fun that’s been associated with the NFL since the Fridge.

Midway has wisely chosen not to mess with near-perfection, and this year’s NFL Blitz looks and plays much like last year’s version. Instead they’ve added some of features that hardcore Blitz players had on their wish lists. The most impressive? Four-player mode. Get yourself a multi-tap, Blitz fans, because now you can team up for games. That means the worthless slackers who sat on the couch drinking your beer and talking smack about your game while waiting their turn to play can now be recruited to sit on the couch drinking your beer and covering your opponent’s wide outs while you blitz.

Another great new feature is the play editor. The original Blitz, for all its strengths, had a pretty limited number of offensive plays, and after a while the game could get—well, not exactly predictable, but something distressingly like it. Forget about that now. Not only does Blitz come with nine new offensive plays right out of the box, but its editor allows you to fiddle with any of the existing plays. Of course, you can also create your own plays as well—on offense and defense—so there’s lots of potential for nasty surprises in Blitz 2000.

The game also includes an "on fire" feature that will bring a smile to the faces of old NBA Jam aficionados—complete three passes in a row to the same receiver, or sack the QB twice, and your team gets a noticeable bump to their speed and power.

Control seems to have been improved over last year’s version, especially in the passing game. The analog picks out receivers nicely, and if you wish you can program the gamepad to use the sort of icon-driven passing mode found in more serious football games. It’s well-implemented, but given the speed of NFL Blitz, I find the directional passing control a lot less of a hassle. Graphics have been improved some, with weather effects and different field conditions added, but Midway’s not pushing the Playstation’s graphic envelope here. There are plenty of animations and the game plays ultra-smoothly, but there’s a grainy look to the PSX version of the game. Since I cut my teeth on the graphically glorious PC version, I can’t help but be a little disappointed. Oh well; guess I’ll get my graphics fix when I review the Dreamcast version of the game for next week. The sound been upgraded as well; there are more humorous comments by the announcers, who are blessedly unconcerned with making inane comments about playcalling, and focus mostly on ragging you and your opponent.

Of course, there’s nothing realistic about NFL Blitz. Besides the surreal gameplay, teams tend to match up pretty evenly. Even though the 49ers are shown with ratings much higher than say, the Eagles, these ratings don’t seem to have nearly as much effect on gameplay as your own actions or even blind freakish luck. But realism isn’t the point of NFL Blitz 2000; the point of NFL Blitz 2000 game is to push your adrenal glands until they’re smoking.

If you’re a NFL Blitz fan, you’ll love the added features of NFL Blitz 2000; they’re well worth your dime. If you’ve never played Blitz, you should, especially if you have even a passing interest in football and possess anything like a sense of humor. The bottom line: NFL Blitz 2000 is one of those things—like reading Tolstoy or learning CPR--that will make you a better human being. The muse of video games does not bestow her gifts lightly.

--Rick Fehrenbacher