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 "Heres an idea: lets 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 lets 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 thats 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 Midways arcade football game that features seven-man teams and thirty-yard first downs; there areas Midway loves to reiterate--no refs, no rules, no mercy. For example, pass interference is not only legal, its a necessity, and blindsiding receivers with vicious tackles while the balls in the air is as basic a maneuver as the spin move in most games. Games are short, made up of four two-minute quartersthats all the normal human heart can takeand very high-scoring. Theres 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 thats been associated with the NFL since the Fridge.
Midway has wisely chosen not to mess with near-perfection, and this years NFL Blitz looks and plays much like last years version. Instead theyve 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 opponents 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 getwell, 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 wellon offense and defenseso theres 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 aficionadoscomplete 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 years 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. Its 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 Midways not pushing the Playstations graphic envelope here. There are plenty of animations and the game plays ultra-smoothly, but theres a grainy look to the PSX version of the game. Since I cut my teeth on the graphically glorious PC version, I cant help but be a little disappointed. Oh well; guess Ill 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, theres 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 dont seem to have nearly as much effect on gameplay as your own actions or even blind freakish luck. But realism isnt the point of NFL Blitz 2000; the point of NFL Blitz 2000 game is to push your adrenal glands until theyre smoking.
If youre a NFL Blitz fan, youll love the added features of NFL Blitz 2000; theyre well worth your dime. If youve 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 thingslike reading Tolstoy or learning CPR--that will make you a better human being. The muse of video games does not bestow her gifts lightly.