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NFL Blitz
Review By: Jesse Mason
Developer:   Midway
Publisher:   Midway
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   Sports
ESRB:   Everyone

NFL Blitz is a very funny game. Not only did it, a small little $2,000 arcade machine, manage to beat the heck out of all those $12,000 skateboard, skiing, etc. "simulators" but it manages to beat the heck out of all those realistic football games out there to become the best football game ever. And now we have near flawless ports to the home systems.

Blitz is just like regular football with 30 yard first downs (which are easy to get), seven player teams, super human elements, and no rules. It's the football successor to NBA Jam. The remarkable part is that in many ways it manages to be more realistic than the simulations. For example: the most important simulation feature of a football game is tackling. Otherwise, everything just goes up in the air (witness NFL Gameday '99).

Although Blitz may have adrenalized the tackling, it still is a lot better than in simulations. Look at how it is not nearly impossible to dodge tackles by side stepping them or how diving does not necessarily mean the guy will go down. And how when the ball is caught, the reciever does not immediately go down. Or how the players don't just stand there and push the guy down. Of course, Midway takes a few liberties with the system. Pass interference is not only allowed, but it is encouraged and an integral part of the defense. And there's no such thing as uneccessary roughness.

But even folks who managed to get tackling and passing and every football element down perfectly will fail if the balance isn't there. Football is all about balancing your elements to get plays off right and if the computer AI doesn't recognize this, your game is going to be really, really bad. And this folks is where Midway hit pay dirt. Money plays are the most common side effect of bad balance but Blitz is devoid of them, partly because the balance is great but also because things are so hectic that it would be hard to get a play that works every time.

The game does suffer a bit from the home translation. Nothing is a smooth as the arcade version. The polygon count dropped, the frame rate cut in half, slowdown is a problem at times, etc. It's not anything to cry about, though. The graphics are great, the announcer is horrible, and the inevitable endzone dances, the "one last hits" after the ball is downed, the players' remarks, and the yells from the players are all on target.

Midway has just made the best football game ever made. May the clones come marching in (actually considering NFL XTreme that isn't such a good idea).

Overall: 9.5
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