NFL. (football computer game) (Evaluation)
by Clayton Walnum
Couch coaches looking for the ultimate football computer game might end their search with Konami's NFL, a football simulation program that lets the player compete in both statistical and hands-on, arcade-style football. With a huge selection of options, there's little in the game that can't be manipulated in some fashion or another, yielding a sports contest that will please any type of player.
Before the game begins, you can choose from several keyboard and joystick configurations, as well as set either player as a computer-run opponent. In addition, you determine whether you'll be playing a statistical game (coach only) and whether you'll choose player substitutions and drafts or leave these chores to the computer. You also have the ability to toggle such options as penalties, weather conditions, player fatigue, and player injuries.
After configuring NFL, you're offered three game modes: Training Camp, Pre-season Game, and Road to the Super Bowl. In the training camp, you edit teams, players, and your playbook, as well as run through your plays on the practice field. In a preseason game, you choose two teams to battle it out in a single game. Finally, on the road to the Super Bowl, you create your own league and set off for the ultimate football victory. In this game mode, you'll not only play football but also scout out your opponents, review your weekly schedule, analyze player and game statistics, trace your progress on the play-off tree, and participate in drafts and trades.
Once on the field, if you've chosen the coach-only option, you need do little more than select your team's plays and watch the computer run them. However, if you've decided on the hands-on approach, you must control your players on the field after you've given them their plays. Since NFL is a fairly complete simulation, controlling your players well takes practice. You can choose from many plays, including passing, receiving, diving, straight-arming a defender, punting, and tackling.
After a play is completed, the instant-replay option offers a chance to analyze your team's efforts. With the VCR-type controller, you can view the play at different speeds or even frame by frame, as well as change the viewing angle. Other controls include rewind and stop.
NFL features digitized voices and effects throughout, and although you'll get the best audio results by using a sound card like Sound Blaster, the program wrings some surprising sound even from your PC's lowly built-in speaker. In addition, the graphics and animation are all top quality, providing a realistic and fun sports simulation.
Because it can be configured for different depths of gameplay, NFL is a great choice for any football fan. Those who like to get their hands dirty with the details of handling a league have plenty to keep them busy, whereas players who just want to grunt and sweat can march right out onto the field, ignoring the editing options. For either type of football fan, NFL comes highly recommended.