Front Page Sports: Football Pro. (computer game) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Scott A. May
The best don't stay on top by resting on their laurels, as is proved by Dynamix with the Pro edition of its critically acclaimed football simulation. The reigning sports champ continues to blow away the competition with this terrific update to an already great game.
Those unfamiliar with this groundbreaking game should prepare to be dazzled. The program's long list of features begins with real-time gridiron action, rendered in fluid rotoscoped animation, viewed from ten playable camera angles. Take hands-on control of the action,or work the sidelines as head coach, armed with more than 1000 stock plays. You can also design your own with the point-and-shoot playbook editor, complete with on-field practice and fascinating logic-box programming mode. If number crunching's your game, take on the responsibilities of team owner and general manager. Dig as deeply into the details as you desire, including drafting, trading, training camp, substitutions, injuries, retirement, free agents, and more than 300 league, team, and individual stat categories.
New additions and improvements to the game are plentiful, starting with actual NFL teams and player rosters. About the only things not covered in Dynamix's licensing agreement are a handful of new free agents, team logos, coaches' names, and nicknames--hence, you must manually change the generic entries for the Buffalo Bulls, Kansas City Warriors, Indianapolis Mustangs, and so on. You can also build your own league from scratch, with up to 28 teams and 1400 players, user-defined right down to uniform colors.
On-field changes include several exciting new player animations, such as leaping catches, spins, and flipping tackles. Realtime transistions between TV-style camera angles are much smoother, including an excellent blimp view with an adjustable zoom lens. The completely revamped Playbook section includes a new computer coaching profile editor, allowing you to develop intelligent strategies for more than 2500 offensive and defensive situations. The program also produces graphic printouts of your entire playbook. Be warned: Printing more than 1000 stock plays is a laborious, time-consuming task. The results, however, are well worth the trouble.
Other excellent new features include the ability to play 5-, 10-, or 15-minute quarters; a choice between standard and fast computer simulations; computer-genrated All-Star pro games; and comprehensive career stats and player aging. Some of the most significant changes to the game aren't immediately apparent, such as the computer's vastly improved artificial intelligence. Those who find the original a little too soft around the edges will be pleased to face stiff, hard-hitting competition. About the only thing that remains on my wish list is user-defined audibles.
Simply put, Front Page Sports: Football Pro is truly a masterwork of design, function, and long-term playability.