Title: John Madden Football
Developer: Park Place Productions
Publisher: Electronic Arts
NA Release Date: November 1991
FOOTBALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL (Please refer to the Simpsons). I can’t find the clip so I might have to make one myself out of my DVDs
I don’t know how to play football. As a Canadian, hockey is more of my sport, or even baseball. I vaguely know the rules. Get the ball to the other end, and play stops a whole bunch of times during the way.
The way this game plays, I have no trouble believing he had input.
The game kind of throws you in like a lot of games of the era. There isn’t a tutorial mode, nor does it tell you what the controls are. I guess that’s just sometime I take for granted now. When I get a new game for my 360, the instruction manual doesn’t even get touched. I just throw the disc in and expect the game to tell me what to do through some sort of interactive tutorial.
Since the only football team I recognized was Green Bay, I chose them and played against Buffalo. So I chose some play, hit B, and ran for it with the quarterback. Believe me I tried to pass but no matter what button I hit, I couldn’t do it.
Beginner’s luck that I completely destroy them on the first play. Even the kick was good! Since I had no manual for this, I now opted to look up the controls on gamefaqs. Needless to say it’s complex. However I kept on playing to see what the game is like on the defensive.
Well turns out my team is pretty good at tackling the offense, so I didn’t really have to do a whole lot except recover a fumbled ball. I just kept on picking plays and getting tackled and repeat over and over until you are on the defensive again. I stopped playing rather quickly after that. Sorry football fans, it really isn’t my game.
Control/Gameplay: The controls are rather complex and not very responsive. I felt like I really had to mash the pass button to bring up a window to choose who you want to pass to. That’s why I had so many problems when trying to do it originally. Gameplay isn’t too bad. It’s quick between plays so you’re always right back into the action. I have played other football games before and it plays similar to them. Snappier controls would have made the entire game feel much better overall since the game is really dependant on complex controls. What really killed the game was the framerate. It played pretty choppily and made it hard to control.
Sound: Well the whistle sounds authentic. Other than that and the occasional checking sound there isn’t really much to hear. The music was standard fare at the time. I mean if you played any of the NHL or NHLPA games on the SNES, it sounded pretty much like that with it’s synthesized…. uh I think organ and electric guitar. It’s the perfect dullness so it doesn’t interfere with your gameplay allowing you to try and figure out the dang control scheme. With John Madden backing this, it could have included a sound byte from him. Actually that was really all I was looking forward to.
Graphics: It doesn’t look terrible. You can easily distinguish between your players and theirs and between that and the field, what else really is there? Green, players, football! The players are detailed enough. Okay, the field does give a convincing feel of some speed as you run up the side for a touchdown, but the players do move kind of jerkily. I’m not sure if that’s due to lack of fluid animation frames or because the whole game runs jerkily in general.
Fun: It was alllllright. It wasn’t completely terrible but there are better games out there. The framerate killed the buzz for me as I was learning how to play.
Coop: Yes! There is! You just set the mode to teammates and you can go ahead. Player 1 controls the plays and all that. It was pretty dismal. Just the same thing as single player with a friend controlling one player on the field. I couldn’t manage to pass to my friend successfully anyways so…. Oh well. Probably better to play head to head. But you can see the other player choose plays!
Overall Presentation: Well, it’s okay. It doesn’t seem like a very polished game, but single player isn’t too bad. Complex controls and the framerate really destroy the game for me. I can overlook the sound and the music if other parts of the game make it up. It’s just a sports game so it’s not like the music adds to the ambience of epic storytelling or anything like that. If you happen to come across a friend that has the game, give it a quick try to see what the first football game for the SNES fares for yourself. Otherwise I wouldn’t go out of my way. There are other John Madden games that come in later years that I hear are much better so I look forward to comparing those to the first on SNES.