Review by: Scott Steinberg
Published: September 27, 1999
Much as PC gamers love to tout the fact that the football simulations available for their platform of choice are the most realistic simulations of the sport, it’s always been a safe bet that console football games outdo their PC counterparts in terms of fun factor. Never before was it so apparent as after the release of NFL Blitz, an arcade offering that laughed in the face of tradition by turning a football game into a professional wrestling style affair thanks to a method of presentation reminiscent of NBA Jam in addition to a play model that was fast, furious, and downright brutal. After sucking down countless quarters throughout arcades across America, it’s no surprise that NFL Blitz made its way home for PSX and N64. Now, a year or so later, the reigning champ in the football genre is back for more action in NFL Blitz 2000, and as far as I can tell, it’s looking better than ever.
Now first things first, as I believe an introduction to the style of play is required for those who missed out on previous additions of the title. Whereas other football games focus on statistical accuracy and proper modeling of the sport, the NFL Blitz series offers a quickly mastered ultra-violent style of play that puts its emphasis entirely on the action. Although both offensive and defensive plays are called in standard fashion, and there is some strategy on the field, the majority of your time will be spent on the field directly controlling the players as they attempt to gain yardage in just about any possible way. Rushing, passing, stiff-arms, flying elbows…it’s all in there, even the stuff that’s more at home in a wrestling ring than on a football field.
Although you can engage in single player exhibition games to practice your technique, there’s a great amount of fun to be had from playing a season against the computer. In this mode, you’ll square off against teams one by one in order to move up the rankings to take over the number one spot, and thanks to improved AI in this year’s version, things are even more challenging than they were in the last edition of NFL Blitz. But far and away the most entertaining mode of play is multiplayer, as there’s nothing quite like the trash-talking, hard-hitting action this type of contest inspires. Although NFL Blitz allowed only two players to compete at a given type, NFL Blitz 2000 features support for four players, finally allowing everyone to get in on the action, as each team member switches play-calling and quarterback control from play to play.
For those who’ve already enjoyed the previous titles, you’ll be pleased to know that the list of new features includes a wider selection of both offensive and defensive plays. While the majority found in earlier Blitz editions can be found, the list of available strategies has been touched-up in subtle ways and expanded to offer some new tricks to try out on the field. While some of these new plays are a big help on the defensive side of things, the most exciting ones fall into the offensive camp (such as quick passes, hand offs, etc.), making the action out on the field a lot more intense. The main difference you will find is that plays aren’t quite as cut and dried as before, requiring more thought and finesse to pull off, especially when one takes into account the game’s enhanced AI (wait until you see how many interceptions occur each time you play the computer).