Saturday, 14 November 2015

Aussie Rules Footy (NES review)

Developer: Beam Software
Publisher: Mattel
Released: 1991

Aussie Rules Footy is a sports game that was released exclusively in Australia.

The three modes on offer are Single Match, Season (knockout tournament) or Kick to Kick (training). 18 teams are available including some from the Australian Football League (AFL) such as Adelaide and Geelong. As you start a match the action is zoomed in to centre field for the bounce and it looks fantastic with large player sprites. It then zooms out and you use the A button to pass or jump and B to kick downfield or tackle. As soon as you gain possession of the ball you're swarmed by relentless opponents who give you little chance to settle in. Each player on both teams also runs at exactly the same speed so you can't really use strategy to your advantage and breakaways are impossible. Passing is also a huge issue as the ball doesn't travel directly to your team-mate; instead it either lands in open space or being intercepted by opponents who are always one step ahead of you. Attempts to try and regain possession always end up in mindless button mashing which isn't very satisfying. If you do manage to get closer to the goalposts a set of white lines appear at the bottom of the screen to indicate how far away you are from them. The orange line in between them moves quickly from side-to-side and it's up to you to time your kick to score points. It's a great idea but as mentioned above the punishing A.I. makes it tough to be accurate as you have little space to freely work in. In my opinion the game would really have benefitted from difficulty settings to make it more inviting to newcomers. The umpire voice samples are nice though, as is the TV style commentary between quarters.

Aussie Rules Footy is a massive disappointment as the gameplay is clunky and the brutal difficulty setting is quite frankly unnecessary. It's just a shame that this is the only AFL game on the NES as it deserved a much better representation of the sport than what Beam Software developed here.

Random trivia: The next AFL sports game didn't appear until Cadability published AFL Finals Fever for Microsoft Windows in 1996.

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