Thursday 24 September 2015

Blitz! (Vectrex review)

Developer: GCE
Publisher: GCE
Released: 1982

Blitz! is an American Football game and one of only two sports titles released on the Vectrex (the other being Heads Up).

It consists of a five-minute match against either the computer or a friend. The two teams are separated by X's and O's and before each play you can select from four different formations - Strong Left, Power Middle, Spread and Strong Right. Once the ball is snapped you have a choice of either rushing forward or passing by holding the analog stick in the direction of your receiver and pressing Button 3. Rushing is simple and works great as you use your blockers to weave around defenders. With a passing play it's difficult to throw to an exact location but you still have some 'fine-tune' control of the ball while it's in the air; mastering this is key and once you get used to it it's very satisfying to swerve the ball round an opponent for a catch! Offense is enjoyable and the simplistic nature of the gameplay and play calling keeps the action moving at a fast pace. Big plays aren't really possible due to the CPU star player (who's illuminated more than his other teammates) being ridiculously fast which also affects Special Teams punt returns. To punt or kick a field goal you press Button 3 and hold the analog stick in your chosen direction. For the latter the goalposts appear before you kick so it's easy to line up and boot it through the uprights. There's three skill levels and even a nice statistic screen at the end of each game which shows things like the number of first downs, yardage and what your longest run / pass play was. Unfortunately the one player game is slightly marred as you never get to play defense! Whenever you turn the ball over or fail to convert on 4th down the CPU will immediately punt or kick a field goal if they're in range. This doesn't happen in two player mode so it's puzzling why users without a second controller can't play defense.

Blitz! is a simple but highly addictive sports title with amazing controls and great gameplay. The lack of a defensive option in solo mode is disappointing but the game is so good that it'll make you want to track down a second controller ASAP!

Random trivia: The game was programmed by Jeff Corsiglia who also designed 3D Crazy Coaster (1983), 3D Minestorm (1983), Cosmic Chasm (1982) and Fortress of Narzod (1982) on the Vectrex.

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