Thursday, 17 December 2015

Joe Montana Football (Game Gear review)

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1992
 

Joe Montana Football is a sports game that was also released on the Genesis, Master System and MS-DOS.

 
It supports single matches against the CPU or a 2-player head-to-head contest. There's 28 teams from both the AFC and NFC, although there's no official license so the nicknames aren't used. The gameplay is similar to Tecmo Bowl (1989, NES) but slower paced and with more options for plays as you can choose between six on Defense and 17 on Offense. After hiking the ball on Offense you can cycle through receivers with Button 2; once you spot a player that's open you hit 1 again to throw. Running isn't as intuitive as you need to move towards the player and then press 1 again to hand off. Everything is fast-paced and responsive and I love that you can just select Joe's Play if you're short on time or aren't too familiar with the sport. The touchdown celebrations are awesome as the camera moves to ground level and you see the player dancing and spiking the ball in the endzone! The game's current stats are shown after each score which is a fantastic idea to keep you up-to-date. Defense is also enjoyable as you can select any player before the snap and tackling and intercepting the ball is done automatically. However, the small sprite sizes are a minor issue as it can be tricky to see where you are in relation to the receiver / ball carrier when groups of players converge; as a result you'll sometimes miss tackles. Special Teams is the most disappointing aspect as it's completely automatic meaning you have no control over kick offs, punts or field goals. It's also far too difficult to make big gains on a punt return as the opposing team always has a massive speed advantage.
 
Joe Montana Football is an excellent sports title that's both easy to play and perfect for bite-sized gaming sessions. Offense and Defense are a blast but unfortunately Special Teams is a real let-down as much of the drama of making a last second field goal or extra point is absent.
 
 
 
Random trivia: Other American Football games on the Sega Game Gear include Madden NFL '95 (1995) and NFL Quarterback Club (1994).

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