Tecmo Bowl Throwback Preview
We all have our treasured gaming memories and if you’re in your mid-to-late 20s, it’s very likely that Tecmo Bowl has its fair share of fuzzy memories in your brain. You probably remember running backwards 40 yards with Joe Montana and launching it up for a touchdown to Jerry Rice. You probably remember jackknifing your way through the defense with Bo Jackson. And to have this experience return with both the old-school visuals and the benefit of a spruced-up 3D presentation is a definite bonus. Tecmo Bowl Throwback is scheduled to launch this week on the Xbox Live service for 800 Microsoft Points and some time “soon” after on the PSN for $9.99. Some of you may be wondering if this one is worth ten bucks, if it’s worth the money to relive the good old days, or if it’s worth it to see what those “good old days” were like if you missed out. Well, I will say this is more fan service than anything; i.e., it’s geared toward those who loved the original game. But even so…new-age gamers might love it, too.
Being able to switch between those refined 2D graphics and the new 3D graphics is a really sweet option, especially because both styles will feature the same old-school gameplay mechanic. This is the one feature that could make this remake appeal to gamers of all ages: those who recall the old classic won’t be at a disadvantage when utilizing the sharper 3D visuals and those new to the title can easily pick it up and play, regardless of the selected presentation. If you’re unfamiliar, this game is played with only two buttons and the directional/analog movement: you move with the left analog, pass with one button, and jam on another button like a frenzied maniac in order to run faster. There’s no such thing as a spin. The hurdle has not yet been invented. Stiff-arm? What the hell is that? Jumping? Nah, players are glued to the ground. And of course, if the defense chooses the correct play – it’s like Rock, Paper, Scissors – your offense is gonna get wrecked. Such is the way of the Tecmo Bowl world.
All this will be in Throwback. We’ll even have the original rosters from the 1991 installment but because Tecmo doesn’t have permission from the NFL (licensing is tied up by EA), we’ll have to make do with imaginary names for players. The good news is that we should get customizable teams, though, so maybe we can mix and match our favorite old-time players (something I would’ve loved to do back in the day). Thankfully, they’re really not doing much to alter the gameplay, but they do want to give you a few more options, obviously. You’ll get a full season mode, quick play, and some multiplayer options, including online multiplayer. There’s a tournament mode awaiting you online, which ought to be tons of fun if you have some willing participants, all looking to relive simpler times. I’m just wondering if this is enough to entice everyone at the $10 price point; there’s plenty of competition on the PSN these days and to stand out, you kinda have to be something special or unique.
But even so, Tecmo Bowl Throwback should be great for everyone who misses simple, even silly, football. Last year’s Madden NFL Arcade was decent, but it lacked a tournament mode and there were a few inconsistencies in the gameplay that ultimately hurt the experience. It was super fast-paced and designed to be accessible, but even that was crazy advanced compared to what Throwback is going to be. Therefore, if you require simulated realism for your pigskin gaming, you really shouldn’t bother; stick to the regular Madden franchise. But for kicking back on a rainy day and grinning like an idiot at the screen as the old memories come flooding back, there’s only one option. And why do I suddenly want a Blades of Steel Throwback? Oh, dear Lord…do it. Just do it. Anybody else with any good “throwback” ideas? This should really become a whole series, I swear.
4/22/2010 Ben Dutka