PS3 Reviews: Tecmo Bowl Throwback Review

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

Tecmo Bowl Throwback Review

More Game Info (Print This Article)

Graphics:

 

7.9

Gameplay:

 

7.6

Sound:

 

7.0

Control:

 

7.3

Replay Value:

 

7.6

Online Gameplay:

 

7.2

Overall Rating:       7.5

 

 

Publisher:

Tecmo

Developer:

Tecmo

Number Of Players:

1-2

Genre:

Sports

Release Date:

June 1, 2010

There was a time when the name “Tecmo Bowl” was synonymous with video game pigskin fun. Then technology advanced, Madden exploded onto the scene, EA managed to snag exclusive rights to the NFL license, and as a result, most people under the age of 25 have only heard of the title in passing. Well, in the continued trend of the PlayStation Network giving old-school classics a shiny digital re-release, Tecmo has issued a 3D, high-definition version of Tecmo Super Bowl. But don’t let that “high-def” part fool you; it’s certainly a slick and colorful presentation, but it’s not exactly intricately detailed. It really shouldn’t be, in fact; not if Tecmo wanted to retain the old-fashioned look and feel of this uber-fun, entirely unrealistic football game. It’s actually a little ironic that in keeping with the spirit of Tecmo Bowl, Throwback both thrives and stumbles. It’s a little difficult to describe, but let’s just say that those who want to get nostalgic and teary-eyed are free to do so.

It was a darn good idea to issue this game with two visual options: the original 2D display that will remind everyone of their Nintendo consoles sitting in the closet, or the new 3D overhaul. The good news (and bad news, as you will soon see) is that regardless of which graphical style you choose, the game basically plays the same. You can even switch between 2D and 3D while a play is in progress, which is an especially cool feature. The 3D portrayal is actually very good, with fluid animations, a few new glimpses of play highlights and cheerleaders, and a healthy dose of appreciated color. It’s too bad that we have to sacrifice the NFL license so the uniforms are entirely foreign but besides that, you should be satisfied with the 3D retooling. The old 2D presentation is exactly as it should be, with absolutely no frills whatsoever; the screen will even switch back and forth between the new 16:9 perspective for 3D and the old-fashioned 4:3 for 2D. I imagine it’s quite appealing to most all veteran gamers.

And of course, as you might expect, the 2D aspect features the late-‘80s/late ‘90s electronic ditties, while Tecmo has tossed in a few more modern effects for the 3D style. The basic foundation for the soundtrack remains very much the same, though, and I found myself wishing for a few simple additions; a few more “impactful” tackling sounds, perhaps a few grunts, etc. But then again, I reveled in the memories; it really sounds very much as I remember, despite my recurring belief that it always sounded just a touch bland. Of course, we’re talking about a time well before voice acting, full orchestral pieces, and professionally created and implemented effects, so there isn’t much else to talk about. You should know what to expect. Even if you’ve never played the original Tecmo Super Bowl, you probably won’t be surprised; overall, the technicals are quite fitting. But does anyone recall the smash-sounds from games like Mutant League Football? We coulda used some of those…

It’s not hard to talk about the gameplay in Tecmo Bowl Throwback. As I said before, the game plays essentially the same way regardless of your graphics choice, so you only need to grasp the simplest controls. The X button snaps the ball and cycles between receivers on offense, and it also lets you cycle between defenders (before the ball snaps) on defense. You also use it to “Overpower” on both offense and defense and the only other button to consider is the Circle button; you use it to pass on offense and dive on defense. That’s about it. The R1 and L1 buttons toggle the 2D/3D options, which changes the perspective on the fly and yeah, the left analog – or directional pad – dictates movement. Real tough, huh? Everything works as it should, but you’ll quickly notice a few drawbacks; they’re the same flaws that plagued the original title, but I was kind of hoping Tecmo would’ve fixed ‘em for this remake. I’m as nostalgic as anyone but I wouldn’t have missed the errors.

For instance, you can’t switch between players on defense once the ball is snapped, and that’s a huge issue and can result in a ton of big plays you’re powerless to stop. It also felt as if there was a bit of a delay when pressing X to change your receivers, but that could’ve been in my head. Also, and I’m not sure if I’m remembering the original game correctly, but I don’t think players could leap up and knock a pass out of the air. I was able to do that many times when rushing the quarterback, which is great, but it seems as if there’s no limit to that jump…when throwing high across the middle, a linebacker leaped silly high and knocked my pass down. I don’t recall that happening in Tecmo Super Bowl and this actually turned out to be a bit of an issue when playing Throwback. Outside of that, this really is the game you remember from start to finish, and there aren’t any major problems, in either the simple 2D depiction or in the 3D overhaul.

You can customize players and teams, but it’s restricted to name changes, and the only other issue I’ve noticed is that too many of the players feel identical. In the original, it was obvious that certain running backs and receivers had the edge on defenses but this time around…not so much. I know you can’t call him “Bo Jackson,” anymore, nor can you call the San Francisco QB “Joe Montana,” but shouldn’t they still be superior? I just remember ruling the field a bit more when controlling such players. But hey, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of things, and all those old playbooks are back. Playing this game means you don’t have to search for an old copy of Super Tecmo Bowl and keep an older console hooked up to the TV. You can participate in a Season, try the All-Star teams and in general, get the best out of football from the golden age of gaming. I say “best” because this really was the best at the time. And with the 2D and 3D renderings, this is about as good as Tecmo Bowl ever was.

There’s definitely a bit of lag when playing online but it’s also a big bonus and certainly the biggest addition to the franchise in question. The series took a few more strides – I remember loving Super Tecmo Bowl III on the Sega Genesis – but this is it. Right here. It’s Tecmo Super Bowl and that’s that. Usually, reviews should probably go into a bit more detail but what else do you want me to say? Doesn’t get more straightforward.

6/3/2010 Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (26 posts)

St_Jimmy
Thursday, June 03, 2010 @ 10:22:14 PM
Reply

Did i miss the modnation racers review?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

fluffer nutter
Thursday, June 03, 2010 @ 11:09:09 PM
Reply

Don't forget that you can use the d-pad the same as X for switching players and other choices. This game is just as fan as it was many years ago.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

NeoHumpty
Thursday, June 03, 2010 @ 11:11:09 PM
Reply

Ok, guess you can go back to RDR now, Ben. It would be killing me to have to play all this other crap that's coming out with it on my shelf.

Are you or Arnold horror movie fans? I'm wondering who will tackle Naughty Bear when it comes out.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, June 03, 2010 @ 11:17:38 PM

I'll be doing Naughty Bear.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

fluffer nutter
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 12:26:53 AM

I will be looking forward to that review. That's a big "if" purchase for me. Possibly. I hope it's as insane as it looks.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

NeoHumpty
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 9:10:48 AM

Good to hear, no matter who does it. I was wondering if you guys are horror fans, though. It looks like there will be a lot of homage paid to some classic horror scenes. They almost sold me on it with the scene of the bear cutting the power and waiting for a bear to come out to fix it. As someone who usually watches a horror movie every day, I got stoked.

Ok, sorry I got so off topic. Thanks for the response.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 10:15:05 AM

No, I'm not really a horror fan.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Thursday, June 03, 2010 @ 11:15:23 PM
Reply

There's something about these PSN releases that make me wish you included the price in your reviews.

This one for instance is not an insta-buy for me. However if you said that this was Tecmo Super Bowl and only cost 4.99 then maybe I'd look into it.

Last edited by Alienange on 6/3/2010 11:16:51 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, June 03, 2010 @ 11:17:26 PM

I pretty much always do. In fact, I think this is the first PSN review where I didn't.

And anyway, it's $9.99.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Thursday, June 03, 2010 @ 11:46:09 PM

Great, thanks.

Unfortunately it's a little too pricey for the sake of a little nostalgia.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

dso8515
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 12:01:50 AM
Reply

I had Tecmo Super Bowl for the Sega Genesis and I remember with that one when you were on defense you could jump up and swat a pass from the line of scrimmage or in the quarterback's face.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Geobaldi
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 12:13:47 AM
Reply

I wonder if Tecmo will do a remake of Tecmo Super Bowl III if this one does well. I played that game more than anything else once it was released and still play it on the PC.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

CharlesD
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 12:45:25 AM
Reply

ten bucks for some nostalgia? I think that's doable, depends on how much you liked the original I guess. I remember playing tecmo bowl on the original brick gameboy. Ah, that was fun.

p.s.

Ben, I may want to steal that at some point. Been craving the original Mario lately for some reason

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 12:49:30 AM

Remember the Tecmo Bowl we had on the GameBoy? Pretty much the same thing.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

MyWorstNightmar
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 10:26:40 AM

Hmmmmm, I'm beginning to believe the whole "My name is CharlesD and I'm Ben's brother" shtick.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 2:34:35 PM

I told you they wouldn't believe who you were. ;)

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

NazzyQ
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 10:06:28 AM
Reply

Ben, in line with the article the other day about how game rating scales need to change, can I make a suggestion?

I think it would be best if you removed some of the constituent scores that make up the 'overall' score, (i.e , gameplay, sound,replay value, etc). It's a little old- fashioned to include those,in my opinion. I mean, can something like gameplay or sound really be quantified? Isn't it just a case of plucking a random number out of the air and slapping it on a particular title?

I believe that a well written review, with a justified score (with perhaps a complimentary score for online modes), is sufficient for your readership.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 10:17:05 AM

That doesn't really make any sense. It's like you're implying that sound and gameplay and other categories can't be evaluated, and we just assign them "random" scores.

I'm sorry, but that's a little ridiculous.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

NazzyQ
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 10:34:37 AM
Reply

You misunderstand me. Gameplay and sound can be evaluated, but not necessarily with an assigned score. For example, SOTC's gameplay can be essentially be boiled down to about 15 boss fights. Yet, it is the intricacies of these boss fights that make the game special, and I don't think that can represented by a 'gameplay' score.

I hope you were not offended by my suggestion. Perhaps I shouldn't have said the comment about plucking scores out of the air. I didn't mean to imply that you are superficial with your review process.

You guys do an excellent job with your reviews and maintain a very high standard of professionalism.

After all, this site prides its self on its vocal community. I was just making my point known :)

Please don't be mad.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 10:49:44 AM

I'm not mad and I know what you're saying, but I don't think you realize what goes into scoring categories like gameplay. Gameplay encompasses multiple factors, like level design, depth and breadth of movement and immersion, how the aim of the developer lines up with the fun we feel, etc, etc, etc. It's not just about one or two particular aspects, and it can always be evaluated, regardless of the size of the game.

Same goes for sound and the other categories as well. The reason we use them all the time for all games is because such elements always exist in all games. You know?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

NazzyQ
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 11:10:30 AM
Reply

I understand your point also: the fun factor of gameplay is universal- if a game is not fun then it cannot score highly on gameplay. This applies equally to epic, big budget titles like MGS4 as it does to small PSN games like Super stardust HD. So in that sense, you can compare the two very different titles.

Last edited by NazzyQ on 6/4/2010 11:10:53 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

hadouken
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 11:13:28 AM
Reply

Wasn't this reviewed before?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 12:28:55 PM

Here? No.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

maxpontiac
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 12:58:26 PM
Reply

It's Tecmo Bowl. It's 10 bucks.

That equals a win in my book.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

FlyingKickPunch
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 5:56:55 PM
Reply

Man, I loved this game from back in the day. Except the Cowboys sucked, because it was before their dynasty in the '90s began. The music is still stuck in my head, all these years later. And yeah Ben, you could knock down passes on defense, often much to my chagrin. Could never intercept a tipped pass, though. Weird.

Last edited by FlyingKickPunch on 6/4/2010 5:57:23 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

CharlesD
Sunday, June 06, 2010 @ 1:14:17 AM
Reply

Yeah, not surprised that some people wouldn't believe we're brothers, but if it's like the one we had on the gameboy I will probably buy it lol

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

What do you think of the Destiny beta?
It's awesome! Can't wait for September!
It's only good, but I'm having fun.
Eh, it's okay, but I expected more.
It sucks, period.

Previous Poll Results