Tecmo Bowl Throwback (XBLA)
Posted 3 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
There was a time when video game football was simple. There were no 3–inch thick playbooks to memorize. You didn’t have 42 screens of stats to monitor. And you didn’t have 12 different modes of play to decide between. It was just you, 12 sprites and a brownish pixel that was supposed to be a football. As EA’s Madden franchise grew to eventually dominate the electronic version of the sport, the ease-of-play style that opened the game up to everyone diminished. It became a complicated mess that only fans could appreciate, leaving non-fans and the casual passer-by on the sidelines. Tecmo has decided to rectify this problem by bringing back their Tecmo Bowl franchise; a series that, in the pre-Madden era, dominated the genre. So, the only question is: Does it still hold up after all these years?
In my opinion, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Provided you understand the intent. The franchise has never been a competitor for the “real” football games. You know, the games that carry the NFL and the Player’s League licenses and allow you to take your favorite NFC or AFC teams or players from the pre-season all the way through to the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl. No, Tecmo Bowl was a quick and easy football game with no real teams or players, a limited playbook, and a limited control scheme. Perfect for those who want to get a little pigskin action without having to know the difference between a Trap or a Draw. This iteration even has a nifty hot-swap button that allows you to change the visuals from the more current, if not fairly bland 3D to the old-school pixels of the 16-bit era. Sure, it’s more of a novelty than anything else, but it still makes a nice nostalgic bullet-point for the features list.
The 32 available teams are generic, identified by the city they represent along with their faux logos (although, the names of the teams and the players are customizable). Each one is graded on 6 different stats (i.e. running, passing, speed, etc…). Individual players do have names, but none of them are recognizable. Your playbook consists of 12 running plays and 12 passing plays (both offensively and defensively), with only 4 of them active at any time. But, you can swap out plays on the fly, so if that Play Action isn’t getting it done against your current opponent, you can change it.
There are three game modes to choose from, all of which can be played either local MP or by yourself (online MP only supports a single, one-on-one game). Pre-Season is basically an exhibition mode. Just pick your team, pick your opponent, choose your quarter length and one of three basic weather conditions and you’re off to the field for a single game. The Season mode is exactly that: pick your team and guide them through an 18 week season to the Playoffs, and hopefully the Tecmo Bowl. Lastly, the Tecmo All-Stars mode is basically the game’s equivalent of the Pro-Bowl.
If you’re one of those players who pick up Madden every year, or even if you don’t, but are a big fan of the real sport, then Throwback isn’t for you. Everything in it harkens back to the days of yesteryear, before stats actually had an effect on the game you played. The controls are spot on…for a game made back when the controller only had the D-Pad and a couple of face buttons. If you’re looking for precision tackles, realistic visuals, or strategy that ranks beyond the rock-paper-scissors format, then you will want to save your 800 MP. But, if you’re a casual or entry-level pigskin fan, or are just looking to get your game on in Nostalgia Stadium, then you may find that Tecmo Bowl Throwback is the perfect draft pick.
+ Old school and 3D visual options
+ A perfect trip down memory lane...
- Vanilla from start to finish
- Madden fans will kick this one out of the locker room
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Release Date : 2010/04/28
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Tecmo Koei
Developer : Southend Interactive
Category : Sports
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
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