TV Sports Football (Second Review)

Title           TV Sports Football (Second Review)
Game Type       Sport
Players	        1-2
Compatibility   OCS (maybe others)
HD Installable  No
Company	        Cinemaware/MirrorSoft
Submission      Seppo Typpö ( Profiled Reviewer

For a long time, I thought I would never understand American football. To
me it looked like a pointless mess of game with huge men trying to steal
the funnily shaped ball from each other. That was until Cinemaware
released TV Sports Football.

Until TVSF, Cinemaware has build quite a reputation with games like
Defender of the Crown and Rocket Ranger. They melted top notch graphics
and audio into games which could be called the very first interactive
movies on any computer platform. These guys did not need expensive
licenses to make games based on movies. They made their own movies with
their games.

The package
Like simulation masters at MicroProse, Cinemaware put their games in
glossy packages with beautifully written manuals. The artwork in their
package covers is really classic material even by today's standards. TVSF
is presented in a similar manner. The manual explains all the finer
aspects of the game that comes on two disks (one for actual game and
another for various in-game animation sequences).

TV Sports Football is presented like a normal TV sports broadcast. There's
studio commentatory before and after the game plus intermission program
all presented with flashy (and sometimes funny) animations.

The actual game is presented with huge player sprites from a fixed
viewpoint a bit similar to Sensible Soccer but much closer to the field.
The animation of the character is fluid and convincing despite the size of
the graphics again a Cinemaware 'trademark'.

For those not familiar to the sport, the goal of the game is to carry the
ball into the opponents goal area. The attack is done in turns. For each
turn the attacking team tries to advance a minimum of ten yards in a
maximum of four attempts. A successful attempt is rewarded with another
attack turn. If the team fails to advance the required distance during its
turn,  the attack turn is given to the opponent who now tries to do the
same while the other team defends and tries to stop the attack by any
(legal) means.

What appears to be quite a simple game on the surface turns out to be a
lot more of a tactical experience once you get into the rules. Advancing
the ten yards against a skilful team is very difficult which means
suitable strategies must be developed. This game resembles chess in the
way the moves of the opponent must be anticipated before the action starts
- the success is highly dependent on selecting suitable tactics for each
turn. The actual players on the field are like pawns on the chess board -
only executing the plan of the mastermind (the quarterback). All the
formations and tactics are fixed - but which ones are selected is up to
the player to choose.

TVSF offers different game modes from single games to full leagues to
play. Two player head-to-head games are also on the menu. The game offers
comprehensive statistics and editing possibilities allowing players to
select suitable teams or create  fantasy teams of their own.

Players takes the roles of coach and the quarterback. This means for each
turn players select the formation and the tactics. Controlling the game
and the players is initially confusing but after few games it becomes
second nature.

Getting critical
First of all, TVSF cannot be installed to hard disk. This slows down the
actual gameplay a bit as from time to time data is loaded from disks.
An additional disk drive is strongly recommended to prevent constant disk

The signs of a classic
This game has all the basic elements of the classic game. The game is
structured so that player feels he is taking part in something bigger than
just one game. The presentation is virtually flawless - the commentators
have spark, big player sprites move realistically and the in-game
animations are well done and full of funny little details. All this is
backed by funky music and good sampled sound effects.

There are very few games that are also educational - thanks to TVSF, I can
now watch American football and actually understand the game. For someone
totally ignorant of this game like I was, TVSF opened a whole new world  -
and any game that can lure the player to learn something new can be called
a classic.

TV Sports Football showed to the world how sports games should be
presented and played. While games like Kick Off and Sensible Soccer beat
it on pure arcade fun playability TVSF demonstrates that playing a sports
game can be a real audiovisual feast and still be very playable.

Graphics : Simply brilliant 32 colour graphics - makes one to think what
           Cinemaware could have achieved with AGA or 24 bit graphic cards
           if they would still be around...
Sound    : Sporty tunes and meaty, sometimes humorous sound effecs
Gameplay : Not the easiest sports game to learn, but those patient enough
           to learn the game will be rewarded.

Tested on  A500 1 Mb no hard disk

Category list.

Alphabetical list.