NFL Blitz 2000

When people reminisce about the Dreamcast, they typically think of unique titles crafted by Sega, instead of the many ports the system received.  “Port” is often a dirty word when it comes to video games, but the Dreamcast actually received a number of quality titles that matched what the system was about.  See, the Dreamcast was about innovative games and bringing the arcade home, and titles like NFL Blitz 2000 meshed with this vision.

Sure, Blitz wasn’t innovative, but its hard-hitting action belonged in the home as well as arcades.  Only if you were EGM could you afford an arcade cabinet, so the rest of us had to play during the occasional visit to the arcade or on a home console.  I mainly played Blitz at my local now-defunct Wunderland, but I always dreamed of taking it home.  This dream could have come true, but I was too picky to take home the inferior Playstation and N64 ports.

On the field

Well, ten years later, on this very day, I received a new copy of Blitz in the mail.  I quickly ripped open the five dollar game, and charged onto the field. 

Once on the field, I started calling plays.  I was unlucky in that I started on defense, but I managed to halt my opponent in his tracks with some bone-crushing tackles.  The fun that Blitz used to provide started to come back to me.

What I always liked about Blitz was how accessible it was.  I was never a fan of sports sims, because of their overly complex gameplay, so I greatly preferred Blitz’s arcade-style football over Madden and its playbooks that look like abstract math.   

What makes Blitz easy is that there are a small selection of plays with easily decipherable routes.  Even if you can’t understand the plays, it’s easy enough to pass to a player who happens to be wide open, or run right through a hole.  On Blitz, you can change plays on the fly without having to call an audible, so this makes it easy for new players to feel at home.

Besides having comprehendible playbooks, Blitz also sports simple controls.  On offense, your only controls are turbo, pass, and hurdle.  There’s also only one pass button, so you simply have to aim at who you want to throw to.  Unfortunately, the passing isn’t always precise, but your receiver will usually catch the ball without too much trouble as long as he’s open.

Playtime

The defensive controls are even easier to memorize.  You can use turbo and tackle.  That’s it.  What makes defending in Blitz special though is its spine-rattling tackles.  See, Blitz throws most of the rules of football out the window, so you can even do things like tackle a receiver before he catches the ball.  You’re also able to tackle opponents as many times as you want after plays.  It’s nice to be able to unleash your inner-beast at will.

Blitz may be a bit simplistic, and its graphics are dated, but it still provides for an entertaining experience for players who don’t take football too seriously.  Players looking for a realistic football experience will want to steer clear, but people who despise football and all things Madden might even want to give Blitz a shot.  Its gameplay is fairly basic now, but it reminds me of a time when we received all kinds of exciting sports games that didn’t require twenty buttons to play.  Hopefully, someone will someday resurrect this nearly extinct genre.

Score: 7.0

Pros:

  • A perfect port of one of the best arcade sports games
  • Playbooks are simple enough for a second grader to understand
  • If you despise playbooks, it’s easy to change plays on the fly
  • Both offensive and defensive controls are simple
  • Blitz’s football isn’t bogged down by rules
  • You can tackle players after the play has ended with no penalty
  • Blitz is still a fun game to play with a few friends

Cons:

  • Dated visuals
  • Hardcore football fans will probably find it too simple
  • Sometimes it’s difficult to control passes
  • There isn’t much meat to the game
  • Arcade sports titles like Blitz are now a rarity