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NFL Blitz

Rated E for Everyone


Nintendo 64 (N64)




Midway Chicago


September 1998

ROM Size:

128 megabits


One to Two Simultaneous


Sports (American Football)


Controller Pak (100 pages)


Rumble Pak



> Final Rating: 4.3 out of 5.0


Since its arcade introduction in the summer of 1997, NFL Blitz has arguably been the most popular arcade game around the country. Why? Well, it takes America's most popular and closely followed sport, speeds it up considerably, increases the violence level, makes it all offense, and gets rid of all penalties. Basically, it's no holds barred a la NBA Jam. Now the arcade phenom has made its way to the home systems.

Gameplay & Control

More than likely, you already know what NFL Blitz is about. But, believe it or not, I never played the game in the arcade. My first experience with NFL Blitz comes on the Nintendo 64. So I'll quickly describe the game just in case you haven't played it like me.


NFL Blitz is a 7-on-7 football game. You have four downs to go 30 yards. That's right, 30 yards instead of 10 yards for a first down. The clock stops after every play. There are no penalties, and pass interface is highly encouraged. There are field goals and punts, though. You basically have two offensive options in the game: Pass the ball to one of three receivers or have the quarterback run with it. Running plays in NFL Blitz are executed by tossing the ball to the side, so it's basically just like passing to that receiver. Another hallmark of the game is the big hits and cheap shots. The bigger the hit, the better. And you can even hit people after the whistle is blown! So on defense you can try to sack the quarterback, you can take out people while they're running their route, you can try to time an interception, or you can try to pop the ball out with a big hit as soon as they catch it. As you can see, NFL Blitz is all about offense and big plays. You have to be pretty bad not to score early and often. But that's what makes the game so fun.


The N64 version of NFL Blitz is a great port. The high-resolution arcade graphics had to be reduced to medium-res graphics, but it still looks better than the PSX version. And, oh yeah, the language had to be toned down, too. Now you'll only hear the word "hell" used. There are also a few new additions to the home versions, some of which are exclusive to the N64. There's a Season Mode (based on the actual 1998 schedule) in addition to the Arcade Mode. There's Rumble Pak support so you can actually feel the hits now. Finally, there's a very cool Play Editor mode that will let you design and save nine plays to a Controller Pak. It's pretty easy to design plays, too. But the best part of this N64-exclusive feature is that you can take your saved plays and use them with Blitz '99 in the arcade! What a great marketing gimmick! By the way, just in case you're wondering, while the N64 version got the exclusive Play Editor, the PlayStation version got an exclusive Tournament Mode.


There are many options to toggle in NFL Blitz. You can make adjustments to the volume levels of music, sound FX, crowd, and announcer. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite get the balance I wanted because the announcer can get drowned out. You can shift the screen left or right and shrink or expand it. You can also completely customize the controller configuration. The default scheme lets you use either the Control Pad or the Control Stick. Nice. Then the A button is for passing and switching players. The B button jumps and tackles. Finally, the Z button is your turbo. Yep, that's it. (There are many special control functions when you use the buttons in conjunction with one another. But I'll let you read and find out about those on your own.)


Additionally, there are some gameplay options. You can toggle these options: difficulty level (easy, medium, and hard), quarter length (1, 2, 4, or 6; 2 is the default), help boxes (on or off), and play timers (on or off). The game also has Controller Pak support for saving game options, team (but not player) statistics in the season mode, and your overall statistics for the arcade mode.

Graphics & Sound

As stated earlier, the graphics were ported very nicely to the N64 version of NFL Blitz. The game is almost always fast and furious, the players are always large, and the numerous camera angles always keep you interested. You will also notice the graphics are crystal clear—no blurring here. There isn't as much animation as any of the realistic football games, but what's there looks great. Sound-wise, NFL Blitz is disappointingly 100% in mono. Otherwise, the sound is also very good with an enthusiastic announcer, trash talking, huge-hit tackling sound effects, and some decent music.


Arcade ports don't get much better than this. NFL Blitz for the N64 is a must-have for any fan of the arcade game and is noticeably superior to the PlayStation version. On the downside, the game easily gets stale in the one-player mode. But two-player games are infinitely fun; they're the real reason to play the game.


And that leads into one of the game's two main problems: There's no four-player mode! I couldn't believe one wasn't included! The other problem is the typically cheap arcade AI that gradually gets harder and comes up with miracle plays when it needs to catch up.


Therefore, NFL Blitz won't exactly replace Madden or Quarterback Club as your sole football game of choice, but it's nice to break away from reality every now and then.
















The popularity of NFL Blitz surged as it got closer and closer to Christmas, and I can see why. It's one helluva entertaining sports game for those who don't want all the intricate and complex rules of professional football. Besides, any game that lets you perform violent acts against another is always fun. Although I know I'm in the minority, I just couldn't get into NFL Blitz because I'm such a huge fan of the NFL. So the only true red flag against NFL Blitz is the lack of a four-player mode, which is something that will be addressed in future editions.


Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: September 21, 1998

Appendix Added: December 28, 1998




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