Gaming History 101

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10-Yard Fight Review

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What Are You Supposed To Do?

Much easier to understand than most games of the era, 10-Yard Fight is a simple football simulation.  Your goal on the offense is to run the punt return as far as possible without getting bogged down by the defense attacking you.  During a punt return your players will surround you phalanx-style and allow you to get as much yardage as possible before getting tackled.  When on the offense you can run or pass the ball and attempt to score a touchdown.  On defense, you select one of two defenders with either A or B and attempt to sack the quarterback or person in control of the ball.

Review

They’re moving at a snail’s pace, but go on, scream “Go! Go! Go!” anyway. You know you want to.

Full disclosure, I suck at football games.  Having said that, I understand even the more complex rules and plays in the game so I haven’t had much issue with football titles like Madden, but I’m never any good at them.  Thanks to varied difficulties, a surprise for me, I was able to play against a “high school team” instead of the “professional team” or “Superbowl team”.  Not only were these descriptors amusing ways to select how hard the computer-controlled opponent would be, but it allowed me to actually win at a football game.  Being a very early football sim, the simplicity of 10-Yard Fight is also the key to its addictive gameplay.

No matter what level of experience you or any opponent has with football, the basic gameplay (described above) allows anyone to pick up and play without a problem.  Games like this remind me why the NES was so popular when it first premiered, because it allowed you to play universally simplified versions of any sport or basic concept.  Even though there isn’t much happening on the screen, the tension of a competitive football game is no less in the room than with more modern titles.  In fact, without all the complications that bog down contemporary titles, it tends to even the playing field and increase that tension more.  My only issue with the game was how often, even on high school difficulty, the opponent was able to intercept the ball if it passed over defenders.  I watched several passes cross my entire defensive line and not once did a player hop up to snag that pigskin out of the sky, but the computer managed to do it on the second or third play if I wasn’t careful.  Since you aren’t able to control where your receiver runs, it’s more about chasing them from behind the line of scrimmage and setting up the pass that has the least possibility of going over a defender’s head.  Even with this minor setback, I never found myself frustrated and played three games in a row hoping to get revenge on my teenage rivals.

When you plug in a second controller, the core of 10-Yard Fight really opens up.  My wife and I found ourselves having fun playing against each other in a sports game of all genres.  While it’s a perfectly serviceable nostalgia title on single player, this immediately skyrocketed to the choice title to be playing in the background of my Superbowl party this year.  If there is an opponent on the couch next to you, and especially if there are onlookers, 10-Yard Fight becomes a brutal game of attrition that has you talking trash up to the final moments.  Those final moments will be brief, too, because the 30 minute clock counts down at a sped up pace and those critical five minutes that end a game are over in the blink of an eye.  Irem’s original arcade has been ported over to the NES beautifully and while it lacks the gusto of even other titles on the system – Techmo Bowl comes to mind – it has the same charm and appeal of early classics like Kung-Fu.  Given the low price and commonality of this title, it’s not a bad beginning to re-living your childhood or introducing new audiences to what made the NES so amusing when it premiered.

Final Score: 3 out of 5  (review policy)

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Written by Fred Rojas

January 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

Posted in NES, Reviews

Tagged with , , , , ,

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