Touchdown Fever Review—Needs More Cowbell! And Time on the Game Clock!

TouchDownFeverTitle

One of the odder phenomena is how things often come in waves. Celebrities seem to die in threes. In motion pictures, there will often be several movies on the same subject released within a period of a few months. Minis seem to do this as well; right now, most of the Minis, either ports or SNK classics, seem to be sports-related.

In this case, the sport is North American football in the latest SNK arcade game to be ported to Minis, Touchdown Fever. Considering the real game lasts at least an hour, and in reality more like three hours, concessions have to be made to make an arcade game out of it. So basically, you have one possession to score a touchdown. If you do, you win, and if you don’t, you lose.

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Other than that confusion, it works just like football: you have four downs to gain ten yards, going down the field until you score. You can run or pass. Passing seems to be far more efficient, so at least in that way it resembles the modern NFL. There seem to be different plays being called, but you have no control over it. At least, sometimes you seem to take snaps from shotgun, other times from under center.

It actually plays somewhat like a modern football video game. You move around the controlled player, usually the one closest to the ball, with the D-pad or the analog nub. On offense, you hit X to run faster, break tackles by wiggling the D-pad/nub, and tap O to throw the ball, with aiming done by the L and R buttons simulating a rotary dial. Catching is simply a matter of moving the player underneath the ball in the air. Maybe not quite Madden, but not too far from early versions of it.

Defense is a little bit harder. You still hit X to run, but I don’t think there is a tackle button, and you simply crash into the guy with the ball. While interceptions are possible (at least, I’ve thrown them), it seems quite hard to do when you are on defense yourself. The real problem with being on defense is that you are basically always catching up to the guy with the ball, not preventing anything. So it’s almost random if the computer scores or not.

As mentioned earlier, although it plays more or less like a real football game, the catch is the length of the game. Since it was an arcade game, it’s remarkably short. As near as I can tell, you simply get one possession’s worth of time. Sometimes the other team doesn’t even get a chance to score, you win right after kicking off after scoring a touchdown.

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When you win and the game ends, it says you get 10 more seconds on a second game. But I can’t read the time indicator on the screen, as it’s too tiny/blurry (this seems to be another very long-screened game that gets smushed down to the PSP’s squat screen). I tried putting in more coins to see if the game lasts any longer, but apparently not. Looking at the screenshots I used here (taken from an arcade site), you can read the game clock, but I have no idea what it starts at. 2 minutes? 5 minutes? Certainly not more than that.

While the game itself doesn’t seem to offer any options, other than entering the team’s name (it seems to default to Tampa Bay), there’s the usual variety of emulator options—change the controls, save/load the game state, stretch the screen or not, and so forth.

Graphics are decent. Somewhat better than, say, a Sega Genesis football game, but not a big leap over that. It seems to be the same number of colors, but at a higher resolution (which is somewhat lost on a PSP). There’s a very limited amount of speech used, and other than that, the sound effects are forgettable.

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Touchdown Fever is not a bad little game if you want to scratch an itch for football in a hurry. But the extremely short length of the game makes it pointless for anything but that. I really can’t believe anyone would pay a quarter for it in the arcade, to be honest. At most, games will take maybe 5 minutes, if you slowly move the ball down the field. Presumably it was a lot more fun with two players, which of course isn’t supported here.

5/10

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Comments

5 Responses to “Touchdown Fever Review—Needs More Cowbell! And Time on the Game Clock!”
  1. Ofaliss says:

    Where SNK games always so bad, or are they just not aging well?

    I wonder if the PS3/360 crowed are asking the same question when they play PS1/N64 games.

  2. JeremyR says:

    Some of the shooters have held up well. Vanguard, for instance. Alpha Mission. Ikari Warriors (the first).

    But SNK was not really a top tier arcade game company. They had a few hits, but mostly misses, until the 90s came around.

  3. onmode-ky says:

    Yeah, it wasn’t until the NeoGeo that SNK really “hit it big.” I think they might have been fairly obscure until then, actually.

  4. sniper712 says:

    shooting at stuff never gets old, same goes for slicing and dicing, reason why the fighters held up better.

  5. min says:

    does look retro(good thing) but i dont like short games. shame most SNK’s are then.

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