Review: Tecmo Bowl Throwback (Xbox 360)May 7th, 2010 | Written by Alex Quevedo | Topic: Reviews, Xbox 360
Ah, spring. We’re bordering on summer. It’s the perfect time for… football. Yes, in the thick of NBA and NHL playoff runs, and with baseball picking up steam, Tecmo has released Tecmo Bowl Throwback for Xbox Live (PlayStation Network has to deal with waiting for a bit). Note the “throwback” portion of the title. It signifies it’s not a straight port of Tecmo Super Bowl and is instead a slightly updated version.
What you’ll be getting is essentially what you got in early 90’s. 28 teams, a few run and pass plays in the book and the original three game modes. Of course, football video game fans will know that Madden is the only place to find NFL teams, so Tecmo had to resort to using generic names with teams that only give you a city name. It’s really not that big of a deal. Sure, you won’t see your favorite teams name on the screen, but you can simply just imagine the name next to the city. If you want, you can switch around some names cities, but it doesn’t go so far.
It’s all about the football anyway, right? You can hop right into things with a pre-season game. Choose your teams and get on your way. Or you can start a season (up to three) where you can choose multiple teams to control throughout the path to the Tecmo Bowl Final. You’ll also be able to opt for an All Star game. And that’s more or less it. It wasn’t a very involving game and continues that trend.
The biggest change to the game (aside from multiplayer) is the addition of 3D. Instead of just playing in its original 16-bit form, a tap of the right bumper button will send you into 3D, where you’ll get over exaggerated player models and Barbie-sized cheerleaders. It doesn’t get super-detailed. The details are there, yes, but it still sticks with an arcade format. The ability to switch mid-game from 2D to 3D (you’ll even be able to switch mid-play) is a nice touch, but doesn’t extend beyond being a novelty. The true joy of it all is being able to hear the classic early 90’s sounds.
No matter what form you decide to play in, Tecmo Bowl plays exactly the same. It keeps its slow pace. You still don’t get to switch defensive players after the snap or control a receiver when a ball is thrown. It’s somewhat of a pain considering how used we all are to Madden-style gameplay. Regardless, it’s still simple and effective. Plus, Tecmo seems to be simply sticking with what worked. Why really change it? However, to find some true lasting power with the game, you’ll have to jump online.
But even jumping online presents some problems. You’ll be able to choose from a ranked or player match, but the chance of encountering lag is significant. It got bad enough at one point that the game simply just froze. Luckily, there was no penalty for quitting but that’s not exactly a good thing.
So what you end up with is a package that looks mostly like the original with 3D elements and an additional multiplayer mode. For what you get, a 800 point ($10) price tag isn’t too steep. It’s just a bit repetitive and doesn’t quite have that extra little bit of lasting power. But it isn’t completely unattractive. Fans of the original should be pleased with this update, considering it doesn’t take too many liberties. But it stands in an odd limbo, so we’ll recommended checking out the demo before committing to anything.