Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff (DS)

It's rare that developers put out something so blatantly marketed as fan service as Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff. Considering they're going for the old-school crowd, they'll certainly please them thanks to the fact that this game is nearly identical to its predecessors in many ways.


In what seems like a DS prerequisite, Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff includes stylus controls. The one plus to this is the fact that you can simply tap a receiver you want to pass to rather than cycle through them with the A button. Other than that, it feels unnatural moving your quartback around with a stylus when the D-pad works so much better.

The controls are NES-simple, which should also please the fans of the original. Your offensive playbook consists of four running plays and four passing plays, so don't worry about digging through a labyrinth of Xs and Os a la Madden. Thanks to EA, you won't be playing as your favorite NFL stars this time around. You'll be stuck with fictional team names like the LA Supercocks (?).

I remember my father going through Ken Griffey Jr. presents MLB for the SNES, renaming every fictional character to their real-life counterpart. If you're as nerdy as him (or have as much free time), you can do this in Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff. Unfortunately, no amount of player customization is going to change the fact that dominating stars are absent from Kickoff. Players like Bo Jackson or John Elway were invaluable in the original titles, but you'll find nothing of the sort in this new incarnation.

When it comes down to it, this title will please the people it was made for. Anyone looking for a Madden-esque experience will be sorely disappointed by the lack of depth, but those looking for nostalgia will feel right at home.

Graphics: 4.0

Sound: 6.0

First Play: 6.5

Replay Value: 5.0

Gameplay: 7.0

Overall: 6.5


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