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NFL Quarterback Club '98

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Reviewed by Jae Min First of all, I had very high expectations of this game. I'm ashamed to say that I trusted and went out and bought this game instead of Madden, and I'm regretting myself. But, I just realized Electronic Boutique's had a return policy so I can go trade it back. Note: If you want to try one but think you might like the other one better, get the one you want to try first, then after 9 days go take it back ;-).

Graphics: 9

The graphics, in themselves, are by far the greatest I've seen in a sports game, and perhaps in any game period. Bar none, this is the best looking game out there. BUT, and that's a huge BUT, sometimes, the game moves quite slowly. For example, on the kickoff return, the speed should be the greatest and the impact should be the greatest because it's full speed on each side, but the movement of the return is so slow it doesn't give you the feeling of a kickoff return at all. The thing that bugs me the most about this is that the steps, in physics, are correct. There are about 2 steps per five yards, as usual, but the actual player movement is so slow that it's rather annoying. One thing I must mention is the instant replay. If you do the replay and you watch from either the blimp cam or just from far away, it truly does look like a real TV broadcast. This feature might move you to buy the game, just because, when you're playing friends, and you make a nice throw out to Rice and he goes all the way, you can watch it in graphical perfection. The detail is so great, even the players' names show up on the back of their jerseys. And also, there are several different tackles. For example, when you hit the opponent head on, the player with the ball just gets tackled, and you can actually see the defensive players clutch the jersey and the legs pumping to slam the player into the ground. Then, for example, Dana Stubblefield comes from the side to rock Barry Sanders, the momentum shows in the tackle, and Barry's body jerks as any normal humans would when a 290 pound defensive lineman runs into you full tilt from the side. Also, the framerate is silky smooth. Sometimes, it seems too smooth.

Gameplay: 7

The gameplay is quite average. Therefore, it gets an average score of 7. As I mentioned earlier, the graphics are very well done, but it moves so slow at some times that it detracts from the gameplay. Also, there are too many money plays. If you're honest then you won't use these plays, but when you just want to win, like me, then you'll use these plays over and over. Then Brent Jones ends up gaining 400 yards in one game. That's plainly unacceptable. Also, the AI isn't very well done. Though the game is challenging, this is mainly because you just cannot run. The defense always collapses on the runner much too quickly, and even with a quick, in real life, running back like Barry Sanders, you can't get much. Once in a while, you may break free, but these are rather rare. Back to the AI. Sometimes, when you passed a screen to a running back, the linebackers just stand there for a few seconds, and then they react. It could be that the programmers(not acclaim, since they only published it, according to EB workers), just put this in to make up for the slowness in some sports, but even still, it's unacceptable. Because of the imbalance between passing and running, the quarterback ends up throwing 40-60 passes a game with lots and lots and lots of yards with those money plays. On defense, the interceptions are realistic. But sometimes, the ball seems to go right through your defensive back's arms. When you watch the replay, you see it, but when you're actually playing, the ball just ends up in the receivers hands. RATHER, annoying.

Sound: 7

Again, this is pretty average. The sound effects for hitting and such are pretty decent, but Marv Albert sounds...well....dead. Putting the fact that he admitted he was guilty aside, he's a great sportscaster. I'm not quite sure what happened, but he sounds so dead and down and so full of nonemotion. It's sometimes counteractive to the game. For example, whenever the quarterback is sacked, the phrase, "the quarterback tries to scramble, but is caught and brought down for a sack" is played. The thing is, it doesn't matter if the quarterback was trying to run. If the quarterback's 30 yards behind the line of scrimmage, he's still trying to "scramble". The music is just ok.

Control: 7

Again, it's just average. The analog makes a difference, but in a football when do you want to be walking instead of running? Luckily, the digital pad is available for use. I'm pretty sure that the controls are changeable, but they are ok. It would have been twice as good if you could change it around, but...alas, you can't.

Overall: 8.5

All things considered, it's a pretty well-made football game, even with the extreme slowness at times. The graphical excellence, though it's not supposed to, still makes up for the sloppiness in programming. It's a great game to play with friends, just because of the awesome instant replay feature. Once you crank that up, you will seriously be flabbergasted at the quality. Even still, I'm going to trade this back for Madden.

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