" I swear if I keep playing this game Iíll be bald by the time Iím 25 "
Title: NCAA GameBreaker 2001 by 989 Studios
Format: College football for the Playstation
Reviewing Monkey: Simi N.
The Hype: Up to eight players. There are 115 I-A Division teams plus 64 classic teams from the past with Commentary from Keith Jackson himself.
What This Monkey Thought...
Graphics: The graphics in this game are varied. The players themselves look very nice. Not the best you can get on the PSX, but pretty darn close. The crowd graphics are fairly cheesy, but that has been pretty standard for any sports game with large spectator crowds. The real disappointments in graphics with this game are the sideline graphics. First of all the sidelines are almost completely empty. This has always been a pet peeve of mine. If youíve ever watched a football game you know that there are tons of people constantly running around on the sidelines attending to the players, yelling at the refs, or throwing the playbook down in disgust. This is fun to watch on TV (especially seeing the players get their heads bitten off like one of Ozzy Ozborn's chickens) and these games that try so hard to duplicate the Television experience are leaving out a big part. Also on the topic of people on the sidelines the "chain gang" (those guys who mark the line for first down) in this game are Super cheesy 2d sprites: lame. 3 out of 5.
Sound: The sound in this game, other than the commentary, is good. The crowd is constantly cheering or jeering as the game goes on. When a visiting team gets too close to the home teamís endzone, the crowd begins the "Defense" chant. Players grunt when they are tackled- all nice touches. The problem is with the lame ass announcer (Keith Jackson). This guy, whether or not he may be good for actual games, is horrible in this. You, like myself, may think Bob Costas calling the baseball playoffs is bad, but this is much worse. Not only does he repeat himself often, and not only does he say things that donít make any damn sense, but when he tries to be amusing he failsÖmiserably. Lines like "They stood him up like an unpopular schoolboy on a lonely Friday night," make you want to throw your controller at the Playstation but youíd be better off just turning the commentary off; which, by the way, makes the game way less fun, so what the F@*&?! 3 out of 5.
Game Play: The gameplay is pretty good. You get to choose between Simulation and Total Control gameplay styles (total control is nice because it allows you as a quarterback to overthrow, lob, throw really hard, or lead a receiver if the situation demands). But with both these styles, it is sometimes difficult to figure out why a particular play went bad. The key is selecting a few really good plays from the playbook and doing them over and over again. The problem with total control is that it almost gives you too much control so if youíre not focused on what you are doing you could end up throwing the ball out of bounds ten yards to the left of youíre receiver. Which, of course, would cause anyone to rip his own hair out (I swear if I keep playing this game Iíll be bald by the time Iím 25). 4 out of 5.
Level and Environment Designs: The Stadiums look good. They seem to accurately represent the stadiums they are supposed to. The crowds are pretty bland, though they always sport the team colors. And the sideline graphics are just plain dumb (note my rantings under the "graphics" section of this review). 4 out of 5.
Multiplayer: If you ask me multiplayer are what football video games are all about...And this one delivers nicely. Smoothy, easy multiplayer gives you all you want. Itís nice to be able to invite up to seven other friends over to have an all out football smackdown tackle-fest. 5 out of 5.
Replayability: If you really like football you may try to beat the Bowl season play, or you can try your luck as a coach in the career mode. And if thatís not enough you can go for the fantasy league and earn points based on the performance of the players you choose as your team. But the real replayability is directly linked to the multiplayer aspect. With all these choices who wouldnít be happy? 5 out of 5.
Instructions and Learning Curve: If you havenít played a football game since Tecmo bowl for the NES then this game can definitely take some time to get used to. A good way to learn the controls is to set up a scrimmage game, and make sure both teams are player controlled. Then just control whatever team is on offense, and you will start to pick up the controls pretty quickly. This takes a while, but it is just about the only way to learn the kind of complicated controls a game like this requires. 3 out of 5.
Installation and Real System Requirements: This game uses the Playstation's capabilities almost to it's fullest. It supports analog and Dual Shock functions, as well as multi-tap units. It can require large amounts of memory (up to six blocks) for saving your teams standings (seasonal play, etc.). And the time it takes just to get to the main menu when you first turn on the Playstation is ridiculous. Itís quite possible that by the time you get the game started you will no longer feel like playing it. 4 out of 5.
OK if you do the math, you will find that the above scores come out to average about 3.8 on a calculator, but I think the lower scores are in the categories that really count. I mean, in the end, you could do much better getting another football game.
The Good: Player graphics are very nice. There are tons of options. You can have lots of control. Many different modes of play.
The Bad: Takes too long to learn basic controls, and even longer to figure out the plays. Some really cheesy graphics. Things happen that donít make sense. The announcer is annoying as Hell!
The Overall Ugly: If you are a huge college football fan, Iím sure youíll like this game. There are more good than bad aspects, but the poor aspects tend to leave more of an aftertaste. Better football games exist out there, but this one is definitely worth trying our, who knows it may appeal to you.
What it's Worth: If for some reason I had to have this particular game, I could pay up to $25.00 for it.