Review: Tecmo Bowl Throwback

Some things are best left in the past…

  • Published/Developed by: Tecmo
  • Genre: Sports
  • Number of Players: 1-2
  • Release Date:
    US: April 28, 2010 (Xbox LIVE) / June 1, 2010 (PSN)
  • E for Everyone: Mild Suggestive Themes
  • Platform Tested On: PlayStation Network (PSN)
  • Also Available On: Xbox LIVE Arcade

I have some fond memories of playing Tecmo Bowl in the arcades and on the NES in the 1980s.  Tecmo Super Bowl was another game I had fond memories of.  At the time, it was an extremely fun and competitive game, despite some cheap plays that were almost unstoppable.  Sometimes memories need to stay in the past, because this game has certainly not aged well.  Even with a new makeover, the game doesn’t impress.  Purchasing Tecmo Bowl Throwback for $10 was an impulsive purchase and probably an unwise one.  $5 would have been more fitting.  There is still a bit of nostalgic appeal attached to this game, but nostalgia only goes so far…

For those of you unfamiliar with the new game, it’s basically an update of 1993’s Tecmo Super Bowl for the SNES and Genesis.  It doesn’t have much in common with the original Tecmo Bowl.  There’s no Bo Jackson-like running back either, but a few of the backs come close. The gameplay retains the original feel of the series as a top-down view arcade-style game.  The teams are from well-known cities but are all fictional.  Tecmo updated the game by adding updated 3D graphics which actually look pretty good at times, a better interface, player and team name editor, online multiplayer action and season play.  One of the cooler features was the ability to toggle between classic and modern graphics with the push of a button in game.  Other than that, there isn’t much to talk about.  This update of a classic was a little shallow on substance, didn’t really include much modernization that makes current football games what they are, and simply wasn’t worth the cost.

The high-definition aesthetics will certainly grab your attention in the beginning but after playing the frustrating game for about an hour or two, you’ll catch a case of buyer’s remorse.  Gameplay is much like the original, but frustrating by today’s standards.  The computer is always faster than you are and you’re basically a one man team.  90% of the time, the computer will have a nice gain if your character misses the chance to tackle the ball carrier.  The CPU controlled characters on your team are awful, while the CPU team is actually pretty good.  Even if you’re good at the game, you’ll often find yourself in OT even against weaker teams.  The fact that the game has online multiplayer almost saved it for me.  It’s just a shame that practically no one is playing, so multiplayer doesn’t have much use for you.

In the end, Tecmo Bowl Throwback would have been a pretty decent game a long time ago.  Times have changed and this game simply did NOT age well at all.  The fact that you can switch from classic to modern visual style on the fly was about the only memorable thing about this purchase.  I sincerely hope other developers do the same thing with updated titles.  If you are a die-hard Tecmo Bowl junkie, you might want to consider purchasing this, but I’d honestly wait until it’s on sale.  $5 would have been a fair price.  Game presentation was definitely pretty decent.   The most memorable aspects of presentation was the ability to switch visual styles and also the new updated and curvy cheerleaders.  Even though some of them look like twins, it still was a nice feature.  I’d classify the graphics as “good”.  Game sound was “mediocre”.  I really felt they should have updated the sound more than they did.  Gameplay was average at best and there’s little to no replay value with this purchase.  That’s basically all I have to say about Tecmo Bowl Throwback.  If you are one of the people out there who actually bought the game, I’d love to know what you think of it!  Feel free to leave a comment below.


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