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NFL QB Club 2002 Package Art
†GENRE
††Sports
†DEVELOPER
††Acclaim Studios Austin
†PUBLISHER
††Acclaim
†NUMBER OF PLAYERS
††1-4
†CONNECTIVITY
††no
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NFL QB Club 2002

When Nintendojo met with Acclaim to see an early version of NFL Quarterback Club í02, we were surprised to learn that the head man behind the game was an ex-EA employee from their Madden team. The designer promised Nintendojo the QBC franchise would be completely redone: the gameplay engine from previous games had been thrown out so that the team could "create a game that rivals Madden."

Several months later, with the final product in stores, NFL QBC í02 isn't quite everything the designer promised; but considering it is based off an engine that was created in just one year, it's still an achievement.

visuals

Much like the popular move against quarterbacks, the graphics in this title seem rushed. Player models could definitely have used a few more polygons; even the helmets occasionally look boxy. The players are, however, animated well, although more varied animations may have boosted the visuals to this title-- just as personalized animations for superstars could have helped emphasize the "Quarterback Club" angle of this game.

The program's articulation of the characters during cinemas, replays, even in-game action can best be described as jittery. After plays end, football players often spasm, and the computer has trouble moving them down the field. Watching the referee walk into football players repeatedly in an attempt to get to the sideline is a hilarious mistake, but still a mistake that destroys any attempt at the realistic presentation so evident in games like Madden 2002.

The one saving grace of NFL QBC '02's visuals is the stadium design. Not only do the stadiums feature a well-animated crowd, but they are also designed to mimic their real-life counterparts in every major detail. Tampa Bay has its pirate ship, the coliseums have their correct domes, and the video screens are not only on in the stadium, but located correctly. Arguably, NFL QBC '02 holds the title when it comes to stadium designs.

audio

These days radios can be purchased for less than ten dollars if you know where to shop, and if you plan on putting some hours into QBC, purchasing one might not be a bad idea. The crowd sounds like a 16 bit game, complete with that odd fizzing sound. Announcers are annoying, repeating comments several times in a half. Maybe some could overlook this repetition, but when their comments are late-Ė doubting a pass formation after a touchdown is scored-- gamers will jump to their radios, CD players, or Martha Stuart cassettes to get around NFL QBC '02ís horrible audio.

gameplay

Surprisingly, gameplay is where NFL QBC '02 shines when compared to the competition. By no means can it claim to be as deep and realistic as John Maddenís incredible football simulation, but NFL QBC is easily the most accessible football title released in years.

While many might not expect innovation in this title, the play selection menu should set a new standard of how players choose their attack. Rather than rely on a gamer's previous football knowledge, as with Maddenís play selector, QBC offers visual diagrams to select plays. Some gamers donít know what "Red Dog" or "3-4" means, and QBC's presentation makes up for this.

When choosing plays, QBC displays a bar that shows how much of a pass play or a running play each selection is. Plays are chosen in three steps: each decision further defines the specifics of the final play. Two-thirds of the screen is designated for illustrating the play, so the player can easily see the degree of running or passing protection each play offers. After ten minutes with this new presentation, gamers will look down on the play-selection presentation of every other football game.

The passing game seems somewhat random, as open receivers occasionally drop the ball, just as covered receivers occasionally catch the ball. We saw fifty-yard throws caught by receivers guarded by three other men, just as we've seen an open man miss a five-yard toss. While no play is ever guaranteed in this game, a smart player can usually find a smart passing play that works. Furthermore, when playing the computer on the game's hardest setting, passing is still somewhat easy, if the player knows which plays to choose.

The running game is excellent in this title. Blockers not only know where to run, but also seek out other nearby defensive players to keep an open lane for the runner. There is only issue with running: several blitz plays can stop a running play 99% of the time, and will often result in a loss of yards.

On an unrelated note, the computer AI cheats by selecting a defensive play with full knowledge of what offensive play the gamer chooses. If you're thinking of surprising the computer with a pass play on a fourth down, or getting ahead with an onside kick, forget it-- the computer will know.

The exclusive NFL Quarterback Club Challenge mode may add some variety, but in the end it's a collection of four mini-games that quickly lose their entertainment value. The mode has quarterbacks run through an obstacle course, throw the ball at targets in two separate modes, and compete for who can throw the football farthest. While it is a fun game for football fans hoping to compete with their favorite quarterbacks, this mode is not entertaining enough alone to warrant a purchase of this game.

When compared to Madden 2002, QBC may seem basic. It lacks referee challenges, injuries (at least after one month of playing), and customized plays for stars. As good as the play selection menu, running game, and passing game are, a gamer cannot overlook the lack of realism and accuracy of gameplay here, compared to a game like Madden 2002. In the end, QBC, while entertaining, plays like a simpler, inferior, more arcade version of Madden.

multiplayer

Like any other decent sports game, NFL QBC '02 offers competitive four-player support. Players can also compete in the NFL QBC Challenge mode, which is always great to play in-between real games. Expect QBC to be a hit at parties, as it offers a different perspective on football than Madden, which is quickly becoming more and more "played out" at social occasions.

overall

In no way can NFL Quarterback Club '02 be called the best football game on GameCube. Overall, Madden 2002 is a better game. However, NFL QBC í02 is a fine game, and offers a different angle on football. QBC can be enjoyed by anyone, and is worth a rent for its play-selection alone.

Itís common for gamers to own more than one fighting game, more than one platform game; NFL QBC makes a strong argument to own more than one football game. While it may not be game of the year, NFL QBC '02 is an excellent new beginning to a redone football series.

final score 7.6/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Bryan Cashman
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"Road? Where we're going, we don't need roads."


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