Play Time 1h 32m
Matches Played 20
Career Goals 50
Play Time 1h 32m
Matches Played 20
Career Goals 50
It’s time to look at an NFL film from a while back. I always like to see films based on Football because it’s such an interesting sport. Watching the live games is already great so a film like this would be sure to land as well. Having the Browns be the main focus also makes sense since they tend to never be doing all that well. This year is the first time they’ve had a winning record in many years as it is. Of course that means you feel like the Browns are doomed no matter what here but at least they’re trying to draft well. Ultimately this is a solid title even if I feel like some plots weren’t really needed.
Draft Day is here and the Browns GM Sonny is being pressured on who to draft. The owner Anthony wants Sonny to pick up the #1 quarterback since he is guaranteed to make a splash. The coach thinks that Sonny should be picking up a running back to help the offensive team really have a balanced attack. Personally Sonny wants a linebacker since he believes that this guy is the best fit for the team but defensive players don’t tend to make big headlines like that. It’s just the way it’s always been and Sonny knows that his job is on the line here. Is there a way he can make this draft a success without getting himself fired?
Naturally the owner has a lot of pull so you can’t blame Sonny for quickly thinking he just needs to go with what his boss says. At the end of the day if the owner wants something it’s going to be pretty hard to stop him if you want to keep your job. The pressure he gets from the coach isn’t nearly as serious. It’s also tough because a fresh quarterback can change everything while a superstar defensive player can only do so much on his own. It’s why quarterbacks tend to make so much money. No single player is a whole team but the quarterback does have his hands on the ball for every offensive play so he has more control than any other player on the field. Additionally this quarterback seemingly has no weaknesses and is considered the best player in the draft.
I’m glad that the film didn’t give us a cop out by making the quarterback turn out to be terrible or anything. We do get some potential weaknesses on and off the field here but the film doesn’t do anything too drastic so there’s still a good debate to be had. The linebacker, running back, and quarterback are all very valid picks to be sure. I also enjoyed all of the banter between the teams. There was a lot of fun back and forth with the Seahawks for example. He definitely manipulated the Browns GM with ease initially although Sonny gets ready to start turning the tables later on. None of the other teams get huge roles although they are certainly present the whole time.
What I could have done without here was mainly the plot with Sonny and his family. In particular he had some issues with his mother and his Ex. This plot didn’t really seem to add much to the film and also hurt Sonny as the main character. While their demands weren’t always the most reasonable, it just makes Sonny a bit less sympathetic when he’s yelling and breaking laptops. He seems like a guy who ultimately balks when there’s a lot of pressure as seen with his opening draft deal which was pretty terrible. The film tries to make this up by showing his greatness later on but the final deal is extremely convenient to the point where it’s not very realistic. Personally I’d say an ideal ending would have just omitted the final part of the deal or nerfed it a bit so there was still some sacrifice while giving an ending that worked out for all of the characters. I think that would have worked out quite nicely.
One character I enjoyed quite a bit was the coach. He definitely disagreed with Sonny at almost literally every turn but I liked his confidence. The guy clearly just wanted to make sure his offense was intact and didn’t like that Sonny’s trade threatened to jeopardize everything. Sonny’s right that he has no obligation to bring the coach in on these decisions but when the decisions are incredibly suspect like that it does make you think that the coach had a point. In a way the film shows the organization as being very split in their decision making which makes a decent amount of sense when you consider how poorly the team tends to handle its new recruits. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a lot of disagreements within the staff there.
We also have a subplot with Sonny and his secret girlfriend Ali that doesn’t seem to add a whole lot to the film. It’s the kind of romance where you feel like they could have just gone public with it a lot sooner and it wouldn’t have been an issue. As it is it seems like all of the important characters knew that they were together anyway. Sonny also didn’t take Ali’s news at the beginning very well either although interestingly the film mainly starts right as/after the announcement was made rather than having a whole scene devoted to it. I thought that was a good idea.
So what I’m getting at here is that the sports aspect of the film was great but the drama around it wasn’t as solid as it could have been. The sports angle is why I liked the film though and it more than makes up for the rest. The writing is definitely really solid when it’s focused on the main plot. The pacing is nice and tight with a lot happening at all times. Whether you like Football or not I expect you can enjoy this film. Some of the terminology may go over your head but the film at least explains the main parts so you should understand what is going on with the draft.
Overall, Draft Day is a solid film. I don’t think it’ll go down as being the definitive NFL title or anything like that but I thought it was handled well. Draft Day is definitely one of the biggest days for a GM since a lot of important calls are made on that day and they will be remembered for the rest of your career. Make a mistake and people aren’t going to let you forget it even after years have passed. That’s just the way things shake out here and not without due cause. A GM makes a whole lot of money to be able to prepare for days like this so you have to be ready. In that sense Sonny should have had his team prepared a little better than he did at the start but he learned gradually as the film went on. It was also a really nice touch that the coach had been with the Cowboys and won a Super Bowl. Even this film had to remember to acknowledge that the Cowboys are always winners!
It’s time to look at another wrestling game. I played one on the NES so it was finally time to try the SNES version. Unfortunately I definitely would not say that this game was very good. In fact, I thought it was fairly bad and has not aged well at all. There are a lot of little choppy animations thrown in and parts of the game where you have to watch what’s basically a small cutscenes. There are just too many breaks in the action and that ultimately ends up hurting the experience quite a bit.
There’s no story mode so right off the bat you can just jump into some exhibitions or the tournament mode where you fight off everyone at once. Definitely a pretty reasonable structure for a fighting game but then you need the gameplay to be on point and this one was not. You have 3 basic moves when you start to fight, you can punch, kick, or go for a grab. You can also try running blows but they are unlikely to land even when the computer is on easy mode. When you throw an opponent to the ground you can follow up by kicking them where it hurts, getting them into a submission, or picking them up to get a free hit in.
My favorite option was the free hit because it seems like a no brainer to me. You get the free hit and then knock him down to repeat the cycle again. It can be tough to time the first punch though so that you are in a position to grab again after that. It’s not quite as easy as it sounds after all. The annoying part is when you go face to face with an opponent and they grab you. There’s basically nothing you can do about it and I tried many different options. I would rewind and take just about any action but it wouldn’t matter. Once the opponent wants to grab you they won’t stop until they do. It triggers a cutscene of sorts where they make you run back and then forward into their punch. They then follow it up with all of the counters I described above.
Eventually they will try to pin you. With good button mashing you can break free almost every time but it’s still annoying to have to keep doing this over and over again every round. Then when you pin them they also break free so each match drags on for an incredible amount of time. You spend more time messing around on the ground then you do actually fighting and that just feels like a mistake to me. It takes away from the entire point of wrestling doesn’t it? I want to actually be interacting with the game. The problem is that while you’re on the ground and they jump on you there’s nothing you can do for a little while. Dead time like that doesn’t work in game format.
At least the graphics are okay I guess. They’re clear enough. The game is very down to Earth so it’s not like they’re going to be able to show a whole lot anyway. What we do get works well enough I suppose. The soundtrack is pretty much nonexistent though. It’s to be expected as Wrestling isn’t about the music anyway but I still would have liked to have had a few good themes. I think it would have been a good idea. Anything to give this game a bit more life. As it stands there isn’t much in the way of replay value aside from fighting more people in wrestling matches I guess.
Overall, Natsume Championship Wrestling just isn’t fun. At the end of the day that’s one of the last things you want to hear about a game. When you pop a title in to play a few rounds you’re expecting to have a fun time and to be entertained. This game just doesn’t let you do that and I would sooner go back to the NES version which was at least a bit more fast paced. I don’t really buy wrestling games in general but I’m confident that the Gamecube ones would have better gameplay. Just call it a gut feeling but I think it definitely is a reasonable assumption.
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It’s time to look at a classic NES golf game. Golf is one of those games that is hard to make all that fun even in modern titles. The only one where I could say I really felt pumped up was the Mario Golf game for Gamecube and even then it got stomped by the other Mario sports. Needless to say I wasn’t a huge fan of this one either. I do see that some decent effort was put in here but it still wouldn’t be able to keep me in there once I’m done with a tournament.
When you boot the game up you’re given a screen with Mario and Peach getting ready to be crushed by Luigi and Daisy. I assume it’s Daisy at least but admittedly she looks quite different here. After that you see the various game modes. To this title’s credit, there are actually a few different modes when a lot of these games would just have one back in the day. You can jump into a tournament, free play, or a single player run through of all the holes. Naturally I went for that one, I wasn’t about to have to watch the computers throw me around when I was just starting right?
The controls are not too crazy once you get the hang of it. You move the stick in the direction you want to hit the ball too. Once you do that then you tap the a button twice when you’ve got it in the right part of the moving bar. From there you just try to angle your hits and select the appropriate power so that you get the ball to the flag in as few hits as possible. This is one of the few games where you actually want to have the lowest score possible. The higher score you have the worse you played the game. You definitely don’t want to see a +9 as that is about as bad as you can be.
The graphics here are pretty fun. Not surprisingly since Nintendo was really the ones behind this game it looks a lot better than most of the other NES titles. When they throw Mario in it seems like Nintendo really tries to give the game an extra shine to it. The soundtrack is also very peaceful. You feel like you’re ready for action and to have a good time. That’s the ultimate goal of the games right?
There’s a reasonable amount of replay value here since there are a lot of different stages. You will probably need to also replay the stages quite a bit to really get good and to hit your rhythm. It’s not something that will happen overnight after all. I averaged around a +6 for each hole so I got a ways to go. Ideally you want to be around a -1 or -2 for them to really secure the win. The toughest part about golf for me has always been all the different variables. You have to account for the wind and you have a ton of different clubs to hit the ball with and they all have their own range. What this means is basically no matter what you’re going to have to do a lot of memorizing to know what you want to do. Mario Golf handled this well with giving you a preview of how the shot would go while this one plays it a little more on the level. You just need to know the yards left to go and plan accordingly.
This is definitely a tough game so you can expect a good challenge. Of course with the rewind feature you have backup to an extent but either way this is not a game that you can expect to beat very easily. It’ll take some time and you’ll have to see if the game is fun enough to spend that time. At the very least I am glad that Daisy got into the picture a lot earlier than I would have expected. I’m not sure if you can play as her, but I certainly hope so.
Overall, NES Open Tournament is definitely a game you don’t want to miss if you reeeeeeally like Golf. Otherwise I’d say you should just bypass this one. There are a ton of other quality NES games to enjoy on the service so there’s no need to stick with one for very long if it doesn’t hit it out of the park for you. I don’t think there’s a whole lot more they could have done with the concept here so I’ll give them props for the attempt. That being said, Golf just needs something to give the games a little more pop in their steps.
No stats this time!
No stats this time!
No stats this time!
It’s time for another classic NES game. The original Tennis title is one that likely resonated with a lot of people back in the day. It’s a popular sport after all so getting to play it virtually is a pretty cool concept. Unfortunately what ended up holding it back quite a bit here is the fact that the controls aren’t great. It feels like there is always the chance you are just going to hit the ball out of bounds even if it was a clean hit. This just felt pretty fishy to me. Nintendo made the same mistake with their latest Mario Tennis game. Ideally it should be more like Virtua Tennis. The ball only goes out when you know that you hit it the wrong way.
As with most classic NES sport games really the only option here is to jump into a game and test your skills. I played a full best of 5 set with 6 games a piece so it was pretty long. I think one game took around a full 30 minutes which was pretty intense. I managed to get around 6 games I believe, but ultimately I was pretty badly outmatched. The opponent just kept winning point after point while my balls would just end up falling out of bounds pretty quickly. It was at that point that I knew this would be tough to mount a comeback in.
The idea of Tennis is to hit the ball past the opponent. The ball does have to touch the ground though. If you just hit it straight then that’s out of bounds. Each point you win gives you 15 points and every 60 wins you a game. After 6 games you win a set and after 3 sets you win a match. It can still be pretty short if you dominate your opponent but that’s easier said than done. You’ll start to get the hang of when to swing for the ball as the game goes on but it can still be tricky. If you hit the ball a little too hard it’ll end up going out of bounds. It may also depend a bit on where you’re pointing the control stick although I can’t say I’m certain of that point. All I know is that sometimes the ball just doesn’t get the right bounce for me.
Whenever the ball goes out of bounds it just doesn’t feel quite right. It’s fine to lose points because you made a mistake, but it feels like RNG at times. It’s almost like no matter what the ball is going to go out of bounds. Perhaps someone who has played the game more would understand why it is doing that, but to me it just feels like I’m losing out on points for no real reason. Then when I lose it’s less satisfying and more like I gotta give the game the side glance. The graphics aren’t bad. They’ve got that classic NES sprite look that is always nostalgic so I’ll give the game some props there. The ref also looks like Mario so it’s always nice to see that guy participating in all of the sports.
Overall, Tennis was a pretty fun game until it went on. There was a good amount of back and forth for the points and it was all pretty intense. The problem is when the ball would suddenly go out and it would wreck all of the momentum. Now you’re just thinking that the CPU is pulling some strings. If you really like Tennis then you should still check this game out because it is free as long as you have the Switch Online. That’s a pretty big incentive. That said, this is one of the weaker sport titles in the NES online. You would do better with playing almost any of the others that you could find here.
Now it’s time to look at the next sport game on the NES. This time it’s good ole Volleyball which is another sport that I haven’t gotten to play a whole lot in video game format. The best one I can think of is the minigame from Mario Party 4 or 5. I think it was 4, but I’m not positive. I thought that one had really good mechanics and I would go as far as to say that it was the definitive volleyball game. This one also does a good job though and can get quite fun by the end of the journey. Once you get the controls down then you’ll be ready to have some fun.
The whole game revolves around the match of course, but for some reason I wasn’t able to move or change the settings in the main menu. It would only let me enter and then I could move which was odd. It’s almost like only part of the game could be licensed but maybe it was just my controller acting up. You can never really tell sometimes but either way I thought it was pretty odd. Well, in the games I lost the first few rounds pretty badly because I just couldn’t rebound the ball. It’s very difficult to determine where it will land as I found the shadow to not be all that reliable. As you play you’ll get a better eye for it though. Eventually I was able to go on the offensive and score points.
Ultimately I didn’t win any of the matches but I gave them a good run for their money. I found the best strategy was to run up to the net and jump to block the shots at times. It only got dicey when they would change up the timing but it worked better than just waiting for their shot to arrive. Once you have possession of the serve it’s also easier to go on a roll and keep the momentum. When they serve it can be difficult since even returning the opening serve can be very difficult. It is always pretty impressive to see how difficult these old games were. Then when you factor in the no save feature part it would really be dicey. I imagine you would usually be playing this with friends though so hopefully that would force you to keep getting better.
The gameplay is executed pretty well even if difficult though. You feel like the developers did understand the crucial elements of Volleyball as they incorporated them into the game. The graphics are also pretty sound. There are a good amount of details added to the backgrounds and in the game. It all looks pretty smooth and deserves a spot as one of the better NES games that I played. I’d definitely be up for more Volleyball games in the future. A Mario Volleyball would probably be a very fun adventure and Nintendo should go back to making more sport games. If they dabbled with new sports that they hadn’t made a full game for I think they would sell quite well. Bring in Volleyball, Basketball, and Football. None of those have had a full home console release before.
Overall, Volleyball is a straight forward game that was executed very well. You’ll be able to jump right into the action and have a blast here. I’d have liked some more stage options and variety but the gameplay is definitely the most important element at the end of the day and it is quite sound. It has more replay value than a lot of the other sport games that I’ve played on the NES. If you’ve got the Switch Online then you should definitely check it out. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much fun it is.