Review by ThoughtFool1
10-Yard Fight, 1-Yard Short
Note: There are two versions of this game available on emulation. One version of the game more closely resembles the arcade game originally created in 1983, only letting the player play offense while attempting to score touchdowns. This version is arcade-style point based and has a varying amount of time based on the difficulty level and actions performed by the player. However, it still gives two players the ability to play head-to-head. The other version of this game is the one found on actual game cartridges and is the one discussed in this review.
10-Yard Fight is a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) launch title released on October 18th, 1985 in North America. It was published by Nintendo, but is a port of a 1983 American football arcade game developed by Irem. The game is the first football game released on the NES, featuring 9-on-9 play with the basic, essential elements of the sport. It also supports multiplayer, giving players the ability to go head-to-head. It should also be noted that this game does not feature any NFL players or teams.
===> Graphics = (unnecessary roughness) 4/10
Due to the technological limitations when it was released, the game looks unsurprisingly bad. However, even when compared to its peer launch titles, 10-Yard Fight fumbles.
> Graphics / Animation - 4/10
Truly, the ability to animate 18 different players at the same time for a launch title is impressive...that is the only impressive thing about the graphics though. First of all, there are flickering issues due to all the action that is on the screen. The largest problem, however, is that all of the players are tiny, minuscule sprites...this leaves the gamer feeling like they are controlling a group of oompa loompas rather than 6'3" 230 lb. star athletes. The animations are not bad considering the time it was released, but, perhaps due to the bad overall look of the game, they still appear a bit stiff and robotic. Overall, the graphics and animation are subpar even considering the lackluster technology available at the time of release.
> Color Palette - 2/10
This one deserves some mention. First of all, the football is black...that's right, they couldn't even get the color right on the ball the game is centered around. Next, the super bowl team...the hardest team in the game, the team of teams, the one you want to beat at all costs...wears pink jersey and purple helmets. WHAT? When was the last time you saw a football team take the field with pink jerseys and purple helmets. Not only that, the playoff team, the team you need to defeat to advance to the flamboyant super bowl team, has a pink pony (or unicorn) for their mascot ...yeah, not even a punch line to that bad joke. On the up side, at least the field is green and your team isn't wearing the pink jerseys. There were certainly some technological limitations in 1985...but that is not an excuse to dish out some of the worst color choices possible in a football game.
===> Sound = (passable) 5/10
When handed the lightweight, low-expectations (video game audio) ball by other launch titles for the NES...10-Yard Fight manages...for better or worse.
> Music - 4/10
For a launch title sports game, the expectation is actually no in-game music, only title screen music. 10-Yard Fight opts to go with no title screen music, but running an in-game track. This is a mistake. First of all, the music sounds more like racehorse cadence rather than actual game music...it takes a while for the player to realize that, after snapping the ball, what plays isn't the sound effects of the player running...but the game's attempt at music. When music is easily confused with sound effects, something is wrong. Also, every time a sound effect is played (such as if the player passes the ball or attempts a tackle), the music pauses while the sound effect plays. Finally, the in-game music only plays while the ball is in play...while waiting for the snap (which is excessively long and tedious at times) the only sound that runs is the sound effect of the man-in-motion's footsteps. They do have small tunes that play for certain actions, such as touchdowns and kickoffs...these, at least, are welcome additions.
> Effects - 6/10
The sound effects for the game range from passable to decent.
===> Gameplay = (gets the first down...barely) 6/10
This is a bare bones football game...serving up just enough gameplay to do service to the sport.
> Controls - 6/10
Controls are perhaps the most important aspect of sports games. Here, the controls are both simple and responsive. D-pad moves the player, the A button passes forward while the B button laterals. On defense, the controls are even simpler with A and B choosing the player before the hike and both buttons performing a tackle during play. The major hit here is the fact that the players on the field move with the speed of a beached turtle. While the players may immediately respond to the commands given, their slow movement makes the controls feel sluggish.
> Design - 5/10
How different players feel about the game design will depend on their expectations for a football game...the developers were only able to capture the basic elements of the sport. You do play on teams...but teams of 9 instead of 11. You can run or pass the ball, there are 4 downs, you need 10 yards to score a 1st down, touchdowns are 6 points, you can kick extra points, and you can also kick field goals or punts. There are some other basic elements in the game, but some things that are missed by players will be the ability to choose plays or formations, the ability to freely switch between players, and some of the rules or abilities in other football games (such as there are no fumbles in this game). The worst design flaw is the fact that the players move slower down the field than a two-year old attempting to crawl it. The slow player movement is exacerbated by the fact that, before the hike, the player is forced to sit there and wait for the man in motion to inch his way from right-to-left while the computer has the ball or if the player wants his receiver to be on that side of the field.
Every play on offense starts the same, you have two runners on both sides and one man-in-motion (your receiver). After snapping the ball, the man in motion moves out to the field and your runners follow you. Due to the ease of having your pass intercepted and also dodging tackles, most players will choose to run the ball down the field every play. This just highlights the sluggish movement in the game while making it predictable and boring. On defense, you have a line of five players and then a randomly generated placement of your remaining four guys. The player is then given a choice between two of the four randomly placed players. Defense can get frustrating since if your opponent runs to the opposite side of the field that you are on...you are forced to rely on your teammates to make a tackle since there is no way to switch to a player closer to the action after the ball is hiked. For its time, 10-Yard Fight was the best thing on a console for somebody looking to play football...but it certainly was not without flaws.
> Content - 4/10
The best thing about the content of the game is that it allows for multiplayer...outside of that there isn't a whole lot left. No season modes here. There are five different teams representing five different difficulties. If you have an imagination you can believe that they represent a sort of shortened career mode for your team...you beat the high school team, you earn the right for a big game against the college team...until you reach the super bowl team (the guys in pink jerseys). After you beat these flamboyant fruitbags you get a trophy with some triumphant music right? Wrong. After beating the super bowl team the game tells you that you are on your way to...the super bowl. What? You just beat them! That's right...its a never ending game...you just keep playing them for eternity like a crude form of torture...the game doesn't even have the decency to award the player for winning the super bowl! The multiplayer can provide a lot of content for some pals, but the packaged game content is a joke.
> Fun Factor - 6/10
Oddly, this game is fun if the player gives it a chance. After playing for a bit to get the hang of the controls and the gameplay...and throwing away any expectations for a Tecmo Super Bowl...the game grows on the player, providing a sort of simple, mindless fun. It's generally not enough to keep someone playing for ages...but it is enough to keep them from throwing their controller down and burning the game in a fire pit. If you can find a friend willing to give the game a chance, playing against a buddy provides a good source of entertainment to pass some time away.
> Replay Value - Low
There isn't a lot of reason to keep playing this game...only the multiplayer really provides any sort of reason to come back to this one.
===> Reviewer Opinion = (keep it on the bench) 5/10
I generally dislike sports games...but I was able to stomach this game. It is simplistic, flawed, sluggishish...but it works and is oddly enjoyable if given the chance and any expectations are removed. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this game to anybody...on the other hand, I wouldn't bash the game either when asked about it. It has its place. With that said, however, if you are a football fanatic I'd strongly recommend you STAY AWAY from this game...there are no plays for you to call, no defensive formations to run, nothing any hardcore football fan would expect from a football game.
===> Overall Impression = (3rd and long) 5/10
There is some historical significance in being the first football title released on the NES, and perhaps the first console game to closely resemble the sport. 10-Yard Fight scores some touchdowns in certain areas, like being fun if given the chance, actually resembling the sport, and having multiplayer. On the other hand, it also gives a lot of points up with the inability to call plays, the extremely sluggish feel of the game, and the lack of content. With that said, some people will drop it immediately...but a few will appreciate it for being a simple game looking to provide a bit of fun.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: 10-Yard Fight (US, 10/31/85)
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