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NESDigital Press - Classic Video Games
Not only are some of the players hanging on the wall of the Hall, some of them are still playing (like Jerry Rice). That's the type of player that something in common with Tecmo Bowl. Pure timelessness. This is one of those games that simply defines what classic gaming is all about, not to mention this is a rare sports game that is still just as fun today as it was during its initial run in stores.
NESThe Video Game Critic
A catchy melody plays throughout the contest, and there's a modest amount of voice synthesis as well. As an added treat, half-time features some surprisingly suggestive cheerleader graphics. Tecmo Bowl's computer opponent is competent, but the game excels at head-to-head competition (trash talking optional but recommended). Tecmo Bowl is pure football joy, and it's held up surprisingly well over the years.
NESAll Game Guide
Choose your favorite NFL team and make a run for the Tecmo Bowl championship! Tecmo Bowl is the granddaddy of all football simulations, and it's still one of the best. The greatest thing about Tecmo Bowl is its realism: the strengths and weaknesses of the real-life team (circa 1988) are the strengths and weakness of its Tecmo Bowl counterpart. Choose between four different plays (two running, two passing) and work your way down the field. The players are big and easy to see, and you can really feel those bone-crushing hits they lay on each other. Defeat all the other teams in the Tecmo League and earn a shot at the Tecmo Bowl championship!! While Tecmo Bowl may be old, it's certainly not a forgotten cart in the crowded football arena.
Game BoyAll Game Guide
Tecmo Bowl is fun to play and should be enjoyed by anyone who likes football. Despite the lack of plays per team you can still have a good deal of fun for a while.
Game BoyJoystick (French)
Doté d'un graphisme quelque peu sommaire, mais qui a l'avantage de permettre une action assez rapide, Tecmo Bowl est une bonne simulation qui pourrait avec des améliorations techniques bien se situer si elle était réalisée sur des machines un peu plus performantes.
Video game football has come a long way over the years, but there's still something to be said for the back-to-basics formula that Tecmo Bowl employed. It stripped the football game down to its basic elements and created a fun arcade experience around it all.
I’m glad that simulation games have progressed to the point they have now. Being able to audible different defensive packages to compensate for mismatches makes the game more true to life, but there’s just something fun about the simplicity of picking a play and running it. Even now, I can see just how easy it was to get hooked on a game like this. Tecmo Bowl is good to have around for those moments where I want to play football, but don’t want to do too much thinking. Which is actually quite often.
Tecmo Bowl is still great fun, and especially enjoyable as a two-player experience – it's easy to see why this game was the Madden of its day. That said, though, there are a couple of caveats to any positive praise. First is the lack of player names – Tecmo Bowl never did have the real NFL teams in it, but you could fake it in your imagination when you saw "Bo Jackson" scroll across your screen. Now even that is gone. And, second, this is Tecmo Bowl. Not Tecmo Super Bowl. It's an important distinction, because most people's fond memories actually apply to the latter, which was the 1991 sequel to this 1989 game. Tecmo Super Bowl added much more to the experience. More teams, more plays, and, most important, the actual NFL license, allowing for the real logos and team names. Don't discount this game, as this first NES Tecmo Bowl has a lot to offer.
Game BoyNintendo Power Magazine
The new version has all the smooth, fast action of NES TB, with the same teams and rosters. Each team has it's own talents and specialities, based on the abilities of the players. There are three modes: One player, Two Player (using a Game Link) and Coach mode, which allows you to choose your own formations. Ready to try your hand? It's kickoff time!
WiiVideo Game Generation
On the Virtual Console, Tecmo Bowl is a difficult call despite being one of the most important sports titles in video game history. On one hand, it’s still a fun game of arcade football, particularly when two players are involved, and well worth $5 when considering only that fact. However, the missing player names do take something away from the experience, and the far-superior Tecmo Super Bowl is destined to arrive on the Virtual Console eventually. As a result, I can only really recommend Tecmo Bowl to gamers with nostalgic ties to the franchise (such as myself) that don’t want to wait on Tecmo Super Bowl. Everyone else should probably punt on this release.
Game BoyElectronic Gaming Monthly (EGM)
For some reason, football on the Gameboy just doesn't sound right. This cart is good, but nowhere near the NES version. The fact that you can use all of your old codes from the NES version really adds to this cart, but despite some nice play, the remains too slow for me.
Game BoyTotal!! UK Magazine
This would be fab if it wern't for the haphazard defensive plays and too-tough cornerbacks.
ArcadeAll Game Guide
And, remember, "fun" is the key word of any game. In that department, Tecmo Bowl just doesn't make the cut.
But to be brutally honest, I should not be reviewing this game. It's not in me to play sports games. I don't personally own many sports games, aside from Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64 (but I am entertained by that one). Still, this game didn't leave me completely befuddled, so it's clearly not an absolutely awful game. If you have any idea what football is about, you might like this joyous archaic 8-bit representation of a nationally-praised sport, so you could give Tecmo Bowl a try. For everyone else, take the cartridge and give it a punt kick.