Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Blitz! (Vectrex Game)

This football game in which your players are X's and O's (well, squares that are meant to be O's) may not look like much, but it's actually my very favorite game for the Vectrex thus far.

Blitz! can be played either against the Vectrex or as a two player game. It features three modes (1 is a little too easy, 3 is impossibly hard, 2 provides a decent yet fun challenge) and a lot more nuances than you'd expect. You have the choice of 4 different formations, some of which are better for running and others better for passing. Once you pick your formation, you can run, pass, pitch out to the side, or even attempt a field goal.If you run one formation or play too often, the Vectrex will catch wise. The defense has this linebacker with crazy closing speed. He'll shoot the gaps and sack your QB on some plays, and drop back into coverage to pick off passes and break up long plays on others. It's hard to break anything longer than 30 years because this guy is always there. He's the Tecmo Bo of this game. There are a lot of things in this game that are very much like actual football, which is saying something for football games of this era.

Even with the realism this game provides, there are also some elements that are not so real. For example: you can control your passes after you throw them. You can move them all over the screen in mode 1, threading every needle and evading every defender until you reach your receiver way down field. You have less control over your passes in the other modes, but can still affect them in flight. You can throw passes away to avoid sacks and will never get called for grounding. Also, the Vectrex will always attempt field goals rather than touchdowns, regardless of where it is on the field. This becomes hilarious in mode 1 because the Vectrex often has poor field position and the missed field goals basically turn into punts. So after you score, the Vectrex will punt to you, which is nice but completely unrealistic. So yeah, not everything in this game is on par with the X's and O's in the real game, but it's still a very good football game that compares favorably with every other football game of the era (yes, even Intellivision Football). This is a perfect example of how excellent gameplay and originality can overcome simplistic graphics (which is precisely what vintage gaming is all about).

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