Gameplay, Story and Value:
For all intents and purposes, the Super Nintendo version of Tecmo Super Bowl is nearly identical to its NES predecessor. You select your team in either a pre-season or season game, or pit the AFC against NFC in a pro bowl game. There is still, unfortunately, no tournament mode nor can adjust quarter or game length. New to the series is the option to adjust weather settings for games in either sun, rain or snow.
Controls are the same as the first game and plays are selected the same way. I still had difficulty with passing plays and eventually just defaulted to running plays instead. I still think Madden Football on the Genesis really did passing plays right, and would have liked to have seen something like that here. Playing on offense is still pretty fun with the ability to gain some insane yardage, but defense still feels like a confusing mess to me.
All in all the gameplay’s not bad, but it doesn’t feel as tight as on the NES, and lack of any real mechanical advancement is unfortunate.
Presentation, Music and Sound:
Everything looks very small on the field and it can be easy to lose track of your active player. Otherwise, the game makes all relevant information clear and easy to read, with menus being functional and easy to understand and navigate. One of my favorite things from the first game were the brief screens that would appear with sacks, interceptions and other minor events. While those are still here they seem less exciting somehow, as well as being less frequent. The halftime “show” is also fairly boring here.
The music itself isn’t anything special but the fact that it runs during plays makes everything feel more exciting, especially when you’ve just broken away and are running for a 60 yard touchdown. The sound effects are also good with audibles actually being… audible… and multiple other sound samples making their way into the game.
The SNES was well know for taking NES staples and making marked improvements upon them. Games like Super Metroid, Link to the Past, Super Punch-Out!! and Mega Man X being clear examples of this. I was really hoping, and in fact expecting Tecmo Super Bowl to not be an exception and receive the same kind of treatment. What I ended up with was something that felt just a little too similar to its 8-Bit counterpart, and yet not as good somehow.
It’s not a bad game, it’s just not the game I feel I should have gotten.