Review by King Broccoli

"Great sport........great game"

Aussie Rules Footy is the NES incarnation of that fabulous sport that unfortunately very few people outside Australia know about. It’s as realistic a sim as you could pretty much get and has provided myself with many long hours of great AFL action. It’s just a pity that the target audience is so small :(

GRAPHICS
The graphics were done reasonably well without being overly good. There’s enough to stop your eyeballs from bleeding but little more than that. The crowd has been designed surprisingly well, the games are always played before a packed stadium and the people there actually have some nice detail on them. This excellent crowd design sort of heightens the atmosphere and the rest of the graphics do nothing to hinder this. The ground is a lovely shade of green and all the lines, markings etcetera are accurate and in the right place. The surroundings as a whole are fairly accurate and work well.
The players can be a tad disappointing, they’ve been designed to be very small and the animations seem a bit awkward. They appear to be very lose at the joints and one can’t help but worry that when they run or jump that their arms and legs are going to fall off. The only vision you get of those nasty creatures the umpires is when a goal is scored (you get a nice little animation of him waving his flags) or when the football goes over the boundary line (a scary close-up of his ugly face). Between quarters, the action cut to a commentator with a bad hairdo who would give his comment on why one team was winning or the other was losing, it was a nice little novelty (especially when you here him say “Your team will have to work hard to win from here” when you’re winning 60 – 0).
Overall, the graphics were definitely up to scratch at the time and portrayed the game of Australian Football quite well. There were a few noticeable glitches along the way but for the most part these were forgivable flaws. There was a nice “footy” atmosphere created and the graphics generally serve their purpose well. A solid job without being outstanding.

SOUND
The sound is extremely sparse at times, but when put into action it can be quite good. For some reason the developers decided that background music wasn’t needed and have therefore scrapped the whole premise of it. It means the game can be nearly completely silent at times, which can be a little annoying. The crowd has once again been put to great use, they always have a presence (albeit a semi-quiet one for most of the match) and when some real action takes place then they let you know about it! As a goal gets scored the spectators will all cheer as one, giving the player a really big ego trip and just making them want to do it again.
Sound effects aren’t too common an occurrence, there’s usually just a couple of little pathetic sounds depending on whether the player with the ball kicks or handballs it away. These sounds, whilst generally easy on the ears, will get repetitive once you’ve been playing the game for a reasonable amount of time. There area couple of snippets of speech (delivered only as a NES can) which are from the umpires mouth, but other than this and the odd whistle you’re not going to hear anything new.
Overall, the sound is just too rare an occurrence to really make a prominent impact on the game. Whilst the crowd is a highlight here there simply isn’t enough to back it up, if there was more it could have been so much better.

GAMEPLAY
The gameplay is a delight to have a go at, it’s simple to get into and easy to get hooked on. It takes all the complicated rules that every sport seems to have dozens of and transforms them into a game that isn’t confusing and easy to play to even the most clueless of players. The controls are amazingly easy to get the hang of, if you have the ball A is long kick and B is short pass. If you don’t have the ball then A is tackle and B is jump, it doesn’t get any better than that. Manoeuvring your player around takes a little bit of good judgement, the kicks travel the same distance every time and you just have to anticipate where it’s going to land. The responsiveness of the players to the button inputs is fantastic, they’ll do exactly what you tell them instead of just running around all over the place.
The choice of modes for a person to try their hand at is quite good; there’s a nice range, from the ones that offer quick stints at the game to the modes requiring a lot more effort and perseverance, there should be something there to suit the taste of most people. The first mode is a simple Kick to Kick, this is where you hone your ball skills before taking them into the big games, you can also practice some goal shooting. Number two is a quick start, teams and colours are randomly chosen and you’re thrust straight into a game. The third mode is just like the quick start except you actually get to choose what team you take control of (YIPPEE) and then play a single match, the last mode is the real challenge of the game, it’s a tournament where you have to play quite a few games in succession until you’re crowned the CHAMPION! There should be enough there to satisfy most people…
A tough little skill to master is that of shooting for goal, as you get closer to the big sticks a meter will appear down the bottom, just a vertical line with a horizontal line going back and forward on it. The closer you get the wider the meter becomes and the slower it will travel, you have to exercise good timing and get the horizontal line as close to the centre as you can. It’s a difficult task and can be quite confusing for many newcomers to the game. This is the only tough bit to get used to and should prove to be easier with time.
There’s a fine amount of teams on offer, all of them that were in the competition at the time are duly represented, with a few unknowns coming in as well to take care of the parts of Australia usually left out (not that any of you probably care). If you don’t like the colour of your team’s uniform then there’s a host of different colours that could prove more to your liking, it’s all very customisable here.
Overall, the gameplay is sheer brilliance. It’s simple, yet complex in it’s own strange little way, there’s a good amount of depth and fan of the sport or not you can have some good times playing this game. The games may get repetitive after a while, but give the game a bit of a rest and you’ll come back invigorated and yearning for more of that great action on offer.

LIFESPAN
The lifespan of Aussie Rules Footy was a reasonable amount, every game could pretty much turn out the same way making everything a bit on the repetitive side of things. The game modes lack the variety needed to give the game a really good lifespan, only multiplayer contests (and you can squeeze quite a few players in) can stop the play time of this game coming to a sudden and abrupt halt. It’s good fun for a while, but thrashing the pants of the opposition time and time again isn’t going to excite you for too long.

FUN FACTOR
The fun factor is pretty high, it’s a very user-friendly game meaning that for the most part it’s fun and simple to play. There are a few slight aggravations, but every game usually has a couple of these and in this game they’re easy to get over. Aussie Rules Footy is just a delight to play, there’s nothing better than taking a brilliant grab over the top of a large pack of players to really get the adrenalins going and this game has those by the bagful. There are no complaints to be made in this section, it’s a very easy and well done job.

CHALLENGE
The challenge unfortunately, can be pretty mediocre. There are no settings for difficulty and therefore once you become affluent in the way of the game beating the opposing team is no problem and finishing the tournaments and such will just become a chore. When you’re starting out and learning the ropes you will find a good challenge from this game, but the more you play it the faster this challenge just erodes away. Multiplayer games are the best if you want a decent challenge, but it can be tough to find one on the same level of brilliance as yourself.

OVERALL
Overall, Aussie Rules Footy has it’s upsides and the opposite of upsides (downsides I believe), thankfully the former far outweigh the latter and it makes the game an absolute pleasure to have a go at. It’s a pity really that finding the game outside Australia is impossible, as it can provide fun no matter what your sporting background and preferences. It’s one of the most easily accessible games that I’ve played and it is SO easy to get into, if you can find it then DO AT ALL COSTS! You certainly won’t regret that you did…
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GOOD POINTS
- It’s a very friendly type of game
- There are very few AFL games available, making this one up there with the best
- The gameplay is fun and simple, WOOHOO

NOT SO GOOD POINTS
- Scoring goals can be tough
- Uneven challenge on display here
- The lifespan could have been extended just a fraction
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GRAPHICS – 8/10
SOUND – 5/10
GAMEPLAY – 10/10
LIFESPAN – 7/10
FUN FACTOR – 10/10
CHALLENGE – 6/10
OVERALL – 9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/13/00, Updated 07/13/00


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