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Brutal Sports Football - The Atari Times

Brutal Sports Football

Futuristic mayhem on a football field
by Bruce Clarke

January 5, 2007
I don't enjoy most team sports games; they usually seem pretty boring to me. Something like Madden will put me to sleep faster than a bottle of Nyquil. However, there's one such game for the Jaguar that I can recommend to even the non-sports fans: Brutal Sports Football. I once tried BSF a few years ago and decided that I didn't like it, but recently I decided to give it one more try. This time I decided to spend some time trying to learn the controls and beat the computer. After giving the game a fair shake, I've found that I actually do like it!

Brutal Sports Football is not so much soccer or American football but rather a rugby-style game. The setting is the mid-21st century, and genetically-engineered warrior-freaks play this half-rugby, half-battle game in a football-style arena. A football can be either carried or kicked from one player to another. As you might expect, you score by putting the ball into the opposing team's goal. Each game is just seven minutes in length, but a lot can happen in that time.

Like most games you want to score more goals than the opponent, but you can also win whatever the score if you can decapitate six players from the other team! If the game ends in a tie, you play "sudden death", and it is exactly that; the first team to literally kill off the other wins. Vicious!

To gain possession you tackle, kick or punch the opponent, often maiming him in the process. To add some spice to the game, icons for power-ups such as extra speed, bombs, or even swords (!) are scattered on the field. Yes, you can stomp on an opponent, blow him up with a bomb, or even lop off his head - and the game is not shy about showing plenty of spurting blood. By halfway through a game, the field is littered with bomb craters, corpses, and severed heads!

However, BSF is a port from the Amiga, and it shows. The graphics are of the 16-bit variety, and this game looks more like one for the Super Nintendo or the Genesis than for a 64-bit system - I guess the programmers left 48 bits sitting back at home on the kitchen table!

The players are large colourful sprites. They look okay, but the animation is very choppy: for example, when they run, it looks as though they're using perhaps two or three frames of animation, giving the game a very clunky look. The playfield and the stadium are nicely detailed, but they still look rather flat.

The controls, although simple, are a tad sloppy too. I find that when the football is free, it's a bit difficult to judge the exact position of your feet as you try to run over the ball and scoop it up. Perhaps the most annoying aspect is that the 'pause' feature seems very slow to react; you need to press and hold the button for a half-second or so before the game finally reacts and stops.

Another problem is that if you have any kind of arthritis you'll hate this game: the constant movement of the football and players in every direction means that your left thumb will get a heck of a workout.

The sound effects are just average, and frankly I find the music annoying - I usually turn it off as soon as the game starts. Oh, and yet another annoyance is that there's no "save game" feature; you have to write down a 16 character alphabetic password to continue a game later! Grr! Talk about 16-bit!

Luckily, all these flaws are made up for by the non-stop action. The game is a lot of fun to play for one player against the CPU, but it becomes outstanding when you go 2-player against a friend. Another bonus is that it's a very common game and can be found on eBay for only $15 or so. It's a very cheap addition to your Jaguar library.

Overall I recommend Brutal Sports Football. It's a good game but the flaws bring my rating down.

Brutal Sports Football

(c) Atari

Ok, I'm too lazy to screencap the title screen.
Lop off a few heads in BSF!
Brutal Sports Football
System: Jaguar
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Sports
Graphics Score: 50%
Sound & Music Score: 50%
Gameplay Score: 85%
Control Score: 50%

Final Score: 65%

Reader Comments for Brutal Sports Football

BSF isn't perfect but is still a great game by Guitarman on 2007-03-16 11:29:05
The animation might be choppy and the music a little dated but as far as entertainment, I give this game a 9 out of 10. I look at games from the point of view of being fun and not super high tech. This is definetely one of the funnest sports titles I have ever played and wonder why people score it so low? I didn't find any fault with the controls and the way the gameplay is set up makes for non-stop action. Another underated Jaguar title...
Me too by Gregory D. George on 2007-03-16 19:41:53
I've always kinda liked BSF. It's 2D and all, but it's still a lot of fun. Definitely a good party game. My friend would rather play it than many of the Jaguar 3D games!
I cant get enough of this game impressive by Fsporsche on 2008-10-01 09:09:47
I am not crazy about sports games, but this one has a twist to it...The gameplay is fantastic and the sound and graphics are good. I like the part when you can throw a bomb and blow up your opponents and take a sword and slice their heads off cool. This is a great and fun game to keep comming back to play. My nephew does not like the jaguar but when he played this game all he could say was I love it, this game rocks..Now every time he comes over he always asks if he could play brutal sports on the jag.
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