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February 3, 2004
NFL Street - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
29/1/2004EA Sports BIGTiburon1-2M15+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
116KBDolby Pro Logic IIYesNoNoneNo

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Graphics are sold enough.
Despite the complete lack of free to air TV coverage of NFL here in Australia there is still a surprisingly large following of the sport. In America, however, nothing even comes close to the fanfare and fanaticism that the sport has with tens of millions of fans watching the game weekly. Hell, the Superbowl this week had almost one in three Americans watching, and not just for Janet Jackson's accidental boob flop (unplanned - yar right!).

For this reason NFL games have always been popular with developers. Acclaim had their NFL Quarterback Club series, Sega their NFL2K series, Electronic Arts their Madden NFL series, Microsoft their NFL Fever series, Sony their NFL Gameday series and Midway their NFL Blitz titles. Of all those series' it's Electronic Arts' Madden NFL that stands out from the crowd. But that game is a simulation, NFL Street is much closer to Midway's NFL Blitz, arcade styled title - but much. much better.

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Running from the enemy.
NFL Street is a 7-on-7 street based NFL game, although it uses real stars of the game, not just some shmucks made up by the developers. In fact it is possible to select from 300 of the NFL's biggest stars, from all 32 teams including legends like Barry Sanders. The gameplay is very much arcade in style with flashy moves and plenty of street grooves to keep you happy. That is one of the most enjoyable aspects of this title - the wide range of verging on insane moves. Unlike the real game the players you pick here play both offence and defence - and can play in any position on the field.

Obviously the highlight of any sports title such as this is the multi-player aspect of the game, and NFL Street allows up to 4-players to participate in a game at a time. The only disappointment is the exclusion of online gameplay - but even America missed out on that, not just PAL territories. Perhaps if this game sells well enough (as it deserves to) that may appear in a sequel.

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Fumble in the mud.
While NFL Street is a terrific game overall there are a couple of small niggles which I wish were fixed prior to release. The biggest is that I'm honestly not too sure how well NFL fits into the "street" setting. I can understand NBA on the street, but NFL? The game also includes only 8 fields/areas to play on which is a little disappointing. Given the limitless number of streets and districts in America I would have thought a bit more variety could have been offered - although the field on top of the building is stunning.

One of the best things with the graphics is that fans of NFL will finally be able to see their favourite players without helmets and padding. Most importantly you not only see the players faces but get to experience a wide range of emotions and gestures. The animations on the players are superb with an extremely wide range of moves including some bone crunching clashes between players. The playing fields themselves are adequately detailed however I felt that the backgrounds were a little disappointing and occasionally dull.

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Leaving the carnage behind.
Sound is very good. While I was slightly disappointed with the range of music (which includes the likes of Korn and is provided through EA Trax) it's the ambient effects while playing the game that stands out. Anything you can hear in a real street (birds, car horns) can be heard. There is no commentary during the game, but the players all mouth off at one another during the game - and it's top quality stuff.

The biggest plus to NFL Street is that it can be played by NFL fans as well as NFL novices. The graphics, sound and gameplay all combine to make this a great start to what will hopefully become a continuing series. With Midway's NFL Blitz going off the boil in recent years this game will fill the gap nicely.

Review By: David Warner

GRAPHICSGood animation and textures, but not quite as brilliant as Madden.
SOUNDThe music is adequate but it's the background effects that stand out.
GAMEPLAYEasily the best playing arcade based NFL game ever. Excellent.
VALUEPlenty of teams and players, several game modes. No online play.
OVERALLNFL Street is a very impressive title, and one well worth considering for purchase. Everything gels together with that typical EA spit and polish. Highly recommended for all sports and arcade fans.

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