Super High Impact
I’d said earlier that I wanted to add more sports games to the hopper here, and I felt a bit bad that I couldn’t contribute more to the Halloween specials, so I figure now would be a good time to kick off a project I’ve been mulling over for a while…a big giant block of sports reviews…if you bear with me for this, I promise I’ll have something big afterwards.
For basically as long as there’ve been sports games, there’ve been the over-the-top gimmicky sports games. Basketball wasn’t wild enough, so there was NBA Jam. Baseball needed a little burst of excitement, so we got Super Baseball 2020. Football wasn’t violent enough, so there was NFL Blitz. And Mutant League Football. And NFL Extreme. And then Blitz: The League. The list goes on. It makes the most sense, after all, big hits, deep bombs, long runs, football should be the easiest sport to extremeify…so, a few years before Midway put out NFL Blitz, they brought the world (or at least Super Nintendo owners) a hard-nosed, brutal, in-your-face…prototype of sorts…it’s time for SUPER! HIGH! IMPACT!
This is out-and-out arcade-style at its purest. You turn the game on, you pick how many players there’ll be, you pick teams, and you’re on the field for the coin toss (there’s technically an options menu, but it consists solely of length of quarters, grass/artificial turf, and stereo/mono sound). There’s about twenty plays for each side to pick, and most offensive plays can be turned into either run or pass plays on the fly (B throws to a receiver, A pitches it out to the nearest back). If you’re running it downfield, R gives you a slight speed boost, A dives, and X busts out a spin move that works fairly well on the computer but somewhat less on a human opponent.
As for defense…um…A dives, and there’s a button to jump to try to swat a pass, but that’s about all the help you’re getting. Yes, that’s right, like damn nigh all football games at the time, defense is not just optional, it’s downright frowned upon. There WILL be 80-yard touchdown bombs being swapped back and forth, there WILL be blown tackles because the CPU defenders took moronic angles to the ball carrier, and every game WILL be a 59-52 shootout. Hell, even the kicking game is decided by button mashing (no, literally, all you do is button mash to fill up a power meter. There’s no worries about accurate field goal kicking or trying to direct punts a specific direction).
Oh, there is another situation that’s handled with button-mashing: Fights. Yes. Fights. For whatever reason, every now and then, after a tackle, a defender will start stomping someone, and both teams randomly decide to throw down on each other. As far as I can tell, there’s no actual benefit to winning a fight. It literally seems to exist only for shits and giggles.
Graphics and sound are handled surprisingly well. There’s a good number of voice clips in here, mostly the announcer (sadly not Tim Kitzrow of NBA Jam fame) spouting off lines like “First Down!” or “Wicked Hit!”, or defenders making the Tarzan noise, but they are understandable and don’t sound squelchy or static. Player sprites are rather small, but you’ll have no trouble discerning what’s happening or who’s who. Punching it into the endzone is accompanied by an almost angry sounding “TOUCHDOWWWWWN!” and what appears to be a celebratory GIF with generic action music. There’ll even be the occasional shot of the Hit-O-Meter, where the commentator either berates you for not ruining someone’s career or attempts to punch a hole in the screen for monster hits.
As you might expect, there’s not a lot of depth here. There’s no season or tournament mode, there’s no names for the players, or even numbers. You’re basically having Person A toss it to Person B. The teams are named for cities, although a couple of the logos give a wink and a nod to their actual NFL counterparts, such as Oakland wearing black and silver and having a skull on the logo. It also should be noted that this is the only football game I’ve ever seen with a Team Africa and a Team Europa…I’m pretty sure you couldn’t get away with that today. The game tracks only the most bare-bones of stats, like yardage gained and fights won. There’s no customization available, every team has the exact same plays, and honestly, no discernible differences between teams, so there’ll be no battles between a hard-pounding running game and a scrappy defensive team; you’re pretty much fulfilling Jerry Seinfeld’s prophecy of rooting for laundry here.
I can’t imagine someone deriving years or even months of enjoyment from this game. It’s pretty much the definition of a game you’d rent, enjoy with a buddy for a couple days, and bring back to the store, immediately forgetting about it afterwards. In a nutshell, it’s basically a low-rent Tecmo Bowl (handful of plays, rudimentary controls, favors high-scoring games) that’s been injected with pure, unadulterated, 93.5 octane ATTITUDE! Big touchdown celebrations! Lots of smack talk! Fights! LOTS AND LOTS OF YELLING! Sounds cheesy as all hell today, and make no mistake, it is, but if you cut it a bit of slack and remember it came out 20 years ago, you can at least giggle at its campiness…especially if you imagine Roger Goodell’s reaction if this had come out today. It doesn’t hold up terribly well even then, but it might be worth a look if you wanted to see the foundation on which Blitz would later be built on.
Simple arcade action, at least tried to separate itself from its competition.
A bit too simple to invest any real time into, the EXTREME ATTITUDE does not hold up well 20 years later.
8 thoughts on “Super High Impact”
Oh, I am looking forward to this series!
I am curious as to how much feedback we get on this series…
Ok, I couldn’t bring myself to read that Madden article a month or three ago even for a pity-comment, but I’ve always been a little curious about “Super High Impact”.
After all, these days a sports game which conceals its sports nature with a vague title is a game that I’m tempted to buy when I see it in the Locked Glass Case of Used Games (until I’m allowed to rummage around and see the front of the cartridge…I’m lucky they didn’t pull a Phalanax and have something totally unrelated on the cover, or I’d have bought it and been an unhappy marksguy).
All that being said — I don’t think I’ve ever owned (or played?) a football* video game: bowling, pool? Been there, reviewed that. Golf and fishing? Hell, I COLLECT those. I even got a SNES soccer game during a “buy 2, get a sports title free” purchase (and found it basically plays itself, which is rather relaxing and saves me the trouble). But if this is the basic building block of Football mechanics, I think I’d rather listen to Mark Davis tell me what a fishing hat is for.
*: excluding Space Football: One on One, which is quite clearly First-Person Hovercraft Air Hockey.
PS: fun with graphics:
1) the cover art is for the Genesis version
2) the cheerleader is proportioned like a little person; look at the head-to-hand/arm-size ratio
3) re: the nightmare fuel Quarterback Sack picture…golly! (I’d like to think it shows up for a millisecond, almost subliminally, like the Captain Howdy face in “The Exorcist”)
Yeah, for whatever reason, I couldn’t seem to find a SNES cover, so I had to fudge a bit…and no, the QB Sack guy actually has a line of dialogue…let that sink in…
Here’s another vote for more retro sports reviews. I always assume people tend to ignore coverage of old sports games because of the obsession with the latest versions and yearly updates but I don’t see why they’re different to any other old games that get reviewed and revisited.
I have to say though I don’t have a clue about any US sports – if our coverage of Hardball III hadn’t already made that abundantly clear – so I won’t embarrass myself by making any specific comments.
Oh, believe me, I got something in this series you will be able to appreciate…
I always intended to do more sports coverage, but it’s MUCH better to have an actual fan writing (as you can see). I know the mechanics of the sports, and can enjoy a good game, but I moved around so much in my formative years that I don’t even have a place I’d consider a hometown. You really need to have some “skin in the game” to enjoy a sport, and never having a team I was personally invested in to cheer for, or bothering to “adopt” one, means I’ve never followed a sport.
Also, I tend to avoid the videogames for the same reason I avoid RPGs. I enjoy both, I really do, but the idea of devoting multiple evenings for months to one goal terrified me. I guess I prefer the idea of games I can quickly beat.
Doesn’t stop me from buying them and adding them to the pile though, because I’m an idiot.