Super High Impact is probably the kind of game you would get if you took a group of people who don’t really watch football and had them supervise a team of sociopathic programmers. It’s supposed to be a high scoring, hard hitting interpretation of the sport with more excitement and attitude added to the game. In actuality, it’s a horrendous home version of an already bad arcade game that plays like Tecmo Super Bowl except with all the fun sucked out of it. Anyone who was around for the 16-bit era probably won’t be surprised to learn that this monstrosity was published by Acclaim.
Things go wrong as soon as you get to the play-calling screen. On offense, you have several plays to choose from, but almost every one of them is a long bomb. I think there’s a single running play, and one short pass, and neither one of them work very well. You can also kick a field goal or punt – you know, just in case the game somehow turns into a low-scoring contest of strategy and field position.
Once you decide which long bomb you want to throw, things only get worse. You can’t seem to be able to choose which wide receiver you throw the ball to, but it hardly matters since as soon as they run 10 yards downfield you can’t see them anyway. Are they open? Covered? Ran away to appear in a better game? Nobody knows! Don’t worry though, half the time a defender will plow through the line and tackle you before the game will let you get rid of the ball anyway. The rest of the time all you can really do is just throw the ball up for grabs and hope one of your guys ends up with it, which would actually make it a pretty accurate simulation if every quarterback in the game was supposed to be Drew Bledsoe.
Since the game was released, LA lost both its NFL teams, and Africa has been passed over for a new franchise 4 times. I guess “Super High Impact thinks we should have a team,” isn’t the most convincing case to present to an NFL Expansion Committee.
Defensively, things aren’t much better. As the title implies, Super High Impact football puts a big emphasis on making big hits. In fact, just about every tackle in the game is a bone-jarring impact that sends the opponent’s pads exploding off, and the best ones are rated on the “Hit-O-Meter” by some screaming jackass. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you hit the guy, he never drops the ball, so you actually have to let the guy catch the ball in order to hit him. And since just about every pass is a 50-yard bomb, this isn’t sound football strategy. The programmers compensated for this by making the game so bad that it’s impossible to care about the outcome anyway, but if you’re really trying to stop your opponent from scoring, your best bet is to simply push the receiver out of bounds before the ball gets there.
Control: You can’t choose which receiver you’re throwing to, you can only barely play defense, and you can rarely see enough of the field to know what the hell you’re supposed to be doing anyway. You could watch a real football game on TV while holding a Genesis controller and get about the same level of interactivity as you do from playing this goddamn game.
Graphics: The game features a lot of early 90’s era, low-resolution digitized graphics, which have very little animation and are quite pixelated. What’s really awesome though is that the Genesis couldn’t handle the video clips featured in the arcade version, but rather than get rid of them entirely, they’ve all been replaced with what look like really bad animated .gifs based off of the original FMVs.
Sound: Like some kind of low-budget cartoon, every character in the game sounds like his lines are being screamed at you by the same voice actor. And I mean screamed. This includes taunts, referee’s calls and commentary. At first, I thought it was kind of weird that the same voice that was yelling things like “Incomplete”, and “4th down” was also calling me a momma’s boy, but I guess the refs in Super High Impact Football are just really into trash talking.
No. No it isn’t.
Final Verdict: The only thing that kept this game out of the Top 5 is the fact that it’s still more interesting to watch than the Detroit Lions.