Kevin Lee II On December 22, 2008 at 8:38 am

Tecmo kickoffs the classic football game, that many of us consider one of the best games of all time,onto the Nintendo DS. Based off of Tecmo Super Bowl, Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff is a game designed for both long time fans of the nostalgic football game and newcomers that want a football game without all the simulation and complexity of a game such as Madden or the 2K series. It allows a fun, fast paced, arcade style of football with new features to further the football experience with options that we’ve seen in some of the newer football games that are on the consoles today.

Starting off with the bulk of Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff, the gameplay is simply easy to pick up and play. It feels as though it’s exactly the same as the original Tecmo Bowl unchanged. Now I find this to be great for what it is, some people who were not fans of the original will definitely not be excited about this portable version. Just as the original was, it’s a pick up and play football game with very few rules that will hinder your gaming experience. This is great that it’s not a game that you have to sit and play for hours at a time like a regular full-blown football game such as Madden. The game doesn’t have any NFL license, so Tecmo lets players of the game to manually edit the team colors, emblems, cities, names of teams and players so you can recreate the whole NFL if you are so inclined (who has the time?). Like most multiplayer games on the Nintendo DS, Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff has a Wi-Fi option for wireless online multiplayer that allows playing football games online and even player trades. The controls feel like the original, but they also added stylus control to play the game. This was clumsy and added no apparent advantage to gameplay except for selecting a receiver quicker. You’ll find it to be worthless when it blocks your screen while trying to get a touchdown.

Tecmo again sticks with throwing back to the original Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff’s by using 16-bit graphics. The game is entirely sprite based which is extremely cool and nostalgic for the fans of the classics. It still has those awesome Tecmo cinematics that constantly interrupt the game. This can be confusing at some points, but the cutscenes actually look better than the in-game graphics. It’s great to see a big play happen with a cutscene right after.

The sound is the real downfall in this portable arcade-y football game. Sticking with the checklist to emulate the original, Tecmo stuck with the 16-bit sounds which is fine for awhile. This is until you get a pounding headache from the annoying repetitive tunes that blast into your ears like a jackhammer and chainsaw dueling eachother. If you like the chiptunes of classics, you will probably like the sound though.

Overall , Tecmo did a pretty good remake of the game they released oh so long ago. This portable football game for the Nintendo DS turns out to be a fun, pick up and play, arcade style football game that won’t scare away the people who won’t play Madden because of it’s complexity. Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff allows anyone to choose from either four running or four passing plays to achieve touchdowns and ultimately win the football season. The Wi-Fi multiplayer option is a nice edition that will let you challenge people around the world instead of just your friends on your couch like the good old days. If you are a big fan of the older games, pick it up because it’s almost and exact replica with very few changes. If you are looking for a deeper football experience, this isn’t your type of game. You’re better off sticking to Madden.


True to the original, simple yet fun, and the Wi-Fi multi-player is a great option.


Tecmo gives us 16-bit awesomeness, and the cutscenes are really rewarding.


Only downfall in this game, good to stick to the original, but becomes irritating after awhile.


A pick up and play arcade football game that sticks to the original formula of the Tecmo Bowl games, fans of the original won’t be disappointed.

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