4th and goal from the trash can, McNabb's your man behind center, Vick's out wide, and The Fridge isn't just in the backfield, he is the backfield. As you scroll through your playbook, you can run a double reverse to Must-See Mike, call an option with Donovan and the big man from the Midway, or maybe even a running back pass to show off the Fridge's arm. These are the types of decisions that make NFL Street
so fun, and to make things better, no matter what play you draw up in the sand, the game is so much about improvisation, laterals, flea flickers, and Gamebreakers, the play you pick in the huddle is never quite run to design, and that's a good thing, a very good thing.
Your option pitch might run your back straight into a wall or chain-link fence if you flip it too wide. You'll encounter wheels rolling through the field, or junkyard as the case may be, watermelons and crates to smash, benches to knock over, and some of the most over-the-top, outrageous razzle-dazzle triple lateral, double fumble touchdowns ever seen in a football game.
NFL Street is the game that out-blitzes Blitz to revive the arcade football genre to a status worthy of the legends strutting their attitude across the asphalt. Names like Lawrence Taylor, Barry Sanders, and even Sweetness himself, Walter Payton enter the game in their own throwbacks to show the new school what street ball is all about.
It's about competitiveness, hard hits, style, and most of all, fun.
If you're looking for one football game to get you through the upcoming post Super Bowl depression, NFL Street is the polygonal Prozac you've been chanting for, and you don't even need a prescription.
NFL Street is seven-on-seven football where every player you pick for your team plays both offense and defense. On top of that, you can put any player at any position, enabling you to experiment with Warren Sapp at quarterback, Peyton Manning at nose tackle, Brian Urlacher at running back, and Peter Warrick at the corner.
It's one of those games where football fans will be addicted after one score and the football haters will crossover when they see it because of the exciting gameplay that appeals to both sports and non-sports gamers alike ala classics like NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, and EA Big's other gem, NBA Street.
As you play a game, it's not just about scoring points, it's about scoring points with style. The controls are simple as on offense you can lateral, hurdle, juke, or stiff arm, utilize your turbo to speed past defenses, and hit the showboat button to perform some of the most incredible taunts, high steps, and street moves imaginable, from dribbling the football along the ground like LeBron, to throwing passes behind your back, and even cannon-balling into the endzone. The more style you show, the more Gamebreaker points you accumulate.
Fill the Gamebreaker meter and you can ignite your team into a frenzy of unlimited turbo and incredible plays. You'll see running backs get slammed into walls only to bounce off and keep running, quarterbacks brush off sackers like Britney brushed off her "husband", and if you activate your Gamebreaker while on defense, you're more prone to creating turnovers, as every play is a potential fumble or interception. The Gamebreaker lasts for an entire series, and the timing of when to use your super powers becomes one of strategy, often times becoming the difference between a win and a loss. Some players like to save their Gamebreaker until the end of the game, others like to use it after a score in attempts to get the ball back and score again.
But Gamebreakers aren't full proof, as occasionally you'll catch your opponent blitzing and be able to heave one deep to a streaking receiver. Talk about a change of momentum. Scoring on a team when they have a Gamebreaker is like making a miracle lateral play all the way down the field then watching your kicker miss the extra point.
NFL Street sets it straight. No punk-ass kickers allowed.
What I would've preferred, however, was even more madness to each Gamebreaker. Busting through tackles and picking passes is great, but there aren't any secret Gamebreaker plays/animations or Double Gamebreakers like you have in NBA Street Vol. 2. It's more like your team is pumped to play and does something great in the context of the gameplay and animations already provided. Not a dis to the game, more like disappointment as it was something I had been expecting.
NFL Street's real strength lies in multi-player games, as up to four players can step on the concrete and crush cyber athletes against the sides of buildings, toss the pigskin between their legs, and send ball carriers spinning through the air helicopter style
but just because you have your opponent in the middle of a flip doesn't mean the play is over, as he can lateral the ball from his upside down position to another player on his team, and if you get caught celebrating too early, you might get caught with a loss.
You can play pickup games, where 40 players from around the NFL are randomly selected for a draft, and team captains have the choice to either pick first or get the ball first. And while this sounds insignificant, if you take the ball, you might be regretting it instantly when you see a legend in the mix like Barry Sanders or Kenny Stabler. Then again, sometimes the players in the pool are more down to the caliber of Jeff Blake and Rodney Peete and you wish you had the chance at the first score.
Getting the ball first is also important because the games are played to a specific score or to a specific number of style points, so obviously if you have the ball first, you have a better chance at achieving the winning goal faster than your opponent.
Aside from pickup games, you can also play quick games where you take one of the teams from around the NFL, pick your best seven, then head out onto the field for the competition. It's amazing, though, just how significant every player you pick for your team really is, as since there are only seven players per team, you need guys like Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson who can not only play both sides of the ball, but a variety of positions as well.
Also, depending on who you pick for your team, the strategy becomes completely different. Playing as the 49ers for instance, you can play as a conventional lineup of Garcia, Barlow, Owens, Newberry, Carter, Peterson, and Streets. This gives you a quarterback, a runner, two receivers, and some big guys for the line. But if you don't like Garcia, you can play big and go with Hearst at quarterback, Barlow at running back, T.O. at wide receiver, Newberry, Carter, and Stone up front to provide more blocking, and since you're not going to pass much with Hearst as your play caller, you can move Peterson out wide. These are both 49er lineups, but two totally different teams in terms of strategy and gameplay.
Another factor to take into consideration when selecting your lineup is the field you plan to play on. There are eight environments in the game and while some fields are long and narrow, some are wide and short, not to mention surfaces like the beach actually favor a slower team that can pound the ball through the sand. Different lineups play better on different fields, and that all needs to be taken into consideration when putting together your dream team of Street performers.
And while the game thrives in multiplayer, it's also surprisingly deep in terms of the single-player experience. There is a mode called the NFL Challenge where you actually start the game with seven created characters and then work to improve your team through a series of challenges that enable you to improve player attributes, obtain new gear like special shoes that make a player run faster, and even swipe a player off of the opposing team to add to your rag-tag squad of scrubs.
Once your team starts to build up their stats, you can then try to work your way up the ladder of each division. Defeat each team in that division to unlock a new division to play in. Defeat all of the divisions to face the final Legends team. Beat the Legends, and you'll become a legend yourself, at least in your own mind.
What's great about this is the fact that you'll see items on other players like special shoulder pads that you might not have gotten to yet or simply ignored to go after something else, but after the game you set your goals to go grab this new gear because you witnessed first-hand just how devastating they could be.
The NFL Challenge is deep, well thought out, and challenging all at the same time, offering one of the best single-player experiences seen in an arcade sports game to date.
One of the main problems the NFL has is since the players wear helmets, the athletes aren't very recognizable outside of their uniforms. This is one reason why the league has to be thrilled with Street, as not only are the players playing without their hard hats, but all of their personality is reflected through their individualized clothing and head gear, not to mention their tats. The game provides plenty of cool close-ups as well as players talk trash, dance, and act in all kinds of ways the No Fun League would fine them for if they attempted it on national television.
Each location and environment is also unique in both look and flavor. The rooftop level features a neon glow, you can actually see the tide move in and out on the beach, and if you throw a pass too high in the warehouse, it will bounce off of a rafter and spiral back down to earth. One problem, however, is that since it is street football, the sidelines aren't marked off very well and you have quite a few instances of accidentally running out of bounds.
Another EA Trax compilation, featuring songs by Korn, Killer Mike, and Jakk Frost. The mix is pretty good, but the Xbox definitely gets the best treatment as you can also utilize Custom Soundtracks to pop in the music of your choice. On the field, there isn't an announcer, just beats in the background, grunts and groans from players, and plenty of junk being talked on both sides of the ball.
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