Classic games being brought back for a new generation is truly a beautiful idea. The key of course being that the developers enhance the title, not simply port it over for a quick buck. Tecmo Bowl: Throwback is 2010's updated version to the original Tecmo Super Bowl from 1993. If you're confused, Tecmo Bowl was America's first smash-hit football game; originally on the Arcade and NES. For 800MSP ($10), Tecmo Bowl is a worthy addition to your Xbox Live Arcade library whether you're huge on football or not.
Before Madden, football games were simplistic and 2D; Tecmo Bowl is no different. If you're looking for a quick and painless football game that doesn't require intense knowledge of the sport; then this is perfect. Personally for instance, I am no Madden buff. Yet playing Tecmo Bowl was easy to pick up and addicting. Getting a hold of the controls may be weird to fathom at first, but like anything else, you'll adapt. There are around 30 teams, and each has 8 default traditional plays, along with some extras for special occasions. What Tecmo Bowl doesn't possess in terms of depth is made up with overall charm. The game just feels “right,” and really pushes for nostalgia.
Single Player mode contains a strong selection of game modes. There is the obvious quick game for challenging the CPU or a friend. A robust Season mode which is exactly what you think it would be; a season of professional football. A “Tecmo All Stars” mode where your team consists of the prime players. Then the online multiplayer, which is sadly very laggy. And really needs to be patched soon. Still, the game is easily likable, and popping in time to time to play a game or two seems like something I'll be doing often.
One of the biggest selling points for Tecmo Bowl: Throwback are the ridiculously enhanced graphics. Though the gameplay had remained completely untouched, the visuals saw to a massive update. Even though the game still operates on a 2D plane, the characters and environments now exist in 3D. Sometimes after certain plays and events, the game will zoom in to show the detailed character models; which is quite entertaining and makes this feel like a fuller package. Also, if the original 2D look is more up your alley; simply hit the “RB” button and the graphics will transition immediately into the retro cartoony look from the past!
Audio was another strong aspect. Sounding like a nice mix of classic 8-Bit music with a modernized touch. Sounds and music were of great quality, and I really couldn't think of anything that detracted from the experience or even value as a whole.
If you're into true Arcade gaming experiences, this purchase should be a no-brainer. Whether you've played the game as a child or not, the fun is still there; and should really be revisited. The $10 price tag seems to me appropriate, and XBLA sports titles are truly a rarity. Madden fans may not love everything about Tecmo Bowl, but they should at least appreciate it for what it is. A fun, well rounded, classic that won't require much of your time; but still leaves that lasting impression.