FOOTBALL FRENZY / SNK / Arcade
Football Frenzy appears to be SNK's ill-advised attempt to clone Tecmo Super Bowl. It's a very arcade-y football sim, simplified about as much as possible without taking players off the field, and it even has a bit of cinematics when a team scores, though it's hard to tell who scored on who given that both teams look equally anguished and in pain when it happens.
There's no NFL or NFLPA license, so you get about ten fictional teams to choose from, with your chosen team entered into an 8-team playoff with seven random other teams at the outset of each game. The teams have some interesting names, such as the Scuds, but I'd have to say my favorite is the Hitmen with their grim revolver-pointing-in-your-face logo. Maybe they can make the UFL next year.
Games take place over four five-minute quarters, but the time ticks down faster than real-time. And, as with many arcade football games, you get the privilege of paying a quarter for each quarter regardless of the score at the time. There's no roster substitutions, and all characters have the same generic musclebound sprite. The playbook is also vastly simplified with about ten run and pass plays to choose from, as well as punts and field goal formations. There doesn't seem to be any option to run a fake punt or field goal, the kicking game is simplified to pounding the A button as much as possible prior to the kick to build power. You don't even control the direction of punts or field goals!
Neither running nor receiving works very well. The first problem is that there's no masking of choice of play a la Madden. Thus, two human players will always know exactly what play the other is about to run, though I guess this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that you have no input on defensive plays and have very little time to switch players before the ball is hiked. It's not a problem when playing the computer, as the computer plays like an idiot on both sides of the ball really, and will fall for the same deep pass play all the way down the field for repeated touchdowns. It's almost necessary to pass, though, because running is so sluggish it rarely works. In spite of working better, the passing game is still pretty bad - most of the routes have the receiver simply stopping and standing still after a certain distance, then waiting in place for the ball to arrive. Combined with the slow pace of throws, this leads to a lot of potential INTs unless you just throw deep balls where the receiver has the defense beat by a number of steps all the time. You also have to control the receiver immediately after the ball is launched.
The game features some decent rockin' tunes, but that's about it on the positive side. The gameplay is clunky, and it's a real quarter-sucker - they could at least reward you for winning a game with a free first quarter in the next game, but nope - "Congratulations! You have nine seconds to insert another coin or your season is over!" Bleh.
* Gameplay Video