Tom Landry Strategy Football is easily one of the worst sports. It's a shame that venerable coach Tom Landry's expertise was wasted on such a lousy effort.
The first tip-off that this game isn't very good comes on the box, where a screen shot of the Dallas Cowboys' roster shows that their quarterback is named Bachman, which means that Merit Studio was unable to obtain the license for the real NFL players. They did try to skirt around this, though, by naming the Detroit Lions' running back Sanderson (as opposed to Sanders) or calling the 49ers' quarterback Younger (instead of Young). Nice try, but not good enough. Who wants to play a sim where real players aren't involved?
And not only that, but they weren't able to get the real teams' names or logos either, so they're all referred to by city or state.
The developers might have saved some face if they had included an option to play this as an arcade game, but they didn't. That's just as well, though, since the graphics look like late-80s Tecmo Bowl era and the sound is awful. The sound effects are cheesy and consist of a referee's whistle, the sound of the ball being kicked (which sounds more like the kicker is slamming his foot into a bag of potato chips), a tackle which could hardly be called "bone-crunching," and an announcer who's limited to about four or five lines. Sadly, they forgot to include any crowd noise, which makes the experience even worse.
The only place where this game has any value is in its play-calling screen, which is well done and easy to use (unlike some of the other screens; just figuring out how to play a scheduled season game is complicated and very unintuitive). There are a lot of options to choose from too, such as reversing the play, picking a different primary receiver, and deciding on a different formation. The Ask Landry option is nice as well; he gives some pretty good advice. And, if this game had real teams and players, the Scenario Editor -- where you load in a situation and play it out -- would be a lot of fun. Who wouldn't want to take a favorite moment from NFL history and see if you could affect the outcome?
But, alas, the developers decided that football fans would be able to live with B. LaFavre instead of Brett Favre, and they figured you wouldn't mind playing in the Landry Bowl instead of the Super Bowl. The only person who really gained anything from this game is Tom Landry, who received an endorsement fee.
Graphics: Not up to par at all for the year this was released.
Sound: The announcer sounds terrible, and the bone-crunching tackles aren't.
Enjoyment: Bleah. No real players and tedious gameplay.
Replay Value: I dare you to play through just once.
Football simulation game featuring the likeness and strategic advice of legendary coach Tom Landry. You'll take the role of a new coach for the team of your picking who gets mentored by Mr. Landry himself along your career.
The game allows you to modify and customize your team to enhance its strengths, manage the acquisition of new players and perform general management tasks. Come game time the game takes away all the menus and windows and puts you in a side-scrolling view of the stadium from which you can watch the game take place. At any time you may issue offensive or defensive formations and make substitutions to try and indirectly affect the outcome of the game.
Features VCR-style controls to speed up or pause the action and any time and an ubiquitous on-line hint and help system in the form of an "Ask Landry" window in which you can consult him on any aspect of American football coaching.
People who downloaded Tom Landry Strategy Football have also downloaded:
Tom Landry Strategy Football Deluxe Edition, Time Out Sports Baseball, TOCA Touring Car Championship, Tony La Russa's Ultimate Baseball, Tony La Russa Baseball II, SuperStar Ice Hockey, Virtual Pool 3, Front Page Sports: Baseball Pro '98
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