ISN'T IT amazing how clever these American Football (thereafter football) players are? I mean, they all go to university and they all come out with degrees. So maybe they have to spend at least 30 hours a week outside training, but why can't we be like that? Then again, how many of us would want a degree in Applied Running About or Advanced Drooling?
4th and Inches is all about the tactics and skills of football. Best played with a joystick - in port 1, a pain for single players - it includes two-player options using mouse or stick, timing options of five to 15 minutes per quarter, and a Biblical quote from a guy called Paul.
It's also got some semi-
As with the real game, there are many possible plays with many variations on each, involving different combinations of players. Other things that stay the same are the silly names. Shorts and Nickels are defensive; Double Tight Ends and Pro Sets are offensive. And quite rightly, too.
You have four downs to gain 10 yards, otherwise you lose possession. The first thing to do is choose the formation - five are given, with the sensible one as default. You make your choice and the little chaps rush into formation.
Next you have to choose the play - again, five are given. Finally you select the position that will do the action. Football freaks will be incredulous at the lack of jargon used here.
If you choose a totally gaga option when making an offensive play, the program burps at you. The guys at Accolade must have spent hours drinking Coke and jumping up and down in front of the mike.
Virtually anything goes defensively - but not very effectively if it's really implausible. It can be a little annoying to see a carefully planned play result in a 38 yard gain for the opposition. The playfield doesn't scroll along, instead it flicks in the manner that some sports productions do, with a flash to the next view. This is all very well, but the action is usually split up just when your running back is about to get creamed. The little chaps, who in real life are anything but little, are neatly produced with clean graphics and good animation.
The computer opposition is utterly fallible and will gladly leave plays incomplete just to make you happy. They still tend to beat you 27-3, but you can't have everything.
4th & Inches makes you want to play it, even though the tunes make you want to join the Neighbours School of "Acting".