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Strike Force Design * £14.95

Strike Force Design's maiden attempts to capture the spirit of American football with green digitised pictures of bulky, well-padded men throwing themselves at each other's feet.

You opt either to let the computer do all the hard work and miss out on the gameplay, skipping straight to that week's results, or you can become more involved with the ins and outs of each game, choosing each move as it is played. Admittedly American footy tactics take a bit of mastering, but the manual explains them clearly and concisely, with only a little of the obligatory waffling.

Touchdown is not really the thing for total novices unless you're prepared to examine the rule books or you're a whiz with statistics (the whole game is based on statistical analysis of yardages). But the hardened fan, who thinks he can do better than the Monarch's coach did last season, could have a fair old amount of fun.

Liebe macht Blind - Football auch!

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Ein Game, das man per Scheck in England bestellen muß, hatten wir noch nie im Test - ob American Football à la Strike Force Design den Aufwand lohnt?

Also, für Grafik-Fans lohnt es hier nicht einmal, die Brille zu putzen - selbst in den tiefsten Tiefen des PD-Pools wird man nur selten auf derart Häßliche Farben und so viele so so schlecht digitalisierte Fotografien treffen!

Aber vielleicht lohnt sich dafür das Aufsperren der Lauscher? Fehlanzeige, die schauerlichen FX braucht man ebensowenig gehört zu haben wie die zweieinhalb Brocken Sprachausgabe. Immerhin kann man über Mausi und ihre Menüs nicht klagen; bedienen läßt sich das Programm einwandfrei. Es keimt also Hoffnung hinsichtlich des Gameplays auf...

Und tatsächlich, wer Hardcore-Stratege und eingefleischter Football-Fan gleichzeitig ist, mag mit dem ungewöhnlichen Prinzip vielleicht sogar etwas anfangen können: Grundsätzlich sind hier alle 28 Vereine der amerikanischen Profiliga vertreten; Vorrundenspiele, Play Off-Finals oder Spieler-Transfers fehlen ebensowenig wie genaue Stärketabellen aller teilnehmenden Junges.

Die Begegnungen selber funktionieren dann auf Rundenbasis, wobei je nach Ballbesitz eine von 14 offensiven bzw. 10 defensiven Strategien angeklickt wird - der Compi hält dagegen, errechnet das Ergebnis in Yards (Raumgewinn) und verteilt gegebenfalls die "Tore".

Na, hört sich das interessant an? Ja? Ehrlich? Trotz der möglichen Augenschäden?! Und soll es recht sein, füllt einfach einen Euroscheck über 19,95 Pfund Sterling aus und schickt ihn vertrauensvoll an:
Strike Force Design, P.O. Box 40, Sunderland, Tyne Wear, SR2 8DF, Great Britain. Ihr werdet ja sehen, was Ihr davon habt... (jn)

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With shoulder pads firmly in place, Tony Dillon sets his sights on the Superbowl...

With football management games experiencing a revival at the moment it is a little unusual to see an American Football sim crop up. And I'm sorry to say it isn't the best debut game Strike Force Design could have come out with.

The game fits along the lines of a classic management sim, in the same style as the ancient Headcoach. Guide your team, win as many matches as possible, finish top of the league - and so on.

As management games go, Touchdown is a very simple one. You begin with a team of 24 players, each with a skill level which increases with age and experience.

All options such as viewing fixtures or sending players off for extra training are accessed by a single click on the options menu. However, strangely, you cannot determine which specific course of training to follow.

The matches can be played out in two ways. You can either play 'Results Only' mode, where you only receive the scores of the matches you play. This makes the game incredibly shallow, leaving you with almost no control at all.

The other mode, 'Game Mode' lets you control each Down, by selecting which play to use and then watching the results of your orders, shown in text and accompanied by some green and black digitised shots.

Although this offers more control, it is still dull. After each play is selected, the pictures have to be loaded, wasting time, and for some reason the matches take ages to play, and there's no way of speeding them up. I'm sorry, but choosing one of nine options over and over again isn't my idea of fun.

American Football is a pure action game, and is exciting to watch. Touchdown is presented in such a drab way, that all the tension and atmosphere are lost.

Touchdown is available via mail order from SFD, PO Box 40, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear SR2 8Df.