Can 10-Yard Fight be fairly reviewed? It’s an honest question. As one of the earliest football-inspired video games, 10-Yard Fight excludes concepts as basic to the sport as play calling, sacking, or even decent passing.
On the other hand, this is a NES port of an arcade game released in 1983. What could really be expected? Arguably more, as those concepts I mentioned above would be a part of later NES football games, but probably not in any as far back as 1983.
Graphics: 4 out of 10
The look is mostly bland, plain, but not too bad. Well, except that the team units are weird. They come in three horizontal sets of three. Yes, only nine players. There doesn’t seem to be a tight end or halfback. My guess is that this game was coded by Japanese people who don’t know anything about football.
Sound: 2 out of 10
Like so many of the earliest NES sports games, this one has no sound, just generic sound effects. That is not acceptable. Donkey Kong had music, for Christ’s sake!
Gameplay: 5 out of 10
On offense you begin each play as the quarterback. You can either run, make a side or forward pass. Again, there is no halfback, so the quarterback both passes and runs. Side passes are preferable because forward passes tend to be picked off. If you pass, you can run with the one who got the ball (the ball carrier always wears different clothing from everybody else). That’s all there is to offense in this game.
Defense is even more limited. Everybody seems to be a linebacker. As such, all defenders rush through the offensive line to reach the quarterback or wide receiver, depending on whether the defense passes or runs. Because everybody moves slow and the quarterback can pass almost immediately, true sacks, although not tackles for losses, are almost impossible.
Speaking of slowness, Beyond the limited and inaccurate way football plays are done here, the fact that everybody moves very slowly makes it a tad difficult to get excited.
On the other hand, despite all these problems, the controls actually work quite well. The gameplay may not be very fun, but it is competent.
Challenge: 1 out of 10
This game may be a bit of fun with two players, but the computer is way too easy. There are five difficulty settings: High School, College, Professional, Playoff, and Super Bowl. Even on Super Bowl, the computer can’t maneuver around defenders. As a result, I typically hold him to -1-3 yards a play. When I’m on offense, I typical get a first down on first down. As a result, I slaughtered the computer twenty eight to nothin’ on Super Bowl. Why? Because he’s so easy. Maybe I could strive for fifty-six. Other than that, there is no challenge.
Overall: 4 out of 10
10-Yard Fight may be one of the earliest football games, but it’s far from a classic. Lack of sound, extreme slowness, inaccurate representation of the sport, and the fact that the computer is a piece of cake make this one not worth going back to. Or going to at all if you, like me, never played it as a child.