NFL a real tough tackle

Rating: NNNNNNFL GAMEDAY 2001, for Sony PlayStation, $70. Rating: NNNThe 2001 edition of NFL GameDay is the only sports video.

Rating: NNNNN

NFL GAMEDAY 2001, for Sony PlayStation, $70. Rating: NNN

The 2001 edition of NFL GameDay is the only sports video game I’ve seen that has its own separate strategy guide. For an extra $20, you can buy a book filled with offensive and defensive plays to help you beat the computer. That should give you an idea of how seriously this game takes its football.

Incredibly hard

Sure, bone-jarring tackles and lifelike coaching choices are great, but sports games are best when even the most ignorant spectator can play like a pro. Any fool can swing a bat at a ball on a screen. NFL GameDay assumes some knowledge of football, and anyone with anything less will be lost immediately.

Offence, even on the easiest setting, is incredibly hard, and you’ll feel like a superstar if you manage even one completed pass every four attempts.

There’s simply too much going on to concentrate on just passing the ball, and that’s without trying to understand the dozen or so plays that you have to choose from.

Defence is no easier. If you can’t tell a nickel set from a dime, you might as well resign yourself to losing, badly. Even the more football-minded will find it tough to follow the scrambling play. Just when you think you’ve figured out coverage, someone will appear wide open, catch a bomb and run for 60 yards.

The easiest thing to use is the celebration button, which gets your players chicken-walking around the field. Unless you’re a pro, though, don’t expect to be prancing around shouting “Who’s the man!” very often.

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