It’s time to talk about some recent additions to the Retro Referee’s sports video game library. Let’s look at the list of what’s new in the lineup:

  • American Gladiators (SNES)
  • NBA Live ’98 (SNES)
  • Suzuka 8 Hours (SNES)
  • Brett Hull Hockey ’95 (Genesis)
  • FIFA International Soccer (Genesis)
  • FIFA Soccer 95 (Genesis)
  • FIFA Soccer 97 (Genesis)
  • Newman-Haas Indy Car Racing (Genesis)
  • Triple Play 96 (Genesis)
  • World Series Baseball ’96 (Genesis)
  • Top Gear Overdrive (Nintendo 64)
  • NCAA March Madness 2003 (PlayStation 2)
  • NHL 2005 (PlayStation 2)
  • Madden NFL 10 (Wii)
  • Madden NFL 12 (Wii)
  • NCAA Football 09 All-Play (Wii)
  • Need For Speed Undercover (Wii)

The two PlayStation 2 games are significant because they complete their respective series on the console. That means that NCAA March Madness 2002 all the way up to NCAA Basketball 09 are now in the library, as well as NHL 2001 through NHL 09. Having complete series like these means that I can play each game and see how the series changed from one year to the next.

That's certain-Wii Madden.
That’s certain-Wii Madden.

The Madden games for Wii are filling in holes in the series for that platform. I already had Madden NFL 09 All-Play and Madden NFL 11, so Madden NFL 10 and Madden NFL 12 fill in some holes. I haven’t yet tried the motion-controlled Madden games yet, so it’ll be interesting to see how much different it is from the usual controller play that I’ve been used to for more than 25 years. Need For Speed Underground isn’t a sports game, per se, although some will argue that racing is a sport. Your mileage may vary.

On the Genesis, yes… that’s a lot of soccer/football. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of experience with soccer video games. That said, the FIFA series is huge for EA these days, so it’s neat to try these 16-bit games and see the series at its earliest stages. I’m also terrible right now at them. I need to learn the intricacies of the game, because all I’m doing right now is just kicking the ball all the way downfield and hoping one of my players catches up to it before the other team does. (I know. I’m doing it wrong.)

The biscuit is in the basket!
The biscuit is in the basket!

As for the other Genesis games, Brett Hull Hockey ’95 stood out to me for $2. I spent some time with the game over the weekend and wrote a Scouting Report on it (which will go up not long after this does, if it’s not up already). World Series Baseball ’96 and Triple Play 96 caught my eye as I didn’t own either, and the Indy Car Racing game is a game that I will be going into completely blind.

Turning to the Super NES games, NBA Live ’98 completes the rather short NBA Live series run on the SNES for me. By the time the 1998 sports year games were coming out, the fifth console generation was already well underway and the 16-bit games were basically afterthoughts. American Gladiators on the Super NES is the third game in that franchise that I own. The NES game is perhaps the most notable, since it came from Incredible Technologies… the development company that would later create a little game called Golden Tee Golf, which you might have heard of. Finally, Suzuka 8 Hours is a port of a Namco coin-op. It’s heavy on the Mode 7, and it has a steep learning curve– if you’ll pardon the racing pun.

Mode 7 at work in Suzuka 8 Hours.
Mode 7 at work in Suzuka 8 Hours.

Last, but not least, there’s Top Gear Overdrive for the Nintendo 64. This game is a curiosity for me, mainly because of the development studio who put it together: Snowblind Studios. Snowblind Studios is perhaps most well-known for developing Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, Champions of Norrath, and Champions: Return to Arms during the sixth console generation. These aren’t sports games, but they’re some of my favorite non-sports games for the PlayStation 2 console. So, I’m curious to see this effort… which is a stark contrast from hack-and-slash dungeon crawls.

That’s all for this installment of New to the Lineup. Look for more content soon!

One thought on “New to the Lineup: July 2016

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