reviews\ Oct 29, 2001 at 7:00 pm

Backyard Football 2002 - PC - Review

Humongous scores with Backyard Football 2002 for the PC

He calls out a sharp cadence: “Sassafras, sassafras, Delaware …”

The ball is snapped and Rich Gannon drops back. The rush is intensive, but he is unfazed. Pablo is streaking down the sidelines at Phillips Field. The pass is up and bounces off the back of Pablo’s helmet – incomplete.

Backyard Football, a Humongous Entertainment and Infogrames release for the PC, couples the excitement of football with a joyous kids version of the game into a product that features big league players with familiar Backyard names in a game that is tackling fun and blitzing entertainment.

As with most Backyard titles, this game features the commentary of Sunny Day. This time she is joined by Chuck Downfield, the maestro of the mouthpiece.

Backyard Football 2002 is geared for ages 7 and up, but that may be a bit presumptuous. The controls are a little more complicated than a younger player could manage (more on that in a moment). But when it comes to game play, and entertainment, this game is as finely tuned as the St. Louis Rams’ offense. The game transforms the up-town game play of a Madden 2001 game (EASports) to the backyard with youngsters, even several younger versions of NFL stars, performing the routes and blocking schemes in an action-packed format.

The graphical elements of this game are very good. The animations are first-rate – bearing in mind the style of the game play – and the play-by-play commentary is up to Humongous’ high standards. There are 10 kid-size versions of pro players, 31 NFL teams and logos represented, and even touchdown dances.

As with most of the Backyard titles, you begin in the clubhouse. From that point you can create a profile (as in a coach’s name), create your team and embark on a grueling schedule that includes practicing against robots, an exhibition game or the season play.

Here’s where it gets tricky – the control elements take some getting used to. You have the option of using a keyboard, mouse, joystick or gamepad. If you lock yourself into the latter two, you may experience a certain level of frustration in trying to set up the parameters of the game, or exiting. The mouse provides one of the easiest egresses into the game.

You can, of course, pick a weather condition, factor in fatigue and weather conditions, but the simple (seemingly) task of calling plays and executing them relies on field recognition, and adept selection of the controller’s elements. This is not – even at the elementary difficulty levels – an easy game to master.

Does any of that detract from the enjoyment or challenge of the game? Not in the slightest.

The game comes with an assistant coach mode, which enables less experienced players the opportunity to call the plays, then let the computer control portions of the actual play that are tough – like hitting that wide receiver on a fly pattern.

Backyard Football 2002 is a very nice program that packs the fun of sports and football into a format that will appeal to all – except maybe the macho guys who will secretly love it, but won’t admit to that.


Install: Easy
This game has two install modes – compact and full. The former will only eat five megs of hard-drive space while the latter asks for 605 megs of space. This is a hybrid disk, which means it can be played on either a PC or Macintosh.

Gameplay: 7.5
The game format is standard for the genre. The player interface is very easy to navigate through, and the game flow is solid.

Graphics: 8
The animations are excellent, and the overall look of the game cruises through cute and heads toward adorable. During play selection, the scoreboard may reveal the disappointment on the faces of players who make mistakes, and the end zone celebrations are nicely done.

Sound: 8
Sunny Day and Chuck Downfield are excellent commentators, the vocal characterizations are wonderful, and the actual game sounds contain little jokes and asides.

Difficulty: 7
The assistant coach is a nice feature to help younger players enjoy the game without having to fumble with the control elements. This game features a number of difficulty settings, which should make the play challenging to almost anyone.

Concept: 7.5
Humongous has tweaked an already solid title just a bit (like in the player creation area), but it still delivers solid animation and a sense of fun.

Multiplayer: N/A

Overall: 8
This game is packed with fun. The graphics and sounds are wonderful, and the game delivers solid sports action. Consider this a touchdown.


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