SNES A Day 60: Space Football: One on One

space_football_one_on_one_us_box_art

Approximate Release Date: June 1, 1992
Genre: Action
Developer: Bits Studio
Publisher: Triffix

The future is bleak if football evolves as Space Football: One on One wants us to believe it will.

Space Football pits two F-Zero-esque spacecars in an arena with the goal to grab the space football and carry it into the goal for a “touchdown.” The space football roams around the map in an unpredictable pattern and is difficult to track down and grab. It’s basically the snitch from the Harry Potter wizard sport quidditch.

The spacecars can only hold the ball for a few seconds before having to let go of it, which is something I liked. There was a risk/reward calculation I had to do before running over the ball. Am I close enough to my goal to get the ball in? If I don’t pick it up will it go toward my goal or my opponent’s?

This could be neat if the game didn’t look like garbage. Space Football is taking advantage of the Super Nintendo’s Mode 7 abilities, and might have looked impressive in 1992. In 2014, the game is a barren mess that isn’t pleasing to look at one bit. Sprites flicker in an obnoxious way, and the ball will sometimes disappear from the sides of the screen when you’re trying to intercept it. But even getting to the ball in the first place is tough because the spacecar is, and I’m being generous here, difficult. There’s some zip to it when going in a straight line  it reminds me of Doom in a weird way  but turning the spacecar is arduous.

I almost forgot to mention that the game gives the player the ability to shoot missiles at the opponent. It’s forgettable because the missiles do almost no damage, are tough to aim properly, and it’s impossible to tell if you hit because there’s no feedback from doing so. I don’t know why they’re in the game, because they’re useless, but I can’t say that Space Football would be any better without the mechanic because it’s so inconsequential. In theory you can shoot down the other player, but it would be difficult to do with only 500 seconds.

Space Football: One on One is disappointing because this could be a decent idea for a game. But the SNES just isn’t powerful enough and there’s not enough complexity to make it interesting to play.

Tomorrow: Is there a game with a longer name than Garry Kitchen’s Super Battletank: War in the Gulf?

Leave a Reply