Welcome to Blitz: The League, where the rules are: there are no rules! Well, no, clearly there are rules. American football is a sport showered with a glittering pizzazz and promotion that our dreary rugby matches can only dream of. However, its rough and tumble nature is entirely at odds with the fundamental stop-start tactical style of play. You can't go two yards without being told to left-jink the ball in a 1-7-8 Godfather Part II full-on park-the-car-around-the-block squeeze-play and even the supposedly anarchic Blitz embraces those basics. The actual ‘no rules' part we're talking about here applies to the use of excessive physical force to get things done. It's an almost unique concept because, let's face it, that's certainly something you're not going to see in its chief competitor, Madden, any time soon, not since Electronic Arts gained exclusive rights to the NFL license.
Midway's response to this loss is to play dirty. It made up teams with fake player names, but most appropriately, it thumbed its nose at lawful, regulated play by allowing dirtier tackles than a communal mud bath in a German nudist camp. Slamming mercilessly into the quarterback when on defence, or violently stiff-arming an oncoming defender, isn't just a means to an end, it's essential to win. It's also a brutally visual treat. Knock down a player enough times and you'll eventually be subjected to a CSI-style close-up x-ray of bones shattering with a sickening crack.
It's all tied into its major gimmick: Clash mode, which is really nothing more than an obligatory special meter. You gradually fill the bar by performing successful manoeuvres on field and then use it to slow down time in order to perform deft dodges, impossible catches and hard-hitting tackles with a button press. Or you can fill it to the top in order to unleash an invincible special move that knocks anything out of your path. To be honest, though, it's debatable if it adds anything essential to the game. It gives an advantage, sure, but when you're obviously encouraged to use it constantly it becomes a little passť over time.