The story of Acclaim's NFL Quarterback Club 99 is a tale of two games. The first, that of the single-player game, does not have a happy ending. The second, that of the multiplayer game, does. Ultimately, the decision as to whether you should purchase Quarterback Club comes down to which tale you want to hear, and which game you want to play.
Let's start with what both the single- and multiplayer games share in common - namely, the most incredible graphics ever seen in a simulated football game. Hyperbole may be the rule when discussing graphics these days, but we're serious when we say that no football game on any platform can hold a candle to Quarterback Club 99. The high-resolution screen, the shockingly detailed animation, and the realistic interaction between players are enough to stop any sports fan dead in his tracks. And wait until you see the instant replay! With just the slightest squint of the eyes, the instant replays on Quarterback Club 99 are essentially indistinguishable from the real thing. You literally have to see it to believe it.
But don't think for a minute that Quarterback Club 99 is merely a graphics showcase - it's also a deep, flexible, and, in multiplayer mode at least, fun-to-play football game. Pick any of the game's copious modes - practice, single game, season, tournament, play-off, pro bowl, or historical sims - and then settle back for some engaging pigskin action.
As soon as the game begins, you'll see that Quarterback Club 99 has a large and generally well-balanced playbook, which is customized for each team (you can also create your own personal playbook with up to 256 total plays - a nice touch). The defensive playbook is particularly noteworthy, because the accompanying diagrams give you an unusually clear idea of how the scheme will work, especially in terms of zones of coverage. This means that if your opponent is beating you time and again with a given route, you can call a defense that will plop a defender in precisely the right spot to counter it. It's also nice to see a football game that keeps defensive personnel and coverage packages separate. You can run any defensive formation using either normal, nickel, or dime personnel packages (most games, including Madden, only allow the use of nickel and dime packages with particular defensive schemes). Finally, Quarterback Club 99 has a meaningful running game, with lineman that open up real holes (even in the middle of the field) and backs that are quick enough to squirt through them.So Quarterback Club 99's got the looks, the modes, and the plays - but does it have the intangibles necessary to make it a great football game? In single-player mode, the answer is no. The simple reason is that the computer AI is utterly incompetent and incapable of putting up even a modicum of resistance. On offense, quarters, halves, and even games roll by without a single computer first down. On defense, things are even worse, as the computer is unable to cover any deep inside route (without interfering) or any deep outside route thrown to the wide side of the field. Not that you even have to bother to throw the ball. Roll the quarterback outside, turn upfield, and start stiff-arming, and chances are you'll end up in the opposition's end zone - even if it's 50 yards downfield.