Mean Machines

Joe Montana's Football
By Sega
Sega Mega Drive (EU Version)

Published in Mean Machines #7

Joe Montana's Football

Joe's the best quarterback in the business, and now he's endorsed a console game to show his style of playing. Choose your team and get ready to play!

The length of each quarter can be set with the overall length of game from 10 to 60 minutes. Normal mode is a one-off game, while Sega Bowl tests the player in three tough games for the chance to win through to the championship. The 2:00 Drill is against the clock, with a mere 120 seconds to win the game!

Turning off the penalties stops the chance of pass interference and offsides, as well as preventing a five-yard loss for letting the clock run down. Once into the game, pressing the A button cycles through the various sets (4-3, Sweep, Nickel, etc) and the directional pad selects an individual play. After the snap, the A button calls up the passing display; a view through Joe's helmet!

Joe Montana Football

Receivers can be selected through the buttons, but the quarterback will have a favourite to whom to pass. Running plays require only the joypad to put into operation, and the back can try to throw off tackles and dive to gain extra yards. Watch out for the fumble - if the runner is hit too often, he has a tendency to lose the ball!

Team Work

There are sixteen teams in Joe's league, and the quality varies tremendously. San Francisco is probably the best team, unsurprisingly because it's the team for which Montana plays! They are a superlative passing team, and their running isn't bad either. At the other end of the spectrum, Cleveland tend to be unable to get their quarterback out of trouble - sacking him's a piece of cake!

Ready Set Go!

Each team should play its own strengths. When running with the ball, make it look like you're planning to pass - then the other team will commit itself to zone coverage, leaving the field wide open for a fast running back.

Joe Montana Football

Passing means getting the receivers into open space, although the throw's limited by the range and accuracy of the quarterback.


Personally I think releasing this is a completely daft idea. The graphics, sound, playability and presentation, good though they are, are nowhere near the standards set by John Madden's Football, so who's going to buy it?

It's a far simpler game, so while it might take ten minutes less to learn, the comparatively limited gameplay results in its appeal waning quickly.

Joe Montana Football

It also suffers from an amazingly easy-to-beat computer opponent, resulting in swift single-player boredom. If you've already got John Madden's, don't bother buying this as you'll find it too simple and limited to be enjoyable.

And if you haven't got an American Football game and want one, buy John Madden's.


Initially this looks like a poor man's John Madden's Football. However, it's really quite different to play - the visor view is a novel approach that works well.

Joe Montana Football

Unfortunately, the computer opponent is far too easy to beat, meaning that its one-player potential is severely damaged. Obviously the designers couldn't make it too similar to John Madden's Football, thus limiting the choices in the system.

I like the presentation of the game, but nothing compares to Rob Hubbard's tunes! Still, it's a far more accessible game than its rival, so younger Megadrive owners might find it preferable to Madden's.


Presentation 85%
Excellent skills of Montana appear at certain points in the game, and an exhibition game guides you through the tactics.

Joe Montana Football

Graphics 80%
Fast and smooth graphics, but the players look more like Smurfs than American Footballers.

Sound 84%
The effects are realistic and impressive, and the music is of a high standard as well.

Playability 76%
This is a very accessible sports sim, and it's easy to get to grips with the control method.

Lastability 56%
The problem is that the computer opponent is a complete pushover, and the only long-term appeal is in the two-player mode.

Overall 69%
Joe Montana's Football is fundamentally flawed, but it's still fun to play. However, John Madden's should be the priority purchase.