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Bill Walsh College Football, For Genesis from Electronic Arts, $65


Are you ready for some football?

With both the pros and colleges back on the gridiron, it's time for gamers to check out the latest in 16-bit pigskin play.

If you favor the pro game, Williams Entertainment offers Troy Aikman NFL Football for Sega Genesis and other systems. College fans will want to check out Bill Walsh College Football '95 ($64.99 for Genesis from Electronic Arts).

I'll give each one a touchdown, but no extra point--good try, needs fine tuning.

Aikman is a great ballplayer, and it makes sense to star him in his own game, even if those of us who favor the San Francisco 49ers don't wish him well. But Aikman's talents don't guarantee a great game; there is some bad and some ugly to go with much good.

Aikman is loaded with neat features--adjustable difficulty, five play modes, battery storage of season stats, changeable field conditions and even the ability to "buy" a better team by paying your players more to motivate them to play better.

You get the usual zillion plays, although the little drawings are especially hard to see. You can also create your own plays, if you think you're smarter than Troy, and play the entire 1993-1994 season in your living room.

Controls in this one- or two-player game work well and plays seem to come off pretty much as they are diagramed.

The drawbacks? You're not playing with real players; nobody has a name. Sound effects and background voices are muddy and detract from the contest. And graphics are definitely not up to the best; they are fuzzy, and the colors are bland and uninspired.

But Aikman brings a real pro feel to your fingertips and, if you can live with the less-than-dazzling graphics, you, too, can go to the Super Bowl.

When Bill Walsh left my beloved 49ers, we fans thought the end had come.

Well, we were right, but college fans now have Walsh--and EA Sports--to thank for this excellent football cart.

First, the game provides 36 real teams, from Air Force to Wisconsin, to choose from. Yes, Walsh's charges at Stanford are included; arch-rival Cal is also available if you want to play The Big Game from your easy chair.

Walsh offers a four-player option; in one scenario, you can play quarterback and a buddy can handle your receivers on offense while two other folks can handle the two defensive players closest to the ball.

The game offers an exhibition option for practice. Then, start a new season; the game compiles season stats for all the players, lets you choose field conditions (snow is fun) and view the schedule and matchups.

You call plays in the now-standard fashion, from a collection of boxes you can cycle through. Be quick; the clock is running, and it will cost you five yards if you don't get the ball off in time. Audibles are also available at the line of scrimmage. You can call a no-huddle offense, running the same play as the previous down. And the quarterback can ground the ball to stop the clock in those last-second scoring situations.

Sound needs help, but control is good, and graphics are excellent, full of color and detail. Aikman, take note.

Either game will give you a good chance to take the field without actually worrying about a broken leg or your next contract negotiation.

Just win, baby.

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