The hardcore simulation offerings of American Football games have always been very popular with the gaming audience, but the arcade football games can make for a fun substitute. They are fast paced, innovative and have the license to go crazy and throw any semblance of realism out of the window. When executed right, this often makes for a fresh experience unlike anything one has ever played.
Many browser based and smartphone based arcade football titles have made an impression on gamers recently but most of them have the player playing the role of the quarterback or running back. Linebacker 2 on the other hand as its name suggests puts the player in the shoes of the less glamorous but equally important linebacker. It is a browser based game which is a part of the espn arcade set of games.
The objective of the Linebacker 2 is to take down the running back before he reaches the end zone. As the last line of defense in your team, the player has to take on or avoid the many other blockers to get to the running back. The camera angle is set so as to give an aerial view of the field. The game is divided into 15 stages with each stage having 4 levels. Only 4 lives are provided to complete as many levels and get as high a score as possible. Although it is possible to get an extra life by watching a short advertisement, it is a little annoying. Once out of lives, the stages act as continue points and the player starts from the last level it reached but the scores are reset to 0. The stages get more challenging as the game progresses, adding more and stronger blockers and introducing environmental obstacles to slow your progress like ice, snow and mud. Like any other arcade game, power ups are littered around the field like speed boosts and shoes which allow the player to run on mud and ice unobstructed. After reaching certain stages the player receives special powers like bull rush, throw down and shuck to take on the opposition although using these reduces the score achieved.
The control scheme for Linebacker 2 is fairly simple. I,J,K and L are used to move the linebacker while Spacebar is used to initiate a dive tackle. A,S and D are used for triggering special moves once they are unlocked. A second control scheme with W,A,S and D for movement and J,K and L for special moves can also be used. Arrow keys are also permitted for player movement. The variety on the controls is a welcome addition.
Linebacker 2 keeps the player on their toes by adding more variety in gameplay as the game progresses, from new power ups to changing weather conditions and more. The graphics are good while the animations are crisp, and every crunching tackle gives a great sense of satisfaction. The ability to share your high score and check the world leaderboard is also a very neat feature in Linebacker 2.
The game overall has a very polished feel to it and most importantly, for an arcade game, Linebacker 2 is a lot of fun to play.