SYSTEM
PSX

PRICE
$39.99

DEVELOPER
EA Sports

PUBLISHER
Electronic Arts

RELEASE
08/99

Madden NFL 2000 Review

By: John Doe


Another year another Madden game, right? Not this year. Madden NFL 2000 grinds past installments into paste with its cool new features, tight control and crisp visuals. Gotta love the fat man!


Highs:
Lows:

Right out of the starting gate, you'll notice this ain't your dad's Madden game that he used to tool around with on that Genesis toy of his. Uh uh. This Madden kick starts with an intro that will knock the wind out of you before the real gridiron gauntlet even begins. And it just gets better. Madden 2000's presentation is extremely tidy and professional, which makes starting a game easy and fast. Just the way I like it.

Once you arrive at the menu screen, pay close attention to the new features that M2K throws your way. You won't want to miss out on the new Arcade gamestyle mode which is as close to Blitz as Madden is gonna get. In Arcade mode, the hits are bigger, the playbooks are different, players can turn blue when turbo-charged and the commentary is a little more aggressive. If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, then look no further than the Traditional gamestyle. M2K offers the usual assortment of play modes such as Exhibition, Season, Franchise, Tournament, Practice or Situation. Depending on your level of interest, Madden 2000 could keep you busier than all of the NFL teams combined with it's various management modes. Although some of these areas won't appeal to every Madden fan, those who get into the business aspect of football will surely appreciate the level of freedom available. Of course the Create-A-Player is on board and this time out the game allows for different body types, so now linebackers will look like linebackers and punters will look like Woody Allen. You can also draft created characters from NCAA Football 2000 and bring them up from the college leagues into the big time. Now that's a great management idea!

As football video games have progressed, so has the notion that you really have to know what you are doing to play a football sim such as Madden or Gameday. While it is true that novices will get their butts kicked by picking poor offensive or defensive plays or not knowing the difference between running plays and passing plays or not knowing why you should punt on fourth and ten, the idea behind Madden is to educate as well as entertain. Can you think of an easier way to learn about the sport without having to risk getting your neck or spine broken? I can't. If you sit down with M2K and play a few games you'll begin to understand the intricacies of football a little more. Who knows, you may even stop picking impossible running plays when you have 15 yards to gain on your fourth down.

Once on the field, the control is solid and responsive. As your receivers re-enact the play you've called, you've got a few choices to make; icon passing or route passing. Route passing is effective because the quarterback will lead the receiver where he wants him to go. Since this takes some time to get used to, newbies should stick with icon passing at first. Madden gives your receiver moves like the jump/hurdle, spin, stiff arm, speed burst, juke or the ever-popular and under-used, lateral. The moment you pull off a lateral and take your boy home for a touchdown you'll be in pigskin heaven. I've been a Madden fan since it was introduced and I'm amazed at the level of control at your fingertips in this latest installment. Everything just works so well. I'd have to say it's the tightest and most responsive control in a Madden game yet. Analog all the way.

Graphically this game takes a back seat to the expansion pack enhanced N64 version, but it's the best looking Madden on the PSX. The biggest improvement isn't so much in graphics but in the introduction of different sized players. This is the way football should be. When you look at the vast array of beasts waiting to squash you on the other side of the line of scrimmage, you'll appreciate what physical abuse their real-life counterparts endure game after game. The animations of the players are extremely realistic. All of the players moves received attention for this installment.

One of the coolest features in M2K is the Madden Challenge. This is like a game unto itself. In a nutshell, you must complete various tasks such as throwing a pass that is thirty yards or more, complete three passes to three different receivers etc. Completing these objectives rewards you by unlocking secrets such as new teams, codes etc. What a great way to reward good players and ensure replayability. Bravo to EA for this innovative addition. The play editor, while also a cool addition is more for armchair coaches and quarterbacks than casual gamers. The one thing you have to ask yourself is, "Am I going to come up with a play that is better and more useful than one already available?" It's one use, if you spend the time and learn how to use it properly is to invent something the computer AI won't be able to figure out how to counter. But good luck; the AI on the harder difficulties will see through an amateur attempt at play calling and ram it down your throat. You've been warned.

As you have come to expect the Play-by-Play by Pat Summerall is here as well as the color commentary by Madden himself. The Play-by-Play is well connected to the on-field action to a tee but the comments by Madden seemed unnattached at times and far too repetitive. As this has little to do with the actual gameplay itself it can be overlooked, but I'd like to see it keep on improving.

Complaint Dept. My one and only gripe with Madden 2000 is the AI in places. I was more than a little surprised when some teams chose not to kick when it was clearly obvious that it was their only true option. As well, I found a few plays that worked like gangbusters that I knew I could pull out when needed. I doubt casual players will notice, but Madden aficionados will.

All in all this game is the right on the money. Whether you are playing it alone or with friends, this game will entertain you far in to the millennium. And it had better with Madden 2001 being a loooong way off. Of course the good news is, is that we could and should probably expect a version of Madden 2001 on the PS2. Won't that be something? In the meantime, this game has reached the pinnacle of the Madden series on the PlayStation and if you call yourself a football fan (and even if you don't) this game is calling for you. And when it does, buy it.

OVERALL
9.0

GRAPHICS
8.5

CONTROL
9.5

MUSIC/FX
8.0

FRUSTRATION
5.0

Back To PlayStation Index