EA Sports

Electronic Arts


NCAA Football 2000 Review

By: John Doe

Talk about a fresh perspective. I've never watched a college football game. I couldn't even name you a college football team (that was until I played this game). As a Canadian, I'm as fresh to this game as new fallen snow. I can't tell you what last year's game was like, nor can I compare it to other NCAA football games. What I can tell you is that I think this whole concept is a little weird. Who wants to play a college football video game when they can play a pro football game like Madden? Are these the same people who want to drive a Dodge Dart in Need for Speed? What is the appeal here? Could it be that the game is pretty darn good? Bingo.


Funny stuff aside, I admire this game. I think it's great that Americans think enough of their college athletes to make some kick ass games featuring a ton of guys I've never heard of. That's patriotism, man. Where I come from we don't even know the meaning of the word. The only thing that Canadians are proud of is the fact that we have produced some of the worst television shows in the history of the universe. I'm telling you, Canadians would love a CFL video game. No more of this fourth down garbage. We're a three down nation. It's absolutely hilarious that Canadians (25 million and growing) can't get a CFL game of their very own. We can't even show up in a NFL game as a secret code for goodness sakes. People would sooner play as skeletons and apes or as large headed behemoths before they would play as Canadians. Luckily, I'm Canadian and thanks to our self-deprecating style, I can laugh at that. So the Canucks can't score a game but a bunch of college yokels can. Awesome. I think it's the coolest thing that there are some college kids manipulating the on-screen counterpart of the guy who just pounded the crap out of them for looking at his girlfriend the wrong way.

The one reason I fell in love with this game? Well, there are many. But the first and foremost is; I love a game that will allow me to do running plays! Every football game I've played this year has punished me for trying my running plays. Every game, except this one, that is. I'm a chance taker. I'm a gambler. Maybe I don't pick all the right plays because I'm feeling lucky. NCAA Football lets you play a fun game. The AI seems just right. They don't make all the catches. There are a lot of fumbles and incomplete passes. It's more realistic than any of the football games out there. For this reason alone, NCAA gets my thumbs up.

As you'd expect, NCAA has all of the usual modes you'd find in a football game: Exhibition, Tournament, Season, Practice, Great Games and Dynasty, the last two being exclusive to the NCAA title. There are 114 Division 1-A teams and 26 Division 1-AA teams. If you can't find your college team represented here, you are either attending a college that you found on the back of a matchbook or you are Canadian. The different difficulty levels let you ease into the game. Junior Varsity is the easiest setting and you can expect some pretty poor football matchups. It's a great way to learn the game without fear of getting trounced and having the ending score sound more like a basketball game than a pigskin brawl. There is even a One Button Mode, for people who are complete novices to football and videogames. This mode will allow you to concentrate on the task at hand without the fuss and muss of actually pressing all of those scary buttons. Unless you are a complete shut-in, skip the One Button Mode and play it like a man. This isn't rocket science; it's football! If there are too many buttons for you, may I suggest a nice little game I like to call, "Hello Kitty"? Once you are ready to join the big boys and get serious, crank up the difficulty and kiss your big over-confident butt goodbye.

Other modes that will interest sim fans are the "Create-A" modes. NCAA lets your imagination go wild with three modes: Create-a-Player, Create-a-Play and for the first time, Create-a-School. Yes, you can even create an entire school! You get to choose the school name, city name, state and amount of enrollment. You can even choose your rivals, logo, uniforms, stadium and more. Not a bad deal! Created players can even be loaded and drafted into the big leagues if you have Madden NFL 2000. Although this isn't my cup of tea, NCAA Football also has the Recruiting mode where you can travel from state to state, recruiting players, reviewing current prospects, check out scholarships, drop recruits... it's all up to you.

If you are guessing that this game may have a lot in common with Madden 2000, yer right! Both games have different sized players, both share similar moves like the stiff arm, juke, speed burst, spin etc. I sorely miss the good old lateral move, but I rarely got that to work in Madden NFL 2000 anyway. Both games share the same passing controls. Why fix what isn't broken? Both games are a dream to play and control so why shouldn't they play relatively alike?

The graphics in NCAA are a little grainy and blocky and could use some Madden spit and polish, but overall the framerate is good and the animation is smooth. There was a fair amount of polygon breakup and some polygon clipping at times during tackles and other close movements, but it didn't really hamper the game much at all. The field is teeming with wild life such as other players, cheerleaders and coaches and adds that touch of realism. The crowds in the stands are more of a Monet painting than anything else and I would have thought that making at least to 3/4 of the seats empty would have been more realistic. But who am I to say? I've never been to a college game. I'm sure they sell out every game, right? Rrrrright.

Each team has their own chants and cheers and for someone who has never even heard a snippet of one of them, even by accident, I can tell you that they are 100% accurate. Along with the appropriately somewhat-out-of-tune marching bands, there is also play by play for the on field action. It may not have the pizzazz of Madden but we are talking about two different sports worlds here.

I've come away very impressed with this title. A lot of attention has been paid to make NCAA Football unique and good enough to stand on its own merits against more mainstream titles like Madden. With all of the extras thrown in such as the Recruiting and the "Create-A" modes, sim fans will be in management heaven. It's a solid title, with excellent analog control and hard hitting gameplay, featuring the boys in the dorms next door. Now if only us Canucks could convince the powers that be at EA to create a decent CFL game, complete with 3 downs, $8.00 hamburgers, warm beer and 25,000 people wearing stupid looking toques; pronounced "tookes" which are winter hats for the French challenged. Support college football and buy this game!






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