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Published by:
EA Sports

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Pentium II-400, 64 MB RAM, 520 MB hard drive, 3D accelerator

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Sound FX



Madden NFL 2001

Game Review - by James Allen
Nothing brings the turn of the leaves in Fall like a new Madden game. This years version features Eddie George (BOOOOOOO) on the cover, and all "new" features like read-n-react defense. How much of an improvement is Madden 2001 over last year's entry, and are we at the pinnacle of football simulation? Not yet, be we are very, very close.

Madden NFL 2001 features all the options that you would expect from the series. All 31 teams are included, and even the coaches, with playbooks tailored specifically for each team. Any customization you could even want is included on slider bars, so any football experience you want can be easily created, which is a powerful tool.

An improved franchise mode is included, where you can compete in 30 NFL seasons, do contract negotiations, free agent signings, and rookie drafts. You can even be fired as coach of your team if you play poorly (believe me, I know). The franchise mode is implemented very well, and is enjoyable to simulate several seasons to see which players end up where, and who the highest paid player in the league is: after five years, it's Ray Lewis (Alstott in a close second) for me.

In addition to franchise mode, there is an exhibition mode, and great games, where you play one of the best games in NFL history, and may even change the outcome. Definitely a feel of Quantum Leap.

Sound FX:
The sound is great and horrible. The ambient and game sounds are wonderful, and really add a level of realism. The crowds react to the on field action, the smashing of players sound like it hurts. However, the commentary by John Madden and Pat Summerall is bad. They must have spent at least 5 minutes recording the play-by-play and color commentary. Basically, whenever a pass is completed, John utters, "When you talk about precision passing, that's what you mean." Every time. Really. I guess something had to suffer at the expense of great graphics.

Don't worry, fans, gameplay did not take a late hit like audio did. The running game is almost good. You can usually run a sweep or a toss pretty effectively, but running up the gut is still too difficult. Now, I know that you shouldn't be able to run 4 yards up the middle every play, but when there is a hole, you should be able to hit it. On several occasions, I ran to a whole, and found out the hole was two inches too short. Tackle for one yard.

The passing game has somewhat improved. Someone has finally found the balance the incomplete pass situation between dropped balls and inaccurate passes. However, some of the throws are magically caught by your receivers, even when the ball split seconds earlier was nowhere close to the player. Plus, single coverage usually means a completion (and double coverage as well, for good receivers). The offense is competent, and doesn't degrade the game any.

The defense is good, but not stellar. The tackling is suspect as some times (4 guys miss diving at a running back), and your defensive backs do not react as soon as you would like. But, as long as you call an appropriate play, the offense is usually stopped. The new read-n-react defense is total garbage. Absolutely nothing happens if you are in pass coverage and a run play is about to be called, and you instruct your defense to read and react. It's easier to either control a linebacker, or just shift your line to bring everyone in close. The defense is about as good as the offence, which is good I suppose.

Kicking is hard, hard, hard. I took me many games to get the coordination correct more than once. The power meter moves really quickly, and if you don't hit it at the nanosecond at the top, you can kiss any field goal over 30 yards goodbye. Kickoffs are a lot easier than punts and field goals, however, and good kickers will kick one into the end zone every so often especially with the wind at their backs. The gameplay of Madden NFL 2001 is good, but still not at the top of the mountain.

The graphics are the best for any football game ever. They finally got the Jaguars jerseys and end zones correct!! Mud accumulates on the players and helmets get knocked off on occasion. The stadiums are realistic and engrossing. The field deteriorates over the course of a game, especially in the rain. The players look realistic, complete with lanky cornerbacks and stocky linemen. My descriptions don't do it justice. I actually felt like I was watching a football game, rather than playing one on a PC.

Madden NFL 2001 is the best football game for the PC. Its graphics are stellar, the gameplay is capable, and the overall experience is satisfying. If you are a football fan, this title should not be missed.

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