Madden NFL 97
DOS - 1996
Description of Madden NFL 97
Hut one, hut two, vaporware? Not!
Madden 96 was one of the most anticipated sports releases of last year but it never happened. Electronics Arts went thought a couple of reorganizations, refocusings and wasn't satisfied with the way the game was turning out, so they scrapped it. Learning from their mistakes on Madden 96, EA Sports started over from the begining. The results? A really sweet football sim.
First let me say that I'm not a rabid fan of football but I respect the strategy of the plays. My father was the captain of his high school's football team but he directed us kids into safer sports like swimming and soccer. Closest I got to playing the game was with one of those vibrating electronic games that the kid down the street had. We spent hours setting up our men and then flipping the power on, sending scrimmage line wiggling down the field. I think the last football video game I played was on the Atari.
Madden NFL 97 is certainly a long way from the Atari! With high rez graphics modeled on real players, over 500 Madden designed plays, statistics in 50 categories, video tips by Mr. Blackboard himself, and play by play commentary from John Madden and Pat Summerall, I don't see how it could get any better. Madden NFL 97 lives up to EA Sports motto, "If it's in the game, it's in the game". From the opening graphics to the touchdown dances, Madden NFL 97 puts you right in the middle of a real NFL game.
Game play in Madden NFL 97 is a combination of acrade and strategy. You select plays and then actually run them preferably with a two button gamepad. You can also just sit back and call the plays, watching the computer run them. This is know as "coach" mode.
Madden NFL 97 starts out with a main menu screen and the choices of exhibition game, league play, remote play or Madden University. Exhibition games are quick single games against anyone you want. Pick current teams or fantasy teams made up of star players from the 50s/60s, 70s, or 80s or specific great teams like the '67 Packers or the '78 Cowboys. You can even pick an unbeatable team hand picked by John Madden from all of the great players in history. Unfortunately with these fantasy teams, EA Sports did not have the rights to the players names. As a result your starting line up is made up of people like "75 Quarterback, Bills".
With League play you can start an NFL season, set up a custom league, team, player and season or view statistical information for every team and player in the NFL. Remote play allows multiplayer action through a modem or network connection. Madden University fills up the second CD-ROM. MU is a collection of video instruction from the master play maker, John Madden. Here you'll learn the basics of play calling for offensive, defensive and special teams plays. Its handy if you're not familiar with play terms such as Dime, Nickel, 4-3, 3-4, 50 Sky, Weak Storm etc.
The setup screen allows you to choose teams and view video clips for each NFL team. "Team match ups" compare the offensive, defensive and special teams of the upcoming game. With Playbook you can select your plays or make your own custom plays. "Stadium" selects grass, turf or dome stadium, "quarter" selects the length of the quarters and "weather" selects clear, rain, wind or snow. Madden NFL 97 can be played with a keypad, joystick or mouse (in Coach mode only). When you are ready to kick the pigskin around, click play and the action begins.
Gameplay only requires a two button joystick so two players can play head to head on one machine -- both using joysticks. You only control one player at a time (thank goodness!) with the computer pitching in for the rest of your team. Pushing a button during play can make your player reach to catch a football, dive on a ball carrier, kick a field goal or let lose a long bomb.
Two Minute Warning
One of the best things about Madden NFL 97 is that you can play it like you live it, casual fan or rabid, shoe sniffing fan ala Dennis Hopper. Casual fans will enjoy the Sunday afternoon football TV play by play and the arcade action while rabid fans can become engrossed in the statistics and fantasy team match ups.
Overall Madden NFL 97 is a very satisfing sports sim. It combines great arcade action with classic football strategy from the master himself, John Madden and all of the elements of today's TV sports coverage.
Review By GamesDomain
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