by EA Sports Reviewed by: William Brandt
All hail the king! Look out, football fans; your favorite football game is back and looking better than ever. Every year around this time we football fans can look forward to a new release of Madden Football, and with this year's 2002 version EA Sports has set itself apart from the rest of the crowd. For any rookies out there, let me give you a quick rundown. Madden 2002 is an in-your-face, 3D explosion of football goodness that lets you coach or play as your favorite NFL team. You pick the plays, execute and score until you have the opposing team begging for mercy.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Playing Madden 2002 is like welcoming back an old friend. I've been playing the Madden series of football as far back as the 16-bit Sega machines, which gives you an idea of how strong a product EA Sports puts out year after year. Madden 2002 has tons of play modes available to you. You can set up a friendly exhibition game against the computer or go head to head with a friend. There is a practice mode that allows you to work on different plays for either offense or defense. I really enjoyed the practice part of the game because it let you work on playing the game without the game situation pressure. Those of you who want the whole football experience can load up a franchise or season and try to take your team all the way to the Super Bowl. The history buffs can set up games that let them control the great teams of the past. If that isn't enough, you can play online with people from the Internet. Madden 2002 is one game that will have you coming back for more. The graphics are so wonderfully done and the gameplay so immersive that I found myself playing for hours and hours. You'll need all that time because the computer can be quite the nasty opponent, especially if you turn the difficulty all the way up. You'll find yourself clawing for 1 or 2 yards while trying to run up the middle, or seeing your receivers getting pummeled by the defensive backs.
I can only think of one game I enjoy playing online more than Madden 2002 and that is a first-person shooter. Madden 2002 is a total blast to play online. I love the fact that you're locked into battle with someone for an entire game, each trying to outwit the other. The one down side to playing online has to be your connection speed. I had DSL last year when playing Madden 2001 and encountered no real problems playing. The game ran smoothly and I was never bumped offline. This year I'm on a 56k modem and I've noticed some heavy drag at times. I've also been bumped offline a few times. Another thing you'll notice is that people have a tendency to quit right in the middle of a game if they are being beaten, which annoys me to no end. Other than that, Madden 2002 is great fun to play online, whether with a friend or someone you've just met in the game room.
I thought the graphics were beautiful in the 2001 version of Madden Football, but the 2002 version runs circles around the other version. Player models are absolutely stunning. All of the offensive and defensive linemen are huge hulking behemoths; some have big bellies and some don't. The kickers look like you could break them in half because they are so thin and small. All in all I would have to say these are the best player models I've ever seen for a football game. Another thing that sticks out is the attention to detail regarding the stadiums because each one looks just like its real-life counterpart. You'll also notice how full the sidelines are with players and coaches and line judges. When it came to the actual game itself I was blown away. All movements by the players are very fluid; gone are the days of jerky motions and running around in circles. Another thing that had me slobbering like a linebacker was watching the receiver's pull of amazing one-handed catches. I'm not going to tease you any more; just trust me when I tell you that these are the best football graphics I've ever seen.
I found the music to be horrible in Madden 2002. I'm not into hip-hop very much so the music got on my nerves really quickly. The fine people at EA Sports have solved that problem for me because Madden 2002 lets you put your own music files into the game, which I thought was a great feature. The game commentary gets a bit repetitive but you really won't notice that much because of how hard you'll be concentrating to score that next touchdown. The best part of the audio has to be the crowd noises in the game. I would be playing defense and the other team would be about to score on me, when all of a sudden the stadium would erupt with chants of "Defense, defense, defense!" When I heard those chants I would tighten the chin strap on my helmet and get ready to rumble -- definitely a motivation tool. Compared to other football games I've played, the player noises seem a bit quiet unless you really lay the smack down. Then you get the pleasure of hearing a loud scream or yell erupt from the player.
Win 95/98/ME, PII 333 MHz or better, 40 MB hard disk space, 64 MB RAM, 8X CD-ROM drive, 16 MB video card, sound card, 56k modem or better, game pad or keyboard.
Every year that EA Sports releases a new version of Madden Football, I always buy it. And why is that, you ask? Simply put, nobody makes a better football game than EA Sports. I've tried all the fake wannabe football games out there, and not one can even begin to compare to Madden 2002. If you're looking for a football game that will have hours and hours of replay value, then you need not look any further because Madden has got it all for you. On that note I'll give Madden 2002 a score of 96/100. See ya on the gridiron!
Review Posted On 23 October 2001.
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