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ESRB Rating EveryoneMadden NFL 2003
89%
developer EA Sports publisher Electronic Arts
releasedate August 02 msrp $49.99
genre Sports #players 1-4+
difficulty Moderate analog Yes
gameplay
21
Another year, another PSOne version of EA Sports’ “Madden NFL 2003” is quietly released to a 32-bit market that is as close to running out of a reason for being this year as ever. Electronic Arts is selling this game for $40, and that’s a lot of pennies when 90% of “Madden 2003” offers the same player models, stadiums, menu/option screens and gameplay modes (Classic, Coaches Corner, Two-Minute Drill, etc.) that were present in “Madden 2002.” The rosters, as expected, have been updated and the team management features tweaked for the times.

Unlike 989 Sports’ “NFL GameDay 2003” though, “Madden 2003” boasts all-new play-by-play commentary by Al Michaels, John Madden’s new broadcasting partner over at ABC-TV’s “Monday Night Football.” Just as Madden’s presence has energized the broadcasts of “MNF” to their highest ratings in a good long while, Michaels’ play-by-play gives the latest PSOne “Madden” game an edge of newness that its predecessors lacked. It’s the only noticeable difference between “Madden 2003” and its predecessors. Still, EA Sports’ football engine is so far ahead of “GameDay 2003’s” (which stopped evolving about four years ago) that the updated rosters and Michaels’ play-by-play make this a fun rental and a worthy upgrade for gamers stuck with PSOne system’s (all 12 of you).

 
control
23
Tight and realistic physics were the calling cards of the latter “Madden” PSOne games, which always fought a hard battle with “GameDay 2003” for tightest-controlling PSOne pigskin sim. This year’s model is just as well-tuned as the past few games in the series, particularly “Madden 2002.” If you even remotely remember how the average “Madden” game used to play on PSOne this version is no different, which is both good and yet another rehash feather in the dying system’s epitaph.

 
graphics
21
The PSOne “Madden” games were maxed-out visually by the time people’s attention turned to the cutting-edge football games on Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 and next-generation consoles. If you can look at it with an open mind, “Madden 2003’s” graphics impress with detailed polygon players (with pixelated 32-bit textures of course), Create-a-Player feature (complete with color selections), decent stadiums and a frame-rate that on a few occasions (usually when there’s only one polygon player on-screen during replays) manages to shoot upward from its usual 30 fps speed into the 60 fps range.

It’s a workhorse of an engine, one that did battle with the best 32-bit “GameDay” engines from years past and emerged victorious by the time everybody’s attention had shifted to the future. It’s ironic that, in the eyes of quite a few players, the 32-bit engine of “Madden 2003” looks as outdated and visually bland as the 16-bit Genesis engine in ‘Madden Classic’ mode. On a PSOne LCD screen while sitting on the backseat of a car though, “Madden 2003” looks like any football fan’s best on-the-go playing partner.

 
sound
24
I always harp on 989 Sports for not incorporating into the PSOne versions of its sports games the new announcers that lend their talents to the PS2 versions of the same franchises (no Ian Eagle on “GameDay 2003” or Bill Walton on “ShootOut 2003”). EA Sports’ “Madden 2003” doesn’t fall into 989 Sports’ recycling routine this year, and this PSOne update actually benefits the most from Madden’s move to ABC Sports (and separation from long-time partner Pat Summerall) by teaming the returning color commentator’s lame quips with the play-by-play calls of Mr. Al Michaels. I really don’t need to tell you how good the crowd reactions, background music in the menu/option screens and on-the-field sound effects sound, do I? It’s an EA Sports product.

But, while the sound effects are clearly inherited from previous engines, no other 32-bit “Madden” game boasts Michaels’ excellent broadcasting voice and timely comments. I’m not sure the man’s presence is worth the $40 asking price EA is selling this game for, since the announcers don’t sound as clean or have the ample vocabulary found in the PS2 version of “Madden 2003” (CD-ROM vs. DVD-ROM). It may have arrived too late for anyone to notice or appreciate, but “Madden 2003” is the audio pinnacle of the 32-bit football genre (held back from a perfect score of 25 by, ironically, John Madden’s inane and retarded comments).

 
overall
89%
Unlike the 100% rehash job that is this year’s 32-bit “NFL GameDay 2003,” “Madden NFL 2003” boasts all new play-by-play calls from Al Michaels (along with the same old ‘Maddenisms’ we’ve all heard ). The rest of the game hasn’t changed much since “Madden NFL 2001,” but damn if it isn’t the most complete and up-to-date pigskin simulator $40 can buy. For traveling NFL fans with access to a portable PSOne this is a mandatory upgrade; everyone else who can still tolerate Pat Summerall’s lethargic play-by-play (yuck!) can safely stick with last year’s model.

(10222002)- by - J.M. Vargas

 
good
image gallery
As long as the kicker isn't a Gramatica brother we'll be fine!
As long as the kicker isn't a Gramatica brother we'll be fine!
PSXNATION University's recruiting page on the web needs work
PSXNATION University's recruiting page on the web needs work
Give it to Gonzalez, he's got all the dough in the world!
Give it to Gonzalez, he's got all the dough in the world!
The short pass that will yield almost no yardage...
The short pass that will yield almost no yardage...
... could have been prevented if the team had recruited one of these behemoths
... could have been prevented if the team had recruited one of these behemoths
So, why is it called 'AUDIBLE' if you cannot hear what he's saying?
So, why is it called 'AUDIBLE' if you cannot hear what he's saying?

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