Ever since the series made its smashing
debut on the Sega Genesis, Electronic Arts have consistently kept (with the exception of
1996s no-show) the Madden series at or near the top of the football heap.
Theyve done it by developing a good core of gameplay, offering minor improvements
year after year to the series, and reacting to the competition by "borrowing"
ideas from them whenever necessary. Thus its no surprise that while Madden NFL 2001
is certainly the most polished NFL game ever, its core features havent changed much
with the jump to the almighty PS2.
Madden NFL 2001 will instantly feel familiar to anyone who has played any Madden game
on the PSX. It retains the same button layouts and the same core gameplay features that
made the previous version such smash hits. The difference between the gameplay of this
years version and previous ones is found in the tremendous physics engine in the
game. Whereas games such as NFL2K1 allow your players to cut on a dime, Madden NFL 2001
actually factors in the quickness, speed, and momentum of your players when you make a
cut. This can be argued that this is a bad thing (since it seems to make your players
react slower to button commands
even though they really arent since its
naturally delayed to factor in momentum), but theres no doubt it delivers a sense of
realism no football game can match.
The running game remains largely the same as previous versions of Madden, but perhaps
it benefits the most from the great physics engine. Running backs such as Jerome "The
Bus" Bettis will mow over puny cornerbacks or simply brush them to the side,
especially if hes built up a full head of steam. Small, quick backs in the Barry
Sanders mold can cut quickly and hit open holes in the line as they develop. Its
also possible to break big runs up the middle (especially if the defense is blitzing), not
just around the end like in most football games. Again, this is due to the momentum
factor. A blitzing linebacker simply cant get turned around fast enough to stop a
speedy running back hitting the hole he just left open. Throw in your traditional spin
moves, dives, etc. and this is the closest youve ever come to being a NFL running
back (unless you actually ARE one