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madden_logo_small.jpg (14109 bytes)
Review By: Jared Black
Developer:   EA
Publisher:   EA
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   Football
ESRB:   Everyone
Date Posted:   11-14-00

Ever since the series made its smashing debut on the Sega Genesis, Electronic Arts have consistently kept (with the exception of 1996’s no-show) the Madden series at or near the top of the football heap. They’ve 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 it’s no surprise that while Madden NFL 2001 is certainly the most polished NFL game ever, its core features haven’t changed much with the jump to the almighty PS2.

products_madden_00s.jpg (10404 bytes)

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 year’s 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 aren’t since it’s naturally delayed to factor in momentum), but there’s 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 he’s 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. It’s 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 can’t 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 you’ve ever come to being a NFL running back (unless you actually ARE one…).

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