" Thatís right the heat-seeking linebacker has been mothballed. "
Title: Madden 2001 Football by Electronic Arts
Format: Playstation 2 Football
Reviewing Monkey: Cornelius
The Hype: The long legacy of Madden continues to the awe and wonder that is the PS2. Not boasting anything new other than new and improved graphics, and really, does it need more; Madden again enters the fray as a top competitor for the MVP of pixelized football. Of course being the only football game for the PS2 doesnít hurt its chances either. Youíve seen the ads, youíve played the demo in stores, and now youíve returned back to the all-knowing monkeys for a further glimpse into the future of gaming. That future is now, and I, Cornelius have come to show you to the light.
What This Monkey Thought...
Graphics: Well, where do I start? With the television-like presentation, the stunning player models, fantastic character animations, or the really jiggly cheerleaders? What the hell do you mean thereís no jiggly cheerleadersÖthis game blows. Otherwise, itís everything youíve asked for my fellow simians, and much, much more. EA went to Willy Wonka himself to make the eye candy as sweet as possible. And on more than one occasion you will find yourself drowning in the experience, much like the fat German kid in the lake of chocolate. Players move like real people, right down to a foot plant by a receiver juking the cornerback. Tackle animations are superb, and as corny as it sounds you almost feel the hits. All the commotion on the sidelines is included; you can even knock over the chain gang as you are hit out of bounds. The game is presented like a televised football game, and the between play animations are great. Emotion on players faces show up after plays, coaches shout commands, and even sideline players are into the game, cheering their team to victory. EA has impressed the hell out of me here. You will spend as much time watching replays to see the most minute of details, as you will playing the game. Screw the drug wars, hand this game out in the depressed crack-addled streets of America, and people will be too busy playing to worry about where theyíll find their next fix. Of course as a reviewer I also have to be critical. So here are the flawsóthe crowd could still use some work. Although better than any other game, I wonder if this isnít an area EA decided to skimp on. When you zoom in really close on a replay, you may notice some clipping issues between players. Lastly when playing in the rain, the players get muddier (though not muddy enough) but the field still looks fine. Total crap. I feel like a woman right now, no matter how good things are something has to be wrong. Whoa, seems I let my one estrogen get the best of me there...Iím back now and here to tell you Madden 2001 elicits the coveted: 5 out of 5
Sound: Are all football games cursed with the same damn monotonous commentary for life? Youíd think that EA with all the wondrous capabilities of the PS2 would finally be able to make Madden say enough phrases that you might not here the same thing during a few games, let alone one game. Trust me, my monkeys, you will get so sick of John spouting "Öhe canít catch it if you knock it down." that you will want to lay a plate of curly fires in front of your machine in hopes that the big fat tub of goo we call Madden will be too distracted to say anything else. You will eventually turn him off, but you canít shut fatty up without the play-by-play going too. This is bad. The play-by-play make the game more like watching the TV. Of course the argument can be made that Maddenís idiotic regurgitation of color commentary adds realism as well, but I donít like him on TV anyway. Everyone else is pretty good, EA has even included in game sideline commentary. Now if only we could find a way to bring Dennis Miller to the console. And, as if the commentary problem wasn't bad enough, this game may have the single most annoying sound track in video game history. Of course, there is no music while you're playing- but having to listen to the music (an idiotic, self grandizing rap praising Madden and EA) during game loading and player and team development will drive you absolutely frickin' insane anyway.
P.S. if anyone out there is listening Iím still waiting for the "bullshit" chant to be included--thanks 3.5 out of 5
Game Play: Game play is incredible. All pro teams and players, of course, an all-Madden team, AFC and NFC all-stars, all the world league teams (and their stadiums), great teams throughout history, and a new feature; all-star single teams (e.g. all the best players to ever play for the Steelers, or Dolphins etc.), round out what is probably the most comprehensive roster ever in a football game. Players move and react like real people. No longer can you hit the dive/tackle button if the ball carrier is within five yards and expect a tackle. Thatís right the heat-seeking linebacker has been mothballed. Not only must you be facing the ball carrier, but you have to be close as well. Gasp! The kicking game is much improved, as you no longer have to aim while also trying to power you kick. It has been a long time coming. Really the only aspect of game play I have issues with is the passing game. As the receiver you have to get your man turned all the way around to catch a ball and hit the catch button. I feel the catch button could have been more universal, in that if you press it your receiver will at least start to face the ball. Of course this is what Madden 2002 is for. What is truly ground breaking is that EA has implemented a momentum based motion model, and it rocks! Players actually have to stop going in one direction before changing to another. Somehow EA has been taking flak for this from a small but vehement minority (you know who you are). Personally I have no respect for any turd that denounces a game because it is "too realistic". Isnít that what high-end gaming is about? 4.5 out of 5
Level and Environment Designs: Not much EA can do here, as football is still played in football stadiums. But the lighting, weather effects and stadiums are the best seen on a console to date. Having visited very few stadiums in real life, I have to take EAís word on what they look like, but the ones I have been to are excellent an depiction, and help the game come to life. Now if only they would make the field get muddy, and spectators spill beer on each other and get in fights and throw nachos andÖ. 4.5 out of 5
Multiplayer: One HUGE, and I mean GIANT, problem here.
There is no way to turn off the run routes in multiplayer. Sure the instructions
say there is, and there is a menu option that says you can, but in game, the
routes donít go away. So you opponent always knows where you are running. Sure
you can go against your blocking, but you may as well use your forehead as a
hammer for all that is worth. The only option you are left with is to always
pass. Suck. We tried contacting EA Support about this and got the big middle
finger in return. Weak ass shit. And, while we're on the subject of passing,
it is way too hard to get a wide enough view in multiplayer mode. (Any mode
for that matter) The problem is when you are acting as a DB it is nearly impossible
to play bump and run on the outside receivers. I know that EA wanted you as
close to the action as possible to see the graphics, it just shouldnít be at
the expense of gameplay. Finally, and also glaring, is the lack of net-based
play. With the PS2 net not running yet, and the Dreamcastís Sega Net running
NFL 2K1 in full force, Sony has some serious ground to make up. On the whole
though the stunning looks of the game deliver a worthwhile experience.
Post Publishing Note: We have gotten a large number of responses from Monkeys who have Madden but didn't have our same problems with the run routes. "It's easy enough to turn off, you idiots." They told us, "You just go into the options menu and disable it." But, rest assured, however stupid we are, we're not that dumb. What was even stranger is that we also got several reader emails confirming our views that the run route display was a huge gliche and wondering how EA could have left it in. Well, it took us some digging, but we've figured it out.
Turns out, there is a bug in some release copies of the game that doesn't always let you turn it off. We again tried to contact EA but again found their technical support department to be...Intellectually lacking. So, after playing around and trouble shooting it ourselves, we've solved the problem. What you have to do is not only turn it off as per the instructions in the manual but also disable, re-able, then disable again all of the easy options several times. I know it sounds silly, but it works. We were able to emulate the problem several times in the office and that fixed it each time it cropped up. So, if yours doesn't work either, give that a try...It should do the trick.
Further proof that Game Monkeys goes the extra mile to help other primates in need. -Ed.
Final rating post fix: 4 out of 5
Replayability: There were few improvements for EA to make to Madden 2001. It is far and away my favorite launch title, and will definitely occupy my PS2ís drive until 2002 is here. The game is incredible, and despite its flaws, it comes highly recommended. Enjoy. 5 out of 5
Story/Dramatics: Season mode or Franchise mode, whatever you prefer. This has been a staple for a while, and EA has stuck with it like a case of herpes. Not that I have better ideas, but then I donít have to, I review. 3 out of 5
Instructions and Learning Curve: The instructions are fine, though it may take a while to figure out what the hell challenge cards are. For some bizarre reason the controls are defaulted differently for offense and defense, i.e. the button that was speed burst with the ball is not the same without. What perverse programmer thought this was a good idea I donít know, but a death squad has been dispatched to hunt him down and eradicate any further atrocities committed by this sick individual. If death squads are not your thing, you can change the configuration in the options menu. 3 out of 5
Installation and Real System Requirements: Load times are a little on the long side, but for what you get the price is well worth it. Once the game is going there are no hesitations, just smooth sailing and monkey-lovin fun. 4 out of 5
Even though it is flawed in a few places Madden is like the hot chick in high school, no matter how big a bitch she is, sheís just so darn pretty.
The Good: Eye candy so sweet you may get cavities.
The Bad: The in game camera work needs help. Itís much like the XFL without the scantily clad cheerleaders.
The Overall Ugly: Have you seen the commercials? Yea, itís every bit that good. The chosen few who actually own PS2s need this game.
What it's Worth: If you can live with the multiplayer problem: $50 if you canít: $43.75