world has witnessed many changes over the last five years. The
growth of the Internet, the birth of the 32 bit console bringing
arcade quality games into the home, governments taking an interest
in the environment (all be it through public pressure), a space
station became derelict.... As we near the millennium some things
never change. Famine still rages in third world countries, my salary
is still crap and Madden release yet another NFL video game.
So once again one of the best selling sports titles last year
has returned for yet another championship season. Madden '97 was
indeed a tremendous hit providing hour upon hour of gameplay. Salary
Cap, injuries, game ticker, laterals, commentary by
Summerall/Madden, secret teams, great teams of the past,
create-a-player, penalties, and every conceivable stadium were
combined to make a game that you kept coming back to.
So one year on what does Madden '98 have to offer? Well Coach
Madden has completely redesigned the offensive and defensive
strategies to evolve with the ever changing NFL game, while players
will now read and react to game situations, just like their on-field
NFL '98 is an American Football sim that comes with all of the
licences on offer. Actual NFL teams, official logos, real players
names and rosters. It originated on the Mega Drive in '92 and was
translated to the SNES and the 3DO before finally reaching the
Playstation in '96.
are vast improvements in the visuals department as the game engine
now delivers the graphics at a rapid frame rate. The players respond
quickly and accurately to your every command allowing you to feel
for the first time that you have total control over the events. The
motion capture technique has been used to add realism to the ingame
graphics while the legendary gameplay that has become the Madden
trademark is even better with all-new animations and moves.
A dynamic 3D intro offers you a warm welcome and sets the scene
perfectly. I find it amazing how far intro's have advanced over the
last six months and can only speculate that the ingame graphics will
reach this standard in the near future. Lets hope so.
sees it's best ever team return with Madden providing commentary and
Summerall play-by-play. They once again combine their talents to
offer in-depth analysis on play and statistics for all of the
action, as it happens.
The sound effects are excellent as the thunderous roar of the
blood hungry crowd creates a pulsating atmosphere while the bone
shattering collisions send a tingle up your spine.
you are new to the Madden series then prepare to take a few hours
out to study the accompanying 30 page manual as there are an
unbelievable 26 offensive, 12 defensive and six kicking control pad
actions and that does not include the use of the directional pad. If
the sport of American football confuses you then I am afraid you
will also require a crash course on the complex tactics which become
a fundamental part of the gameplay. To the novice, a pick up and
play game this is definitely not.
Once again Madden serves up the chance to play a one off
Exhibition game between any two teams from the NFL.
The Season option takes you to the start of a new NFL Season
which is based on the '97/98 schedule. At the end of a season the
playoffs begin, starting with Wildcard games, Division playoffs,
Conference Championships and finally the Super Bowl.
Tournament mode involves an 8 to 16 team elimination contest
where each player selects an NFL team and the CPU will randomly
perform a cup draw.
The all new Fantasy Draft combines the strategy of a fantasy
football league with the action of Madden football. Here you may
select your dream team then take them off to play in a Round Robin
Enter the Front Office to wheel and deal Madden style. Here
the players can be traded, signed, released, drafted or even
The options go on and on as every single aspect of the sport
may be tinkered with. Weather settings, quarter length, skill level,
injuries, fatigue etc. etc. In fact I have never felt so relieved to
reach a games starting point as I was with Madden. Even then you are
faced with heads or tails, kick or receive and which end to defend.
Finally we have kick off. Virtually every single football move
imaginable is included, from throwing the ball to kicking a field
goal. The run of play is clearly represented highlighting the
position of quarterback, wide receivers and running backs. While
offensive moves are being selected the defending player chooses a
counter attack from blitzing the scrimmage line to positioning
When play begins the offensive player controls the quarterback
while the defense selects a player from the line. Once the
quarterback receives the ball he must quickly decide whether to rush
forward and gain a few yards or throw the ball to the wide
receivers. Charging forward will require a sharp eye to spot an
opening created by your team mates. If one appears you can hurdle
and jump over the grappling bodies before diving for those extra few
yards. Throwing the ball automatically switches control to the wide
receivers who must be positioned to catch the ball, taking care to
avoid the swarm of advancing defenders.
The realism becomes apparent when a variety of fouls are
committed such as holding an opponents headguard and dragging them
down. Injuries, if switched on, play an important part to the
outcome of the game although substitutions are controlled by the
computer. Perseverance is rewarded by the inevitable touchdown which
sends the crowd ballistic and the players into their personal
'98 continues the tradition of providing the player with the most
comprehensive and in-depth American football game on the PSX. It is
visually sophisticated, extremely realistic, immensely playable and
is a must buy for those who love the sport. Those who believe
Gridiron is an engineering term should try before you buy.
you become comfortable with this game the rewards are enormous.
Madden '98 has such depth, variety and longevity that once you load
it up you never want to switch it off. The intro of a quality we
have come to expect on the Playstation while the ingame graphics are
acceptable and do not deter from the smooth flow of the action.