Review - John Madden Football

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Trev
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Review - John Madden Football

Post by Trev » Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:22 pm

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As promised, here is my review of Electronic Arts first sports game for the 3DO platform, John Madden Football. While this game makes some great improvements over the prior 16-bit versions, it also takes a few disappointing steps backwards. Ultimately it still proves to be a very good, if limited game.

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This is not Madden's first appearance on a cd console (the Turbo Duo played host to the first cd incarnation of the game) but it is the first "next-gen" 32-bit version. It is very noticable, especially in the graphical leaps.

The opening is brief but very sharp, with some good music to get you geared up for the game. John Madden himself greets you, and he looks great (not the man himself mind you, just the digitized video of him :wink: ) There is no noticable pixelazation, which is a very good thing, especially when compared to most early 3DO releases. Quite crisp.

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You are able to select from a variety of teams. These include classic squads like the '72 Dolphins and the '85 Bears, as well as the Madden teams, and the current NFL teams (current for '93) The lack of the player's licence means individuals are identified by by their position and number, not by name. The NFL licence is not lacking though, so all the real teams are present, and appear by name and logo. Good save.

The game begins after some load times of moderate lenghts (this is one area that 3DO developers were able to improve upon greatly in future releases, thankfully) The graphics are eye catching, placing you right in the middle of a 3D rendered stadium! The digitized players look quite good also. It took me a little while to get used to how they were animated, as well as their size (quite large) but they certainly are an improvement over previous versions.

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Other nice graphical touches include photos, and full motion video clips ... these are kept to an appropriate minimum, and ae more enjoyable for it. I also get a kick each time I see the end zone celebration dance.

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Speaking of which, I seem to see a lot of such celebrating. No doubt my skills have improved over the years, but Madden 3DO seems far too easy for me. It appears that all the attention spent on the graphics engine has hurt the artificial intelligence, whcih is not nearly as good as earlier versions. I hadn't played the game for quite some time, and my first contest ended with a score of 49-0. This included highlights like running a punt return for a touchdown, and kicking a 50+ yard field goal.

The AI just doesn't seem to react appropriately. I played a few games to make sure it wasn't a fluke, yet I won handily on each occasion. (including a blowout victory against the champion team of the time, the Dallas Cowboys :P ) A couple of common mistakes that I caught them making include passing the ball for big loseses, and calling timeouts when the game is virtually settled. While it is fun to post big numbers against the computer, all but the most casual players will surely grow tired of this rather quickly. (It is a shame that Madden '96 never saw the light of day, as these are problems that would have certainly been addressed) Thankfully the two player mode helps compensate for this somewhat, and really these types of games are better played with friends anyway.

There is one problem though that I find even worse than the weak AI. See that regular season option on the main menu ... forget it. You can not play a full season on Madden 3DO!
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How about the option to play in the playoffs? Well, only if you play the whole tournament in one sitting (or leave your 3DO player on all day which I strongly advise against ... too hot) This version of Madden does not save your progress! I actually find an admission like this rather shocking :shock: , and it hurts the game beyond measure. Effectively it reduces Madden 3DO to just a single game experience. I am not sure if this was option was left out in order to rush the game to market (seems like the only explanation to me) but it was a huge blunder on the part of EA. :(

Some lesser, but still annoying aspects include Madden's commentary. His comments are very sparse, and amount to little more than one-liners. Worse, they add no insight to the game being played ('that hit caused the fumble' ... well duh!) This part of the game was very underdeveloped.

When everything is all said and done though, I still give Madden 3DO my recommendation (suprised?) Yes the playability is lacking compared to the other versions, but for a first time effort on new hardware it is good. The computer AI is weak, but for less experienced players it should prove to be fine. Two player option is available, and is always good fun. And while the game may not have the replay value of other EA sport titles (I admit I have not spent as much time with Madden as other EA efforts) it is genuinely a lot of fun in limited doses. And as we all know, this is really the most important factor with any game.

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Football games have come a long way since the early 90's. After playing the 2K series, and newer updates of Madden (can't wait to try out the Wii version) this game cannot compare. So don't try and compare it. Instead apprciate it for what it is, a fun game with great graphics that gave us some glimpses of the future. And us fanboys can brag ... this version is 3DO exclusive too! :)

-Trev
Last edited by Trev on Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dawid22
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Post by dawid22 » Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:32 pm

Funny thing is that I have never got into football before as I am from South Africa and down here everything is about Rugby.

However, the other night I played some Madden on the 3DO and got hooked BIG TIME! I can't wait to get home and play again. You see, over the years things have become to complicated for me to play a game I know little or nothing about... the 3DO has now made me interested in the Wii copy.

:D

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Post by Dengar13 » Wed May 09, 2007 10:41 pm

dawid22 wrote:Funny thing is that I have never got into football before as I am from South Africa and down here everything is about Rugby.

However, the other night I played some Madden on the 3DO and got hooked BIG TIME! I can't wait to get home and play again. You see, over the years things have become to complicated for me to play a game I know little or nothing about... the 3DO has now made me interested in the Wii copy.

:D
Too bad there wasn't a rugby EA Sports game for the 3DO. That would have been pretty cool.

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Post by ATARI5200 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:26 am

Sports game fan r u, Trev?

This is more of the kind of reviews that a 3do game should have. Your game reviews seem to dominate this section, which I'm not sure is a good or bad thing, nevertheless I'll continue to read them.

By the way! Why is this so? Is everyone else bad writers or owners of 3do for collector prowess or something. Either way, this review was outstanding (IMO) actually more likened to comments I've made regarding your WOTW review.

Don't take offense or be discouraged to compile reviews. I was just beginning to think that you really don't like 3do. I see now that this is not the case (hope this isn't a premature admission on my behalf). It appears to be light at the end of your reviews, I just hope that it warm when I get there cause your have proven to be cold and brutal when it comes to your opinions.

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