Madden 2000

The glaring problems from Madden 99 are nowhere to be seen in Madden 2000. Running the ball is a delight as offensive linemen open up holes and running backs break tackles. The computer also has a much better grasp on the running game and can grind up yardage even on the most grizzled Madden gamer. Never before was it possible for a human-controlled running back to gain over 100 yards a game (with any consistency) much less the computer runners, but in Madden 2000 a good running back is tough to stop.

3Passing is much more enjoyable too. The defensive backs do not react to a thrown pass as quickly as they did in Madden 99 and this gives the quarterbacks the chance to find receivers that are open. Passing takes a lot of practice but it’s not as hard as before. The addition of “hot routes” is a stroke of brilliance. Hot routes are similar to an on the fly audible. You can go to the line of scrimmage and change the route of a wide receiver by using your gamepad. You can tell him to go deep, to run a quick out or a comeback, etc. However, the computer quarterbacks still have trouble consistently completing passes.

While the graphics are pretty much the same quality as before, the sound leaves a lot to be desired. John Madden uses the same phrases over 20 times a game and several of the one liners are identical to those used in Madden ’99. And, just like last year, he says things that make no sense whatsoever. Madden’s sidekick Pat Summerall is back and he sounds completely uninterested in the game. The crowd sound doesn’t help much, either, as you never get the feeling that you are playing in front of 75,000 fans.

One of the more important additions in Madden 2000 is the CPU AI adjuster. The game allows you to tweak several gameplay aspects to fit your own personal gaming needs. You can assign the computer distinct play calling logic (run more or pass more) and play calling style (conservative, normal, or aggressive). On offense, you have the ability to adjust such things as overall throwing accuracy, catching ability, running ability, and blocking. On defense you can adjust awareness, interceptions, block shedding, tackling, and pass knockdowns.

While the gameplay in Madden 2000 is much more accessible that last year, the franchise mode still needs a bit of work. First off, you are only required to have 36 players on your roster, when in fact you should need 46. This leads to a lot of problems. For example, if you have 36 players on your team and your salary cap is near the limit and if a player gets injured—you will need to cut a player from your roster in order to hire a backup.

8The trade AI is also highly suspect. While it can be hard to fool the CPU when offering trades, during the off-season the computer offers trades that are simply mind numbing. When a general manager offers Ben Coates (who has a 92 overall rating) for a back-up safety (with a 64 rating) there is a serious problem. This seems to happen every season—teams will offer bizarre trades that simply make little sense. Madden 2000 is not perfect. It’s not a seamless blend of arcade action and realistic simulation. But it does a much better job than any Madden game before it.

System Requirements: Pentium 133 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win98

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