Madden NFL 99

The answer to the question "Whodaman?" in NFL broadcaster/Analysts is John Madden. He doesn't like to fly in planes, went to the Fox network for the big bucks, but he KNOWS football and is fun to listen to and learn from. His chalk talk and in-depth coverage will add to your knowledge of the NFL. This game is another in a long line of official Madden football games and it brings with it a few new features to play with.


Madden football, like most of EA Sports' offerings, is a simulation. It is meant to be as close to the real thing as possible. So in evaluating how good a game it is, one must compare it to the real megasport of NFL football. It has all the aesthetics of the real deal including the most popular offenses and defenses. It has all the real locations for the stadiums and occasionally throws in a winter snow game. I didn't see any rain games, however.

This game is licensed by the NFLPA. I assume it was because some of the rookies hadn't yet signed contracts that their names are not in the game. Some of them are only represented by their number instead of their name which leads to some oddities like a player with a name of Number 12 wearing the Number 80 jersey. If you play through a season in franchise mode, the game will make up new players to be drafted in a fourth round draft. The highest scores I saw available in the first round were in the seventies. It would be nice to be able to enter new players with stats.

Madden 99 has plenty of modes including season, franchise, tournament, fantasy draft, and practice. All of them are interesting, especially the fantasy draft. As with most sports games, these modes are more fun playing against other humans instead of the Artificial Intelligence. I assume there might be some plays that consistently beat the computer, but I didn't find them. It isn't that tough to pick defenses that can basically shut down teams.

The fun thing about season mode is that it seems to go like the pre-season predictions had them going but not much like they actually went. For example, Minnesota doesn't do so good while Tampa Bay does. The season (thanks to the NFL license) goes exactly like the actual scheduled season so you can take your favorite team through the trenches and see if you can do better than they did. Of course, you only save when you want to so you can keep playing a game over and over until you get a perfect record even if you are playing the Colts.

While franchise mode is not very well suited to a console game, Madden 99 makes an admirable attempt. I found that the menus were not laid out very intuitively and that it took extensive renavigating to make simple decisions like should I sign a high priced free agent? I'm not sure exactly what formula the AI uses to approve or refuse trades but it seemed only interested when I offered a player that was at least 10 points superior in overall rating. However, this did lead to some fun trades like picking up Payton Manning for Warren Moon and trading an average linebacker for Randy Moss (he appears in the game as Number 12). One way to take advantage of this mode is to sign highly rated free agents like Gary Zimmerman and then trading them for lower salaried, younger, up and coming talents. These are players that you wouldn't have had access to otherwise without trading away your best players.

Tournament mode is for when you have an army of friends over and want to play an ongoing tournament. This is a very cool feature as is the fact that you can play two on two and combine your skills with a friend to take out your rivals. The game also allows you to swap out your memory pak for the rumble pak so you can feel the crushing blows.

So how does the game actually play? Everything seems to be there with options for each of the buttons through all the aspects of the game (it takes a while to learn all of the options you have). The passing game is a bit stringent as it doesn't allow different touches on the passes. It's also difficult to get true reads down the field because you can't see the outsides of the offense. There seems to be a lot of interceptions in the games on both sides of the ball.


The different views are pretty cool, especially the blimp cam. This view does make it easier to see the whole field. There are quite a few different views to choose from so I would recommend trying all of them to see which one suits you the best. Overall, the graphics are decent but the players look stiff most of the time. It is also annoying that players walk through each other between plays. I don't mean infiltrated, I mean like Patrick Swayze in the movie Ghost. Also why does the quarterback have to line up to kick only to be transformed into the usually shorter kicker.

System Features Supported

Supports 1-4 Player/Simultaneous mode, N64 Controller Pak, and N64 Rumble Pak.

Bottom Line

This game attempts to get everything in the game but I didn't find it that enjoyable. From the fact that I seemed to win only one in five of the coin flips to the lack of superstar players entering in during the seasonal drafts. The franchise and season modes would be more interesting if you could make multiplayer deals or throw in cash to finish a deal. Negotiating contracts would be more realistic if you weren't just tossing contract offerings against a wall until one sticks - there just isn't enough interaction there. This game is probably the best simulation out there so I hope it's time to raise the bar and do some things that will knock peoples' socks off again. But it is probably the best NFL simulation there is so it's got some things going for it. I would definitely recommend renting before buying!

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Madden NFL 99 Downloads

Madden NFL 99 download

Hi-res update to last year's big scorer.

reggie posted a review


Madden's practice mode features a giant play diagram mapped on the pitch to show you exactly where your team mates are going to run. It makes learning even the most complicated plays very simple indeed, and is a great 'hands-on' way of showing you what all the little colours and symbols on the play diagrams actually mean.

Instant replay

Whenever there's a big play, a touchdown, or a particularly crunching tackle, the game switches to an intelligent instant replay mode. Intelligent? Well, if it was a huge pass, the camera will zoom out to fit all the action on the screen. If it was a storming run, you'll get a player's eye view from the helmet cam.


Ifs EA's first stab at a hi-res football game, and although it's a decent first effort, it just doesn't compare to QBC in terms of detail or clarity. The logos on the pitches look chunky and out of place, and there is a noticeable lack of variety in the textures used. The fact that the linesmen are flat sprites doesn't help, either.


There are plenty of different animations, although the game does seem to suffer from the old FIFA disease of forcing you to watch a whole section of motion touchdown celebrations are pretty good, but the referee looks like he's suffering from a painful bout of arthritis.

Replay Mode

The graphics might be a bit on the bland side, but at least the replay mode is smooth and easy to use. In fact it's almost identical to QBC's one, albeit without the option to raise and lower the camera. It's just a shame that there isn't really that much to gawp at when you slow all down.

1-button Mode

If you're a bit of a duffer when it comes to choosing which receiver you should pass to - so many options! - or remembering which button is turbo and which one is dive, the one-button mode removes any confusion. Just press the button action of any kind. and the N64 will pick the best option for you.


Setting the game to arcade mode reduces the number of different screens you have to go through to select your play, and speeds up the gameplay. Like one-button mode, it's a useful idea to ease you into the game, but most players will probably opt for the traditional Madden control method - it's much easier to learn than QBC's.


The passing game Is still the best way to make progress in Madden. The Z and R buttons pan the display to either side for a quick glance across the line, and a different button icon appears over each receiver's head. Quick short passes are the safest bet. as the computer is a dab hand at intercepting the long ones.


It's possible to power through weak tackles and scatter the defensive line if you're lucky, but once an opponent gets a hold of your player and a tackle animation begins, you can't break out of it. There aren't that many different moves either (only hurdle, spin and dive), so rushing play are a bit limited once you've got hold of the ball.

reggie posted a review


The one time king of video football is back and, BOOM, is looking to reclaim his crown. There is no denying that up until now Madden NFL games have not stood up to the compitetion. Last year, Madden 98 was a great playing game but face it, it was lame 2D. We now live in a 3D football world so Madden had no choice but to go polygon. Let me go on record saying that this game should receive the award for biggest graphical improvement of the year.

Those of you who have been gaming since the begining of time know that Madden football games were the stars that all of the compitetion was shooting for. Unfortunatly for the Madden team, Sony Sports (989 Sports) has not let the PSX be dominated by Madden. Actually, the GameDay products have been better every year...until now. This year's GameDay 99 was a great looking game but it was a bit to arcade for my tastes. Thankfully Madden 99 has stuck to its roots for the most part and delivered a realistic simulation and upgraded the graphics. This may be the year that the man regains the title.


After playing just one quarter of my first game, I started to see what is going to make this the best PSX football game this year. EA Sports has done a great job in rebuilding this game from the ground up. I will go into more detail about some of these changes but rest assured the days of flat sprite football games are now officially dead. It is great to see that the developers knew that the graphics were a big concern in last years game and made it a priority, actually necessity, to upgrade the look and keep the play intact. What a definite success.

First off, let me start out by talking about the biggest improvement of this game. We have a section dedicated to graphics but I really can't wait until I get that far to talk about them. The graphics in this game have been completly redone and they are great. This is not entirely true. The graphics themselves are decent yet not nearly as crisp and detailed as those in GameDay 99. What is better is the way they use the graphics. Since they are now polygon, wrap tackes are standard. What is impressive is all of the different types of wrap tackles. You don't just have a wrap tackle or a defender pulling the guy down from behind. You now have submarine tackles which have the defender shooting in at the ball carriers legs. You can also flip the ball carrier completly over, wrestle him down from the side, bend him backwards and a ton of other types of tackes. Probably the most impressive is when the defensive player grabs the ball carrier and stops him but he puts his head down and keeps his legs moving. This was awesome. It is really hard to explain all of the different things you will see during the game but believe me, you will find yourself asking your buddy if he saw that awesome move more than once.

So what else has changed? To start off with, the game has two new gameplay modes. The first is the arcade mode which uses a simplified playbook and is supposed to be faster. To be honest I really did not like playing this mode much because it was too limiting. You only have a handfull of plays you can call so you are pretty much stuck with what they gave you. I figured that if I was going to play a game I wanted to play it the whole way. The second new mode is called the one button mode. This mode has you do everything with one button press and it is great for beginners. Instead of selecting which receiver you throw to, you hit the button and the computer decides for you. Don't know if you should use the spin move or the juke move? Just push the same button and let the computer decide for you. This mode is not really for me or my tastes but what it does is allow a person who has never really played a Madden game before to pick up a controller and start playing.

Another new addition that may appeal to some diehard fans or to somebody that buys a football game and sticks with it for a few years is the Franchise mode. This is similar the Dynasty mode in NCAA Football 99. This mode allows you to take a team and play up to 15 seasons with the team. The player and team ratings will change from year to year as you draft new players, sign free agents and have players retire. You can watch the waiver wire and pick up players released by other teams or release your own players to free up salary cap room. Through the whole process your coach is constantly on the hot seat so if he does not perform it will be "see ya." This was a neat addition but like I said, it will really only appeal to people who don't go out and buy the latest and greatest every year. Just do the math. You have a 16 game season for 15 years...that is 240 game. I assume that you will be good enough to make the playoffs in at least half of those seasons so add another 10-15 games for playoffs and the tota l will be over 250 games. I don't know about you but I can't say that I have ever played 250 games of any football game. Once again, this is just me so if you really want to squeeze every penny out of your purchase, the franchise mode will be perfect for you.

So that is what is different. Now for what is the same. Since this is Madden, you can bet that all of the NFL players and stadiums are here. You will also find custom playbooks for every team. I found this to be both good and bad. It was good because it made things very realistic to the actual NFL. The bad thing was that they seemed to have left out some critical formations on some teams. For example, I played a season as the Seattle Seahawks. Warren Moon is the quarteback but they don't have a shotgun formation. I know for a fact that the Seahawks use the shotgun and Warren Moon is the prototypical shotgun quarterback. I guess you can't have everything but I felt that this was a pretty big oversight. On a positive note, you can make a custom playbook and go get the formations that you want but that is still a bit of an effort.

Another thing that is the same, if not better, is the computer AI. Everyone knows that Madden is notorious for money plays. The last few years the developers have really worked hard at beefing up the AI and eliminating these holes in the game. This year is probably the best yet. If you play on the lowest skill level, you will be able to make big plays all day long but that is why it is the lowest level. Once you crank up the skill level a bit the competition gets pretty fierce. There are no gimme plays and you will be find yourself dropped for a loss on more than one occasion. This is actually pretty good because it keeps things challenging. There always seems to be a play or two that works when you have two specific teams playing and the defense calls a specific play and the offense calls a specific play but I never could find one. I am sure that people will find a few and cry about it but I think this is about as good as you will get.

Through all of the ups and downs of the Madden life, one thing has remained consistant. The games always played great and aside from the money plays, they were excellent football simulations. This year is no exception although I did have a complaint. Before I get to the complaint, let's talk about the good. The game really does a great job of balancing turnovers, big plays and average gainers. In the past and on some other games it seemed like interceptions and fumbles were just random occurances. In this game your defender will intercept the ball if he is in position to intercept it, not because the game feels like having an interception. The defense is always making adjustments and if you are in the correct position to make the plays, you will make them. the same is true with fumbles. If you get hit on the ball or from two different angles, the ball is more likely to pop free. It just did not seem to be as random as other games.

Now for my complaint, which was also my biggest complaint with NCAA Football 99. The ball carrier seemed to be able to bounce off too many tacklers. It seemed to be a bit better in this game but it still happened way too much. I have no problem with the juke moves and spin moves that elude the defender but I really get mad when I hit a guy square on and my defender just flops to the ground like a rag doll. I had the computer bust off a run directly up the middle that had him break at least three tackles. Talk about frustrating and I have not even mentioned the 98 yard kick off return. This was bad in the college game but it is unacceptable at the pro level. I was hoping this would not carry over but it looks like it has but to a little lesser degree.


I already touched on the graphics a bit above but I will revisit them. First off, the graphics are not nearly as good as those in GameDay. With that said, the graphics are a huge impovement and definitly get the job done. What the graphics lack in eye candy is made up in game detail. This game really feels realistic. The tackles are so varied that you can go a whole drive and not see the same tackle twice. The stadiums are decent looking but nothing overly exciting. I still think they need to get the design team for Triple Play 99 to design the virtual stadiums. Another nice touch is that you will actually get to see referees running on the field, throwing flags and making penalty calls. The guys on the sidelines with the first down markers will also run out on the field to measure on close calls. This game really feels like an NFL game.

Bottom Line

In my opinion, this is the best playing football game to date. It may not be as pretty to look at but it really gets the job done. Everything is realistic and feels like a football simulation. If you are looking for a more arcade type game, you can change a few options and play a faster, less complicated version of the game but face it, die hard Madden fans want the real deal. It is nice to see that Madden is back on top.

reggie posted a review
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