Madden NFL 98
So Madden's Back Again. It Hasn't appeared as often on the PC as on other formats, but it's the best American footie game of all of them and you tend to see it a lot. People were raving about the N64 version at E3, but this year's PC version is a little disappointing. There's nothing wrong with it, but... Well, let's start by telling you what you get...
As usual, the presentation is spot-on. There are only three camera angles, but the best one's the end-zone cam anyway. Graphically, it's improved on last year's version, but once again, the music is a bit dodgy. In fact, if there's a desperate sociology student out there trying to think of just the right research project to keep them at 'Uni* for a few more years, can I suggest 'Electronic Arts' In-Game Music And The Perceived Social Demographics Of The Game's Target Audience'? It's precisely calculated. Basketball gets funky stuff; American football gets 'rahk'. It's the kind of thing the cast of Friends would click their fingers to. By contrast, the commentary's excellent. John Madden and Pat Summerall's blathering is essential to American football, in the same way that Richie Benaud is to cricket.
The play's the thing
There are the usual options for exhibition games, league and playoff play, and customised leagues and schedules. As ever, you can play and coach, or just coach. But it's disappointing to see you still can't create your own plays. Front Poge Sports Football has always let you do this, and it adds to the game - even if you only ever devise plays that make players run about in ludicrous directions, like Duncan MacDonald used to.
Another thing that hasn't changed from last year is the option to make up your own teams from scratch, either by nicking all the best real-life players and putting them into your Shitesville Shovellers squad, or by making players up from scratch and naming them in a variety of obscene and amusing ways. All the great teams through the 30-odd years of the NFL are there to plunder at will. But that's the thing about this game: all the features were there last year. It looks better and plays slightly faster if you have the hardware, but at the end of the day, they haven't really added anything new. It's a good game, but it hasn't advanced the way NHL has.
Download Madden NFL 98
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- Game modes: Single game mode
- Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
- Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
- "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
- "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
- "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)
Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed
This game really needs no introduction. EA Sports' Madden football has been the mainstay of video football games since the early '90s when it dominated the 16-Bit generation of game consoles. Now the competition has substantially heated up and the stakes are higher (thanks to Sony's GameDay). That's good news for sports gamers, as EA Sports is hard at work making what they think is easily the best version of Madden ever.
One of the long-standing criticisms of the Madden franchise of games was the questionable computer intelligence. Not coincidentally, the Madden team at EA Sports proclaimed that improving the artificial intelligence (Al) and realism are the big emphasis in the development of Madden NFL 98. Loosely dubbed "Liquid by its architects. Madden's new engine will play much smarter. Defensive players will cover zones realistically; offensive run blocking patterns will be completely realistic. Running backs will pick up blitzes if their intelligence rating is high enough; tight ends will "brush block" then go out for passes just as they do in the real game. To make sure the game followed the sport realistically, NFL players were brought in on a regular basis to sound off on the Al of each player position in addition to monthly input from John Madden himself. All-new playbooks completely drawn up from scratch will be implemented in addition to a whole new play-calling system that is an enhanced offshoot of the systems found in the older Madden games (which showed three plays on-screen). Playbooks will be more realistic and more tailored toward their respective strengths. For example, the "l-Form" will feature a majority of running plays, while the "Pro-Form" will be more balanced. While this sounds completely elementary, many football games (including past Maddens) didn't exactly follow this. It should also be noted that for the first time, Madden will have an in-depth Special Teams playbook which allows the selection of different kickoff coverages and return setups.
Surprisingly. Madden 98 is still a sprite-based game-some traditions never die. EA opted to not make the plunge into polygons in order to insure that the gameplay is fast and crisp. It should be mentioned that these 2-D sprites do look remarkably good at this stage. They are prerendered and embellished with light-sourcing and shadows, giving them a pseudo 3-D feel. As you can see from some of the screen shots provided, there are plenty of new player animations such as one-handed grabs and over-the-shoulder catches.
At this stage of development. Madden NFL 98 looks very promising, maybe even groundbreaking if it delivers on all of EA's claims. Regardless, between this and NCAA Football 98. it looks like sports fans are in for a fantastic video football game season.
- MANUFACTURER - EA SPORTS
- THEME - Football
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-8
It's finally here! Madden NFL '98 for the PlayStation is everything it's hyped up to be--a fast, fun, furious football game with all-around support from one of the greatest minds the sport has to offer.
It's in the Fame
Madden fans of old will be the first to line up for this stellar title. Madden '98 gets back to the core of Madden with gameplay as intense and tough as the 16-bit titles, along with loads of pro strategies and offen-sive/defensive sets. Plays are culled directly from real NFL playbooks and from Coach Madden's vast wealth of experience in the NFL--and it shows.
This year, Madden has no sissy money plays or easy-to-memorize defenses because it utilizes a new feature called "liquid A.I." The concept's simple, but the explanation isn't; basically, your team's defense spreads out and flows according to the way the offensive play is going. What this means is that the computer-controlled players actually read, recognize, and react to the play that's being run--the three deadliest Rs in the sport.
As for controls, Madden rules the field with its intuitive, responsive touch passing, which fires off a bullet pass if you jam the Pass button or floats a lob if you tap it--no messy meters to struggle with here. Other impressive touches include fake blitzes that you can recall on the fly and an enhanced bluff mode that enables you to secretly call plays during two-player matches.
Seeing Is Believing
The graphics in Madden '98 provide for super-detailed movements of the sprites: Players react and point to signal rotational shifts, while the quarterback lifts his foot when calling for a man to go in motion. Gamers will also see players flipped, run over, and knocked down with superb realism. The only problems graphically are the outdated sprite-based style and the quirky pixelization.
Madden '98's sound is a definite plus. Pat SummeraH's seasoned announcing, along with Madden's running commentary, helps deliver a realistic, TV-like experience that's absent from GameDay '98.
It's A Hut-Hut Hit!
Although Madden's gameplay may seem tougher and harder to get used to than GameDay's--and probably a little too daunting for rookies--it's the perfect game for video game football enthusiasts. Madden fans, get ready to be ecstatic because Madden NFL '98 is the best Madden to date.
- Always follow your blockers on running plays. Be sure to avoid spinning unless you have a lane between you and the coverage man because it will slow you down.
- Use crossing patterns to confuse the defense. Set up the crossing pattern, then wait until the coverage goes to the middle. Throw the ball when your receiver is near the sidelines.
- If you pick the Hail Mary, make sure the receiver on the right side has a step on his coverage before throwing.
- If you run to the outside without a lead blocker, you must heat the last man on the line before you turn up Held. Otherwise, you'll crunched for a loss.
- Always your stars to bust the wide open. If your running hack is Jerome Bettis, why are you throwing?
Gaming's most popular football series is back for its second year of 32-bit action. As the '98 season heats up, will Madden have the gridiron guts to blast past GameDay?
Madden '98 will kick off with its usual solid selection of features, including more than 100 current and historical teams, new offensive and defensive playbooks, adjustable penalties, and all the current pro players and stadiums. On the control side, the retooled play-calling interface spoils "built-in" bluffing, while gamers can switch to play as any player at any time.
Managers are equipped with trades, drafts, and create-a-player (all under a salary cap), and when the season concludes, Pro Bowl selections are made based on player performance. Of course, Madden and Suinmerall return to the commentary booth, while down on the field, EA reports that new motion-captures will heighten the realism of player movements.
To stand out from the ever-tightening competition, EA's touting three new developments in Madden '98. This year's game operates with a "liquid A.I.," which, according to EA, means that CPU players will read developing plays and adjust their response to stop it, instead of staying locked in preset patterns. The A.I. will also track the gamer's patterns, so if you run the same play repeatedly, it'll shut you down.
Also new, touch passing will allow you to lob or rip a bullet depending on how hard you nail the Pass button. Finally, the graphics supposedly combine sprite-based and polygonal visuals to optimize game speed while polishing up the players.