Madden NFL 99

a game by Electronic Arts, EA Tiburon, and EA Sports
Genre: Sports
Platforms: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64, PC, Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 8.7/10, based on 11 reviews, 16 reviews are shown
User Rating: 9.0/10 - 2 votes
Rate this game:
See also: Football Games, John Madden Games, NFL Games, Madden Games, NFL Games
Madden NFL 99
Madden NFL 99
Madden NFL 99
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.

Gameplay

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.

Graphics

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!

Download Madden NFL 99

Nintendo 64

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PSX

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

If you're the Kind of person who finds better things to do in the earty hours of the morning than watching American football live on TV (like, say, sleeping), it's probably worth mentioning that the 'Madden' in the title refers to 62-year-old John Madden.

Once a player and a very successful coach, he now makes a Irving as a TV sports personality and from, er, lending his name (and voice) to EA's series of Gridiron games. In many respects, Big John is a bit like our own Jimmy Hill. Only with lots of chins instead of a single long one.

The thing is, though, if you don't already know who he is, Madden NFL 99 probably isn't for you. Various facilities are provided for beginners - including three different skill levels, an arcade mode with simplified rules and a new version of Madden 10I (a multimedia guide to the sport) - but, more than any of the previous titles in the series, this appears to be a game for fans of the sport, not necessarily for fans of sports games.

Aside from improved artificial intelligence, new features - all of which are sure to please Madden devotees - include a franchise mode which lets you play as general manager (drafting, signing and trading players), a practice mode for rehearsing individual plays, plus a full team and player editor. Also - and about ruddy time too - there's a play creator which enables you to select a formation and then determine individual player moves and commands.

One improvement over Madden 98 which even your little sister would appreciate is the graphics. Apparently each player is now made up of 1200 polygons and while we haven't sat and counted (no, really), there's no denying that the game looks brilliant. But while there are plenty of adjustable detail levels, to get the full effect you're going to need a pretty meaty machine - Electronic Arts recommend at least a 300MHz Pentium II with 64Mb RAM and a second-generation 3D accelerator. EA also suggest a ten-button digital joypad and, given the complex controls, we agree. True, there is a simple one-button mode for beginners but that just takes all the fun out of it In standard mode there are eight commands for offensive rushing alone - but if you're a Gridiron fan who wants the full experience, you'll just have to learn to deal with it.

We have, and after several days of practice we're having an awful lot of fun throwing 30-yard passes down the pitch. Funny, though, how almost a decade on from learning the basics of the sport from the original version of Madden on the Sega MegaDrive, many of us still can't be arsed with the running game. I suppose some Americans would consider us rather crass. How ironic.

Once again, football season is nearly upon us, and not coincidentally, so is the latest version of EA's Madden football for the Nintendo 64.

Without a doubt, the most impressive thing about Madden NFL 99 is the incredibly sharp high-resolution graphics. The player models are some of the best ever seen in a sports game--they look very lifelike, their uniforms look nearly identical to their counterparts, and their names and numbers are visible on their jerseys. The amount of player animation is impressive. Receivers look the ball into their hands, and make a variety of different catches including one-handed, over-the-shoulder, and low and high grabs. Suffice to say, the days of footballs miraculously being gobbled up by receivers are over. Once in the open field, ball carriers can do jukes via the Z trigger or spin or power burst via the face buttons. If they fail to evade defenders, they'll be subject to a variety of wrap-tackles, and perhaps even a particularly nasty spill where he is picked up and tossed to the ground. During gameplay, it's a little hard to see all of these details, but using the slo-mo instant replay gives you a chance to see everything from every angle.

As there always is with Madden games, there will be plenty of new and improved features that include a Franchise Mode that lets you manage and coach a team over years (and even get fired if you do badly!) and a Fantasy Draft. The artificial intelligence in the game has been further improved upon last year's stellar game, particularly in the areas of the running game and pass defense.

With such sweeping changes and improvements, it looks certain that Madden NFL 99 will be significantly better than last year's unlicensed game. But the big question is whether it will be better than NFL QB Club '99 or not. Look for at least part of that answer when we review it next issue.

Not having an NFL license and high-resolution graphics proved to be a handicap, EA learned as their Madden 64 came to the finish line, second to Quarterback Club '98 last year. But to EA's credit, the company isn't resting on its laurels and hoping for a turnaround. Instead, it appears EA has put plenty of effort into its first NFL-licensed N64 football game.

Many of Madden 64's aesthetic "deficiencies" (when compared with the competition) have already been addressed; the game's graphics are now hi-res, and there are many new player animations including wrap-tackles, and receivers turning their heads to watch the ball. Gameplay enhancements are a little shadowy at the moment (we'll have tons more info on this at E'), but right now EA promises a more realistic kicking game, some new juke moves and some refinements to its very competent computer intelligence.

Sure, it seems a little odd to be previewing next year's football game this early, but with screens that look this good, Madden NFL 99 looks like it's something to get excited about.

  • MANUFACTURER - Tiburon
  • THEME - Sports
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4

While it took flak in the media for its 2D player graphics, Madden NFL 98 was easily the most realistic football game to ever hit a console system. Why the game wasn't polygonal to begin with is a good question, but EA isn't making the same mistake twice--Madden NFL 99 is now fully 3D.

One gander at these pictures, and you can tell that this year's game is enjoying a hefty aesthetic overhaul, even at this early stage. (It's not even summer and we're talking football already!) EA promises the fully polygonal graphics won't slow the Madden football's signature gameplay, and that once the game is released, it will run at a smooth frame-rate. Also, the makeover is allowing them to add a host of new player animations such as receivers staring at incoming passes, wrap-tackles and toe-drag animations (when catching balls on the sidelines).

As you might expect, graphics don't comprise the only enhancements. Madden 98's excellent computer intelligence is being improved with specific attention being given to improving the running game and the way the defense chooses to cover passes. Additionally, players will be able to make quarterbacks do pump-fakes to any receiver to throw off the coverage, and fake handoffs to running backs at any time. Ball carriers will be able to perform jukes via the shoulder buttons and bad players that try to juke will have bad things happen to them. If you want to get rid of those bad players, maybe you could do something about it in the off season with the new "Franchise" Mode. This feature gives continuity between seasons by conducting drafts, signings and all of the other things normally done during the NFL off season.

Considering that Madden NFL 98 made it into EGM's top 100 games of all time list, all of these major improvements (assuming there are no ill after-effects) are getting us excited about the prospects of the '99 edition. It's still too early to give the in-depth report that we'd like to, so look for more information in coming months. In the meantime, enjoy this rather lengthy sneak peek.

  • MANUFACTURER - Tiburon Ent.
  • THEME - Sport
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-8

Overview

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.

Gameplay

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.

Graphics

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.

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

Practice

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.

Hi-res

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.

Animation

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.

Arcade

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.

Passing

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.

Rushing

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.

People say:

9

First of all, let me say this: Regardless of what' any other mag or Web site may have told you (no disrespect to any of our competition or their opinions--informed or otherwise), last year's Quarterback Club '98 was NOT a better football game than Madden 64. In fact, it was so embarrassingly inferior gameplay-wise, I can't believe anyone was willing to say that QB Club was even in contention. But oh well, extremely pretty graphics have been known to cloud judgment in the past, so we'll forgive and forget. Now on to '99. We haven't received a playable QB Club '99, so I can't compare the two games yet (I hear QBC is much improved this year), but I can tell you this: Once again, EA has managed to produce a football game that is amazingly in-depth, with great At, loads of options and features (Franchise Mode is great for sim fans), and a gorgeous interface. Of course, this year all the licenses are in place, and the graphics are in hi-res, though the frame rate is still a bit on the weak side. If there's any problem that I have with the game it's that it still seems like it could be faster. There are some great new animations, but some things (like wrap tackles) seem unrealistically sluggish. EA still needs to work on the engine a bit, but gameplay-wise, this is a serious pigskin fan's dream come true.

9

Even though I prefer GameDay to Madden on the PlayStation, when it comes to N64 football, Madden is King. While it's too early to compare it to QB Club 99 (we don't have a finished version of that yet). I'll be real surprised if Iguana can come up with the kind of in-depth Al and realism that Madden offers. The hi-res graphics are gorgeous, though sometimes choppy, but the gameplay is excellent. Now, bring on QB Club!

8

Madden NFL 99 for the N64 is only marginally different than the PS version. Specifically, the graphics in this one are incredible, but the slow frame-rate makes for occasionally sluggish gameplay and poor control. I would've liked more announcer chatter too, but the gorgeous graphics more than make up for it. The most fun is had with multiple players, and since the N64 has the controller ports built-in, it's easy to get into.

8

Madden NFL 99 rules on the N64, and to top things off, it's got all of the official NFL licenses that were missing last year. The graphics are, of course, hi-res now, and the speed at which the game moves has been slightly improved. The Al last year was light-years ahead of QB Club, and this version sets the bar even higher. The Franchise Mode is a favorite of mine, but overall I still love Madden for its multiplayer play.

The most popular football franchise in history returns for another season, sporting impressive high-res graphics, enhanced A.I. and plenty of new features that are sure to send gridiron fanatics dancing from endzone to endzone.

Hall of Fame Hopeful

Madden trained hard in the off-season, bulking up its lineup and look to better compete with its two main competitors. NFL GameDay '99 and Quarterback Club '99. This year, both versions of Madden (N64 and PlayStation) include the NFLPA and NFL licenses, along with a superstar collection of new player animations. Receivers' heads will stay focused on the ball as they receive a pass (N64 only), defenders will make wrap-around tackles, and you'll witness players dragging their toes in bounds while making a catch near the sidelines.

EA Sports also promises a new kicking interface, a Dynasty mode that enables you to play more than one season, and an improved A.I. which adds even more realism to the game. We still haven't seen much from Madden's competitors, but if EA Sports once again lives up to expectations. you can just about bet that you'll see Madden back in the Super Bowl.

Football gamers are the most critical gamers that ever lived--subtle differences in a title's gameplay and graphics are instantly noted and discussed. They demand nothing but the best from the premiere games, and Madden usually makes the cut. This year's game is no exception: You will have nothing to complain about with Madden '99 for the N64.

Football by the Looks

Madden '99's incredibly sweet graphics are a huge improvement over those in last year's game, once again raising the bar for the series. The amazing detail includes readable jersey numbers and player names, tackles that look so real you feel them, and polished renderings of the stadiums and even the players' faces. With Madden's peak performance, you get some of the sharpest graphics available in any console football game.

Madden Options

All the great gridiron nuances that made Madden the dynasty it is are back, including all 30 current NFL teams and their players, over 85 All-Time and Super Bowl teams, and the "usual suspects" list of hidden teams. The ability to play through multiple seasons in the Franchise mode is new this year, as well as the options to create your own players and design your own offensive plays.

Rookies Apply Here

Madden '99 is encouraging newcomers to get into the action via a new interface that helps deliver one-touch passing, receiving, and defending. This will help novice gamers capture more quickly the essence of Madden's gameplay and is sure to attract even more fans to the series--as if this title needed them. Can't wait to experience the NFL, Madden's way? Neither can we. Madden NFL '99 looks once more to be the standard against which all other football titles are measured.

Football fans won't soon forget playing Madden '99--it will be remembered as a day the standards for N64 football games were raised. At this point in the season, Madden shines head and shoul-derpads above the rest!

Lean, Mean, and Clean

Improvements in this latest Madden title center around its high-res graphics. Clean, super-detailed players now roam the fields, sporting realistic moves and animations. Madden '99 also added a ton of new tackle visuals, including season-ending neck grabs, jersey pulls, and over-the-shoulder body tosses, to name a few.

But before you start thinking Madden is tearing a page from the Blitz playbook, you should know that all the great game mechanics and topnotch plays that made Madden a winning franchise are still here--along with a dizzying number of options that will bring a whole new squad of players into the fold.

The feature that should have the biggest impact is the One Button mode. Basically, it reduces play-calling to a single button press, thereby helping novice players get into the game right away. In addition. Madden's new Practice mode lets you try out plays from your play-book against different defenses--so you'll be better prepared when you take the field for the first time.

But there's also enough to keep Madden vets signed on, including a play editor, a create-a-player feature, a Fantasy Draft mode, and the all-important Franchise mode, which enables you to play multiple seasons with one team. And this year, Madden for the N64 contains all 30 NFL teams, as well as all the real players, uniforms, logos, and stadiums.

Speechless in Seattle

One problem that has always been a sore point for N64 fans also plagues Madden: the lack of outstanding sound that PlayStation owners enjoy. Madden is nearly mute on the N64, with little commentary, no sound during the replays, and no trash talking--but if sound isn't your purchasing point, then its lack shouldn't bother you.

As for the controls, if you've never played a Madden game before, you may initially struggle with them a bit, even in the One Button mode. Once you breach the learning curve, though, they'll really serve you well. Previous Madden gamers won't have any problem getting used to the added control features and will feel right at home the minute they fire up the game.

You Don't Know Jock

Until NFL Quarterback Club '99 reports to the turf--this game's only possible opponent--the field is clear of aspirants to Madden's crown. EA has done it again, and if you don't end up with Madden '99 in your N64 library, you either hate football or you don't know jock.

ProTips:

  • Never leap to make a tackle unless you're sure you have less than a yard between you and the ball carrier, or you'll miss. Try to lay a hit on runners at an angle.
  • On Trap or Sweep plays, use the spin button cautiously because it slows you dow n. Instead, try the new juke move or simply guide your runner inside.
  • On returns, run at an angle towards one of the sidelines and bring a few defenders with you. When near the sidelines, spin in the opposite direction and you could break for a few extra yards.
  • libbing the ball to a receiver only connects if he is far from the nearest defender. Throw the bullet pass whenever your receiver gets so much as a step on the defender.
  • When you run out of the pocket, read the held between you and the first dow n marker as judiciously as you read your receivers. If you see defenders start to pull back, run for the first down yourself.

Overview

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.

Gameplay

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 total 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.

Graphics

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.

People say:

9

It's about time that Madden was finally brought into a polygonal world, and EA did it quite successfully. Although the graphics aren't quite as sharp as GameDay 99's, there are many more animations, and they are integrated more seamlessly into the gameplay. Low-catches, one-handed catches, and various wrap-tackles are all well-implemented, although a couple of those animations are a little slow. The only thing that aesthetically holds the game down is its frame-rate. The game is very playable, but in some instances it could benefit from smoother player movement. The place that Madden really shines is its ultra-realistic gameplay. The computer's intelligence has been further improved, forcing you to think before you pass. If thinking man's football isn't for you, there are Arcade and One-button Modes that dumb the game down into a twitch game. There are so many features in this game, it's crazy--Madden NFL 99 is the most in-depth football game I've ever seen. There's a Franchise Mode that lets you control a team over several years, an offensive play editor and team specific play-books. You can bid for free agents, propose trades to the computer (often rejected), and draft a team from the ground up. This is definitely a superb football game for realists, but I still prefer GameDay's gameplay.

9

Let's face it, if you're a football fan, it's either Madden or GameOay--period. This year. again, I'm going with Madden. It doesn't look as nice as GD99 on the whole (though the animations are better and the movement is way more realistic), but gameplay-wise there's no contest. If you're a serious football fan who cares about realism, Al and options, Madden is definitely the game for you. If not, well, read my GameDay review.

8

Madden is a lot of fun when you get the multiplayer stuff going. Solo play is fun too, but obviously when you play Madden with friends, and great tackles and catches start happening, the needle goes way up on the excitement meter. Graphically, Madden looks pretty good but the frame-rate is a bit sluggish at times (which affects the control to a certain extent). Fans of the series will definitely be more than satisfied.

8

After this past E3 showing, it seemed like this would be the year the king got his crown back. Unfortunately, the overall polish of Madden 99 isn't quite as accomplished as GameDay. The tight Al is back and better than ever, but you have to look past a choppy frame-rate to see it. Simulation freaks will no doubt be in love with Madden's depth and complexity, but if you're looking for pure excitement, you may be let down.

The Madden franchise has always been the model by which all football games are measured. But with GameDay '98 upping the ante with its superb polygonal graphics, Madden lost some ground last year. This year, Madden comes out of the locker room with realistic gameplay, kick-ass features, and new player models that're outta sight. Even though GameDay '99 may look prettier and feature more control and intuitive commentary, many fans of football will be more than happy with Madden '99.

The Race for the Super Bowl

Madden kicks off its '99 season in fine graphical splendor, including all-new polygonal players that sport excellent detail. This time you won't see a bunch of fuzzy "V-poly" sprites roaming the field with bland team colors--you'll instead see fleshed-out gridiron warriors with readable numbers, names, and crystal-clear team logos and designs. Plus, the game sports awesome animations like wrap-around tackles and end-over-end flips, as well as runners that drag defenders down field or place their hands on the ground to keep themselves going.

But that's not all--this year's Madden also sports a ton of new options that will appeal to all skill levels: Rookies can learn the game using the One Button mode (where every command is performed by hitting the X Button), while hardcore sim gamers will revel in the new Franchise mode that allows you to play up to 15 seasons with your favorite team. And besides team-specific playbooks, you'll be able to create and save up to six offensive and six defensive plays onto your memory card.

As for game modes, they're all here, including Exhibition, Season (which you can customize to your liking), Tournament, and Practice, as well as a fantasy draft. You'll also be able to create players, sign and release free agents, and keep track of every stat imaginable.

Championship Gameplay

Madden's control and sound are just as solid as its graphics. For starters, the running game has been much improved: Now your players don't always go down right when they're hit. Plus, more juke moves have been added to help you deke around defenders. The only downsides are that the players still float a little and there's no function that allows you to dive over the pile at the goal line (as in GameDay '99).

Madden's sounds have also been improved over last year. You'll notice the crowd becoming more vocal in certain game situations and the awesome crunching of two helmets colliding together. Pat and John's color commentary, while sometimes repetitious, has also been expanded to include little factoids and tid-bits about certain star players.

Big-Time Football

Madden '99 is a better all-around game than last year's version, and its added play editor and Franchise mode help it rise above GameDay in the features department. Even though you may be enticed by GameDay's flashier look and enhanced control features, if you're a fan of the franchise, Madden '99 is the only game you'll need.

ProTips:

  • If you're playing with a team that has a fast outside linebacker, use the 4-3 formation/Crash Right to get a much-needed sack.
  • To execute a successful pass play, it's crucial to read the defense and see if the safeties are playing/one or man-to-man.
  • If you have one defender to beat, hit R2 at just the right moment to juke around him and sprint to the end zone.

Madden's pumped-up new graphics and already exciting gameplay promise armchair quarterbacks everywhere a fun new gridiron game-just in time for football season.

Bootlegs and Blitzes

Madden's lineup of features is juiced with the touchdown options football fanatics crave. Over 100 teams dominate the field, including every current NFL squad, plus 85 Super Bowl favorites and all-time greats of yesteryear. A new Franchise mode enables gamers to play as their favorite team for more than one season, and you can design your own plays, create players, and test your skills before grudge matches in the Practice mode. To draw more beginners onto Madden's somewhat intimidating field, EA Sports added a streamlined interface option which lets rookies control everything from passing to hurdling over tacklers with just the tap of a button.

Head Over Cleats

Violent collisions, wraparound tackles, and players flipping through the air are just some of the highlights made possible by Madden's new polygonal graphics engine. You'll also see ball carriers drag defenders behind them as they surge for more yards, runners who are about to fall place their hands on the turf to regain their balance, players streak downfield with added shimmy in their stride, and some of the coolest-looking juke moves in the business. The only negative in the early version we played was the game's sometimes stuttery frame rate, but we expect EA to smooth this out before the season starts. Otherwise, Madden '99 looks like a worthy addition to the legendary football franchise.

Snapshots and Media

Nintendo 64/N64 Screenshots

PC Screenshots

Similar Games

Viewing games 1 to 22