John Madden Football
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8  |  John Madden Football Review (Genesis)
larsoncc , 3/3/2003 4:35:44 AM

Pass! (pic) Electronic Arts had a big hand in the downfall of the NESJohn Madden Football introduced everyone to the way that football games were supposed to be made, and it brought the Sega Genesis to an audience that hadn't considered the system - the sports fanatic.  There have been dozens of sequels and clones.  It served as the basic engine for many other games - like NHL Hockey and FIFA Soccer.  

Indeed, John Madden Football was an instant classic.  I can remember playing with buddies until our fingers were sore.  I remember thinking "Wow!  Those graphics are INCREDIBLE!"  Oooh, boy.  Sega Genesis week has given me the opportunity to look at John Madden Football with a fresh set of eyes.  Should you add John Madden to your collection? 

The graphics were very good for the time, this is true.  But the magic is based on a trick - a trick that EA would use for years to come.  The only things moving on-screen are the players, the yard lines, the ball, and the ref.  The rest is a static background - essentially a light to dark gradient of green!

Scouting Report (pic) In the original John Madden Football, there is no NFL license.  I have no idea why this was - maybe the NFL didn't think too highly of Madden, or maybe the licensing costs were extraordinary.  Either way, it makes picking a team a bit of a crap shoot.  Before each game, you're given a Scouting Report - a feature that would make it's way into virtually every sports game EVER MADE after Madden.  The report does a decent job of telling you that your team is either good or bad - but remember, this was the FIRST Madden.  There will be no direct comparisons of the teams here!  

Game play in the original John Madden Football was also a leap ahead of every other game out there.  How does it stack up now?  Actually, surprisingly well, despite the fact that it's so easy to cheat.  By the time Madden was a month old, my buddies and I knew the "kickoff trick".  If you hold the down arrow, and wail on the kick button, the kicking team will snare the ball before the ball goes even a foot.  In other words, whoever won the toss won the game.  It got so bad, so quick, that we "outlawed" the trick to maintain our sanity and friendships. 

Title Screen (pic) Some of the play features still hold up well today.  Defense, the speed of play, play selection, and the way audibles were handled are true to John Madden form.  The game featured a great kicking system (cheating aside), and a nice little half time show to boot. 

Is it still worth the price of admission? Well, of course it is!  If you can't find John Madden Football for a buck or less, you're doing something wrong.  Is it the best version of the series for the Sega Genesis?  Heck no. 

Madden NFL '94 finally had all of the NFL players, and '95 was a darned good game.  Still, I like Madden '93 as my choice for best Genesis football.  The classic mode of play and the fact that they came out with a special "Championship Edition" was just great.  Still, the origninal John Madden Football really tells you why this series became so hot - the game play is like no other.

I give the original John Madden Football an 8/10.

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