Pacing the Cage

All about old-school video games. Reviews, lists and more.

Archive for the ‘Madden’ Category

Five quick-hit reviews

Posted by ptcgaming on May 4, 2009

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“River Raid” (Atari 2600/1982/Activision)
Overall score: 3.5
“River Raid” to this day is one of my favorite Atari 2600 games. The graphics are outstanding for that console, the sound is exceptional and having to worry about refueling adds an extra challenge. Too bad that challenge gets a bit repetitive after awhile.

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“Bases Loaded” (NES/1988/Jaleco-TOSE)
Overall score: 4
“Tecmo Baseball” and “RBI Baseball” might come close, but this was the best baseball franchise on the NES. The TV-camera batter/pitcher screen and great animation (including the “phantom glove” catcher) were great, as was the speech (any spoken dialogue was a gift on the NES). But am I the only one who thought this game was pretty tough?

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“Keith Courage in Alpha Zones” (TurboGrafx-16/1989/Hudson Soft)
Overall score: 2

Even fantastic 16-bit graphics couldn’t prevent this from being the worst pack-in game for any console – ever. While the graphics are great, the┬ámusic on this Mario/Zelda/Gundam hybrid is too repetitive, and the gameplay is boring. There are some really good titles for the unappreciated (in North America) TG-16, but this sure isn’t one of them.

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“F-Zero” (Super NES/1991/Nintendo EAD)
Overall score: 3.5
How they get the screen to keep up while racing that fast is beyond me. Nevertheless, “F-Zero” is fun and challenging at the same time. Of course, it’s best when played with a friend. The controls take a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of them you’ll enjoy this one a lot.

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“John Madden Football ’93” (Sega Genesis/1992/Looking Glass Technologies)
Overall score: 4.5

This is by far my favorite “Madden” ever. I remember the days before passing cones and football IQ, when passing windows ruled the world. I recall some intense Thurman Thomas vs. Barry Sanders battles, diving catches and cheesy touchdown dances. This game even looks great, and the players move and act like real football players do. This is the one game I wish I had held on to over the years. Sadly, I did not.

Posted in Atari, Genesis, Madden, NES, Reviews, SNES, TG16 | Leave a Comment »

Madden before the monopoly: Part II

Posted by ptcgaming on August 8, 2008

Madden 97 for the Nintendo Game Boy gave you most of the elements found in its large-console brothers, the key word being most.

Since the new Madden is game will be soon released to the public, and because I’ve reviewed the other two football games I own for the Nintendo Game Boy, I figured I’d go ahead and take a look back at Madden 97. But instead of breaking the game down by graphics, sound, etc., I’m just going to give you a “What I like/don’t like” rundown. The game was released in 1996, the same year the series made its debut on the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Other consoles, such as the Genesis and SNES, also featured this title.

What I like: This game is all retro Madden and reminds me of my favorite Madden, John Madden Football ’93 for the Sega Genesis. From the vertical, top-down gameplay to the use of passing windows, this game is old-school. Even though this is a Game Boy title, it still features the complex offensive and defensive playbooks featured throughout the series. There are some stats available for viewing during gameplay. Cutscenes and sound bytes featuring the referees and crowd are also present. And I really like the little dances players do when the score.

What I don’t like: Notice the title of the game is “Madden 97” and not “Madden NFL 97,” meaning the game doesn’t feature actual team names (only cities, like in Tecmo Bowl) or player names (only numbers). Also, it took me quite some time to differentiate what was actually the ball (which is abnormally huge) and what was actually the shadow under the ball. Passes fly through the sky in slow-motion, and punts by the computer have a hang time in the 8-second range, as if you’re playing football on the Moon. And since it’s built on the Game Boy platform preGBA, you have to keep track of the medieval password save system to keep a season going.

If you’re going to play this one, I’d highly suggest doing so using a Super Game Boy or Game Boy Player. My Game Boy Player gives the title screens and menus a green tint and the in-game screens a blue one, unlike the screenshot above. If not, you may have trouble seeing so many players on the screen at the same time. If you don’t necessarily need Madden to get you video game football fix, then I’d suggest finding a copy of Tecmo Bowl instead.

Posted in Game Boy, Madden, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Madden before the monopoly

Posted by ptcgaming on July 28, 2008

It’s that time again! Time for all Madden enthusiasts to come out of the woodwork in order to grab the 20-year anniversary installment of EA Sports’ NFL franchise! OMG! I’m so excited! Oops, that was all just sarcasm on my part. Even though I have a recent version for my Nintendo DS, I usually wait until about six months after the game comes out and the excitement wears off. And still, despite all the bells and whistles that come with today’s Madden games, my favorite is still the one that came out 16 years ago.

John Madden Football ’93 is by far my favorite Madden title and one of my two favorite football video games alongside Tecmo Bowl. EA didn’t have any exclusive licenses then, so there were no team names or player names. (In fact, the Raiders were “Oakland” before even moving back there so “L.A.” could be the Rams, and the Jets were “New Jersey,” which was fitting since that’s where they really play). However, all the players had their correct numbers, so deep down inside we knew who they were. I remember running all over defenses with “Thurman Thomas.”

Madden ’93 was actually a groundbreaking addition to the series. There was the introduction of “Maddenisms,” little cheesy sayings J.M. would fire off after some plays. This was much better than the play-by-play commentary we get today (Thank god you can turn it off). This game also introduced eight classic teams, including the 1976 Raiders and 1985 Bears, among others.

I used to get quite a kick watching the two teams warming up on the title screen. There were also elaborate touchdown celebrations and injuries. But the one thing that amazed me the most was in Playoff mode (You couldn’t play a season, but you could play a playoff bracket). At halftime and after your game, there would be a scoreboard ticker that would scroll scores from other playoff games. Then, the computer would show you the last minute or so of another playoff game in progress, all on its own (Early NHL titles from EA did the same thing). Can today’s developers remove some of the other senseless options from the game and put this back in? Thanks.

Overall, this is probably my favorite football video game, ever. Even though the graphics aren’t top-notch compared to today’s Madden installments, they were quite fresh at the time. If you can get your hands on a copy, do it. You’ll be glad you did.

Posted in Madden, Retro Gaming | Leave a Comment »