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MiniCamp FAQ by ADeadSmitty
Version: 1.1 | Updated: 08/28/2003
============================================================================== Madden 2004 MiniCamp FAQ 1.1 8/28/03 by ADeadSmitty ============================================================================== ------------------------- CONTENTS: 1. DB - SWAT BALL 2. RB - GROUND ATTACK 3. DL - TRENCH FIGHT 4. P - COFFIN CORNER PUNT 5. LB - CHASE AND TACKLE 6. QB - POCKET PRESENCE 7. K - CLUTCH KICKING 8. QB - PRECISION PASSING ------------------------- -------------------- HURRAY FOR MINICAMP: -------------------- The 2003 edition of Madden was the first to include MiniCamp, which is a series of remarkably fun football-practice minigames. Or side quests, for the RPG fan. Although the 2004 edition now allows you to use MiniCamp to improve your players' attributes, and to play MiniCamp games online and compare scores, the actual mechanics of the games themselves aren't much different. But there are a few differences, so this FAQ refers to the 2004 edition, as it's the most recent. This FAQ goes through each MiniCamp drill and discusses some strategies for each one. They're not in any particular order. This FAQ should be good for any version of the game. I'm playing it on PC, but I'll refer to the PS2 controls for the sake of universal applicability, since PC controls vary widely. Go Dolphins. -------------- PRELIMINARIES: -------------- The author of this FAQ is me, ADeadSmitty. Please don't copy it, don't steal from it, don't plagiarize it, don't add to, subtract from, or edit it, don't link to it, don't excerpt from it and don't host it without my permission. This is my first FAQ, so I welcome not only additions and corrections, but also general feedback on my FAQ-writing. So by all means email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reader contributions are all credited as they appear. Thanks to all who care enough about MiniCamp to send me email about it. ---------------- VERSION HISTORY: ---------------- 8/28/03: Finished v. 1.1: Many stylistic and substantive revisions, as well as the inclusion of some reader contributions. 8/24/03: Finished v. 1.00! ================= 1. DB - SWAT BALL ================= A passing machine fires 20 balls at one of several stationary targets, indicating the target just before the release. Your job is to knock down or preferably intercept as many as possible. Rookie: HOU CB #31 Aaron Glenn (3 targets) Pro: NYG CB #25 Will Allen (4 targets) All-Pro: WAS CB #24 Champ Bailey (5 targets) All-Madden: MIA CB #29 Sam Madison (5 targets) Scoring: 10 points for the first pass defensed in succession. 20 points for the second pass defensed in succession. 30 points for the third pass defensed in succession. 40 points for the fourth and all subsequent passes defensed in succession. Double points for an interception. Trophies: Bronze Silver Gold Rookie: 300 600 900 Pro: 300 575 800 All-Pro: 300 525 725 All-Madden: 300 500 600 The ideal technique for this drill is: See the target of the next pass. Run towards said target holding the sprint button (circle). Make sure you get your weight moving in the direction of the target BEFORE you apply the sprint button because players change direction verrrrry slowly when sprinting. About two or three steps from the target, apply the strafe button (R1). This will slow you down but will also get you to face the ball. When the ball gets there, intercept it (triangle). The other good reason to strafe, besides increasing your chances for an INT, is that it keeps your momentum from carrying you far astray, which would make it hard to get to the next ball. But the above is just an ideal. In many cases, you won't have time to face up before the ball gets there -- you'll just need to all-out sprint the whole way. In this case, you'll have to make the decision on whether to try for the interception on a case-by-case basis. In general though, if you're running toward the throwing machine, or straight across to one side, and you're going to get there at least at about the same time as the ball, go for the INT. But if you're running away from the camera to chase a ball thrown over your head, or if it looks like you might be a step late reaching the target, try to swat the ball down instead (L1). For one thing, over-the-shoulder interception attempts are very low-percentage plays and usually result in shameful, dishonorable failure. Also, some of the ball-swatting moves can help you make up ground quickly at the last second as you lunge at the ball with one hand. The interception moves don't seem to give much of a sudden boost, as they did in Madden 2003. FINAL NOTES: 1. Don't dive. It doesn't help and it takes way too long to get back up. There once was a time in football video-game history when diving on defense was a good play. No longer. Don't do it. 2. The throwing machine randomly throws either a lob or a bullet. Of course, the lob is always the most helpful, particularly when throwing at distant targets where the difference in "hang time" is greatest. The lob should bias you toward going for the INT, the bullet toward the swat-down. 3. You'll probably find, on the higher difficulty levels, that depending on the direction of your initial momentum and the pattern of the computer's target choices, some balls are just plain impossible to get to. I agree. Sucks. ===================== 2. RB - GROUND ATTACK ===================== Take the handoff/pitch and use your fullback, blocking dummies, and God-given athletic ability to pick up as many yards and touchdowns as you can in one minute. Rookie: CAR HB #48 Stephen Davis (2 defenders) Pro: CIN HB #28 Corey Dillon (3 defenders) All-Pro: STL HB #28 Marshall Faulk (3 defenders) All-Madden: KC HB #31 Priest Holmes (4 defenders) Scoring: 10 points per yard gained. 10-point penalty per yard lost. 100-point bonus for each touchdown. Online only: 100-point penalty for each fumble. Online only: 100-point bonus for each tackle broken. Trophies: Bronze Silver Gold Rookie: 800 1400 2200 Pro: 750 1300 1900 All-Pro: 700 1100 1500 All-Madden: 600 900 1200 Before each play, you'll be shown where the play is designed to go: in the center-guard gap, the guard-tackle gap, off-tackle, or around the outside. You don't need to follow the path exactly, but that's where your fullback is going, so you should probably at least follow him until he puts a hat on a defender for you. The fullback usually handles one defender at most, so the rest is up to you. You've got the full complement of Madden moves at your disposal -- stiff-arms, jukes, hurdles, spins, dives, and of course, pure speed. Don't sprint (X) until you're more or less facing the direction you want to go, or else you'll corner like an 18-wheel truck. The stiff-arm (L2/R2) is a high-percentage move that also gives a broken tackle bonus if successful. If you're about to use the stiff-arm with the arm that's holding the ball, hit it a little earlier to give yourself time to switch ball-carrying hands. Note that a successful stiff-arm will leave you going in the same direction for a few yards, so be careful not to stiff-arm your way out of bounds while moving laterally. Also, the stiff-arm only works against defenders that approach you from the side. The juke (L1/R1) works well and is preferable to the stiff-arm when a defender approaches from directly in front. I find that if you're moving right, juking left is more effective, and the same with the directions switched. The spin (circle) has a similar action to the juke in that it suddenly stops your lateral movement, allowing you to cut back, but it cuts into your momentum more than the juke. Don't rule out just sprinting into a defender though. You can and will break tackles with sheer brute force. FINAL NOTES: 1. Broken tackle bonuses are awarded only for situations in which you actually make contact with the defender but break free anyway. So the stiff-arm gives a bonus as does just plain bulldozing a guy; but not juking a guy out of his shoes or spinning around him. 2. Dive for the end zone. This significantly increases the risk of fumbling but having to line up and take it in from the one-yard line is such a waste of precious time that it's worth it. 3. In fact, don't worry about fumbling. It's true that getting hit while sprinting increases your chance of fumbling, but you certainly won't get anywhere by just buttoning up and taking the hit. 4. Hurdling (triangle) isn't too useful, since there aren't many players strewn around the field for you to jump over as there might be in a full-on game. 5. Looking for your quarterback to swing around and throw a block when you switch fields? Don't. He'll just stand there looking stupid while you get mauled even if he's in a position to throw a key block for you. 6. I wrote above that you only get penalized for fumbling online. Actually, I believe (but I'm not positive) that you can't fumble at all in the offline MiniCamp. At least, I wasn't able to induce one in about an hour of trying. If someone knows about this, please email me. [Kevin Byrnes says: "To answer the only question in your faq, you CAN fumble in the offline ground attack drill. But it happens so infrequently, it's not even worth considering." Thanks, Kevin."] 7. Just as in a real game, the clock stops between plays if you score a TD or if you go out of bounds, but not if you get tackled in bounds. ==================== 3. DL - TRENCH FIGHT ==================== Advance down the field, defeating blocks to grab a series of flags as quickly as possible. Rookie: CLE DE #92 Courtney Brown (3 checkpoints: 1 OL each) Pro: TEN DE #90 Jevon Kearse (4 checkpoints: 1 OL, 1 OL, 2 OL, 1 OL) All-Pro: NO DE #93 Darren Howard (5 checkpoints: 2 OL, 1 OL, 2 OL+1 RB, 1 OL, 2 OL) All-Madden: TB DE #97 Simeon Rice (6 check points: 1 OL, 3 OL, 1 OL+1RB, 1 OL+1 RB, 3 OL, 1 OL) Trophies: Bronze Silver Gold Rookie: 13.00 9.25s 7.75s Pro: 18.50s 13.75s 10.75s All-Pro: 28.00s 23.25s 19.50s All-Madden: 45.00s 36.00s 29.75s You've got three moves at your disposal. The most basic (but most useful) is the shove. Just press the sprint button (circle) when you're locked in that arm tussle with an OL to try and knock him straight back. In the best-case scenario, this knocks the blocker flat on his back. Second-best, you gain a little ground in the tussle. Worst-case, you get nothing. Use the shove when you're being held up just barely short of the flag, since the other moves cause you to change direction, and even if the shove doesn't pancake the other guy, it'll probably be enough to get you those last six inches. The shove also works really well when you build up a big head of steam and just crash into a guy (so, for example, not on the first checkpoint), because it gives a good chance of knocking the other guy flat. You should always sprint straight from one checkpoint to the next not only to save time, but to see if you can put one blocker out of the picture right away. You've also got a rip move (L1/R1) that throws blockers to the side. This is a good alternative to the spin because it keeps you facing more or less the same direction. But the spin (L2/R2) is pretty effective as a last resort. Just don't let yourself go way astray spinning. Many times you can actually run around the blockers to the flag, or at least to a spot close to the flag. This is worth exploring, particularly on checkpoints in higher difficulty levels that have 3 blockers each. FINAL NOTES: 1. Don't go backwards. If you knock a guy down, but then in the course of battling the next guy you circle back and allow the first guy back in the fight, you're not being efficient. 2. Know your enemy. The shove is more likely to work against smaller guys, especially the RBs that show up in the higher levels. So shove the little guys, and maybe don't waste time with that against mammoth OTs. ========================= 4. P - COFFIN CORNER PUNT ========================= Pin the imaginary opponent deep by landing six punts in either corner of the field. Rookie: DET P #19 John Jett Pro: JAX P #2 Chris Hanson All-Pro: NYJ P #6 Dan Stryzinski All-Madden: ARI P #10 Scott Player Scoring: 50 points for landing in the yellow area. 100 points for landing in the orange area. 200 points for landing in the red area. Online only: Variable bonus for each area, increasing with proximity to the front pylon. Trophies: Bronze Silver Gold Rookie 250 650 900 Pro 250 600 800 All-Pro 250 500 700 All-Madden 250 375 500 There's not much strategy here. Just kick the ball toward either corner. The less power you put into the kick, the more slowly the kick meter moves, which makes life easier for you. So kick with the wind, or to the short side of the field, to conserve power. Just don't kick against the wind to the wide side. Kicking line drives reduces hang time, which reduces the effect of wind -- a good thing. At high difficulty, you're far away, the scoring zones are tiny, the wind is fierce, the meter moves very fast, and the slightest misstep on the last button press (X by the way) will send your ball careening way off to the side. FINAL NOTES: 1. This drill doesn't quite simulate punting because it marks your ball where it lands, regardless of what happens on the bounce. So if you land in the red but bounce into the end zone, you get a bull's eye, but if you land on the one-yard line outside the scoring zone and it takes a lucky sideways bounce and it dies on the three, you get nothing. I guess it balances out, roughly. 2. You might think a cheap way to achieve a weird sort of consistent accuracy would be to skip the third button press (X) every time and let the meter go all the way to the right. You'd be wrong. If you let it go all the way to the right without pressing anything, it puts a hook or slice of random direction and magnitude on your ball, not a severe, consistent leftward swerve. This also applies to the kicking drill. ======================== 5. LB - CHASE AND TACKLE ======================== Stop the offense's running game. Rookie: PIT LB #55 Joey Porter (no fullback) Pro: SD LB #57 Zeke Moreno (no fullback) All-Pro: CHI LB #54 Brian Urlacher (with fullback) All-Madden: BAL LB #52 Ray Lewis (with fullback) Scoring: 10 points for each yard short of the end zone the running back is tackled, if the computer-controlled player makes the tackle. 20 points for each yard short of the end zone the running back is tackled, if the user-controlled player makes the tackle. 100-point bonus for forcing a fumble. 250-point penalty for allowing a touchdown. Trophies: Bronze Silver Gold Rookie 800 1475 2000 Pro 1000 1725 2250 All-Pro 650 1100 1500 All-Madden 650 1100 1500 You'll want to stay in control of the linebacker, since he's the one who'll stick his nose in first. Use proper football technique -- strafe (R1) sideways, scraping off possible running gaps as you go until you identify the runner's path. If you meet the fullback, you can use the same spin, rip, or shove moves available in the DL drill, but you better hurry, because it won't be long before the RB zooms right past you. The computer's favorite move is to run laterally, then cut back with a spin or juke. It behooves you not to overpursue when sprinting sideways. Taking the right angle against outside runs does take some practice, though. Your fellow computer-controlled defenders are pretty good tacklers also, so if the RB's only got one guy left to beat, you might consider letting the computer handle it and forgoing the user tackle bonus. There's also a technique for this drill which borders on cheating. You can take your linebacker straight through the center-guard gap right after the snap, which will help you very often avoid the fullback entirely and meet the halfback just as he takes the handoff. In fact, if you're quick you can rack up fumble bonuses by disrupting the exchange. The downside to this strategy is that by shooting through the gap, the linebacker takes himself out of the play if it happens to be a toss. You then have to handle the situation with a safety alone. So it's not necessarily a game-busting trick, but something you might want to experiment with. [Kenneth Young says: "With my experience with Chase and Tackle(nine seasons so far and getting 7 ratings points almost every year), it is most beneficial to wait for the fullback to hit the line of scrimmage while you drift to the path of the ball carrier before engaging and getting the tackle outside of the 10." Thanks, Kenneth.] FINAL NOTES: 1. You can get cheap user tackle bonuses by taking control of your computer- controlled teammate just before he makes contact with the ball carrier. 2. Strip the ball (L2/R2). Fumbles give bonus points. 3. Although Rookie and Pro levels are tons easier without the fullback, you do face two pretty good running backs: Jerome Bettis and LaDainian Tomlinson. ======================= 6. QB - POCKET PRESENCE ======================= Hang in the pocket as you avoid the tennis balls being shot at you and throw to the designated target. Rookie: GB QB #4 Brett Favre (3 targets) Pro: PHI QB #5 Donovan McNabb (4 targets) All-Pro: OAK QB #12 Rich Gannon (5 targets) All-Madden: IND QB #19 Peyton Manning (5 targets) Scoring: 25 points for the first target hit in succession. 50 points for the second target hit in succession. 75 points for the third target hit in succession. 100 points for the fourth and all subsequent targets hit in succession. 10-point penalty for throwing to the wrong target. 10-point penalty for throwing to any target when none is indicated. 25-point penalty for being hit by a tennis ball. Variable penalty for leaving the pocket. Trophies: Bronze Silver Gold Rookie: 900 1200 1400 Pro: 800 1100 1325 All-Pro: 600 850 1100 All-Madden: 450 675 950 The trick to this is to develop your peripheral vision; you'll need to either focus on the tennis balls coming at you and pick up the receivers peripherally or vice versa. I find it easier to focus on the receivers since each of them for me on PC is just a button number -- they're too fuzzy if I focus on the tennis balls. But you may find it easier and more effective to focus on the tennis balls if, for example, you're playing on PS2 where the symbols for each receiver have colors associated with them. You don't need to be an absolutist about staying in the pocket. Once you get the warning for having left the pocket, you've got about one second until it deducts 25 points from your score. If you stay outside the pocket, you'll get assessed 25-point deductions at a quickening pace until, on the fifth deduction, you automatically fail. Note that if you get five deductions and fail this way, you DO NOT get credit for your score, even if it's above the threshold for one of the trophies. So you don't want to get caught hanging outside the pocket for too long. But that doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't take a step or two outside when it's convenient. You don't need to juke the tennis balls as they come at you. Just one good step out of the path of the ball should be enough. Keep in mind you need time to actually throw the ball once you press the button. FINAL NOTES: 1. In the 2003 edition, you had a small amount of time to spend outside of the pocket before failure struck, just as in this year's edition. But the 2003 edition did not deduct points for time spent out of the pocket short of total failure, and if the player threw any pass from outside the pocket at any time, the drill ended in shameful failure. 2. Note that accuracy doesn't matter. All you have to do is get the pass off to the targeted receiver -- you're not responsible if it's way off the mark. This means you should feel free to throw while on the run or off your back foot -- and on the higher difficulty levels you'll probably have to do so. ===================== 7. K - CLUTCH KICKING ===================== You've got one minute to kick as many field goals as close to the center of the field goal posts as possible. Rookie: DAL K #3 Bill Cundiff Pro: ATL K #4 Jay Feely All-Pro: DEN K #1 Jason Elam All-Madden: NE K #4 Adam Vinatieri Scoring: 75 points for hitting the yellow area. 150 points for hitting the orange area. 300 points for hitting the red area. Online only: Bonuses awarded for each area, increasing with proximity to the center. Trophies: Bronze Silver Gold Rookie: 900 1500 2200 Pro: 900 1500 2200 All-Pro: 900 1500 2100 All-Madden: 900 1500 2100 You'll either be on the left hash, the right hash, or smack in the center. But regardless of where you're set up, the direction arrow will always be facing straight ahead. So if you're right in the middle you can just go ahead and boot it without any changes in direction, barring gale-force winds. But if you're on the hash mark, you'll probably have to make some adjustments. The wind direction and strength takes a frustrating second or two to appear once the drill starts. But once it appears, it doesn't change during the drill, so don't waste time checking it once you've seen it. Try kicking line drives. Kickers in real games avoid it because it makes kicks easier to block, but you don't need to worry about that in this drill. As in the punting drill, a line drive has less time to be affected by the wind. Plus, in this drill, it has the added benefit of getting through the goalposts faster, which might save you enough time for an extra kick or two at the end. FINAL NOTES: 1. To get that last kick in, you need to hit the third button press (X) before the timer hits 0.00 to get it off. If you do, you'll get it in even if your foot doesn't actually hit the ball until after time runs out. 2. You might think a cheap way to achieve a weird sort of consistent accuracy would be to skip the third button press (X) every time and let the meter go all the way to the right. You'd be wrong. If you let it go all the way to the right without pressing anything, it puts a hook or slice of random direction and magnitude on your ball, not a severe, consistent leftward swerve. This also applies to the punting drill. ========================= 8. QB - PRECISION PASSING ========================= Time your passes so they fly through the rings on the way to the receivers. Rookie: SEA QB #8 Matt Hasselbeck (3 receivers) Pro: MIN QB #11 Daunte Culpepper (3 receivers) All-Pro: BUF QB #11 Drew Bledsoe (4 receivers) All-Madden: SF QB #5 Jeff Garcia (5 receivers) Scoring: 25 points for throwing the ball through a bronze-colored ring. 50 points for throwing the ball through a silver-colored ring. 75 points for throwing the ball through a gold-colored ring. 20-point bonus if the receiver catches the ball. Variable bonus for user control of a reception. Variable "turn bonus" if all rings are completed in less than six attempts. Trophies: Bronze Silver Gold Rookie: 500 750 1000 Pro: 500 750 1000 All-Pro: 500 750 1000 All-Madden: 500 750 1000 The timing of the release is the most important component of this drill; the velocity of the pass is the second-most important. On the comeback routes, throw a bullet just as the receiver is decelerating to a stop to then turn around. On the out routes, make sure the receiver is actually moving to the side before you throw a bullet. On the slant and cross routes, you'll want to throw it maybe two or three steps before the receiver crosses the line determined by the quarterback and the ring. The flag and the go routes are the toughest. These are the routes that most strongly suggest lobbing the ball, but even here you might find a bullet pass a little easier to control. [Kenneth Young says: "A little tip for Precision Passing: The corner route ran by the slot receiver is easily completed if you throw a bullet right after you visually see them head directly toward the ring. They should catch the ball about two yards after the ball passes through the ring." Thanks, Kenneth.] FINAL NOTES: 1. Some of the rings, particularly on some of the shorter comeback routes, seem way off the mark to me. You may find that it helps to move your quarterback around the backfield to create more favorable passing angles. 2. If you come under intense pressure, throw the ball away (triangle).