Review by seek and destroy

Reviewed: 11/26/02 | Updated: 11/26/02

It's the little things that make this game great

I am a longtime fan of the John Madden Football franchise. I currently own at least one copy from each year of Madden football on NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, N64, PC, PS, PS2, and XBOX. I simply can't get enough. Madden 2003 simply made me love the franchise even more. Why? I'll tell you.

Excellent. Madden 2003 allows you to take any one of the 32 NFL teams and build a powerhouse, or create your own team. So how do you take your team to the top? Do you need a high flying passing attack like the Oakland Raiders or St. Louis Rams? Or do you need an old-school running game like the San Diego Chargers or Chicago Bears? Or maybe you could rely mostly on a smothering defense like the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So which is it? It's all up to you. You get to select what type of offense and defense you want, you get to customize your playbook, and if there's a play you like and you don't see it, just create it yourself. This all goes great with the easy to learn controls and realistic AI.

Like fine wine, they get better each year. Although in many cases you can still tell you are playing a video game, the whole game looks like a real NFL presentation. Many of the players in the game have faces that really represent their real-life counterparts. The players do have huge heads when their helmets are off and the cheerleaders have permanent smiles on their faces and never blink, but other than that, it is very detailed. You can even see individual rain drops hitting the ground.

Great sound. The first thing I have to say is that I love the sound track. In fact, I've ended up downloading a lot of the songs from the Internet so I could listen to them while I'm not playing. The addition of commentary by Al Michaels and the Goddess Melissa Stark are a huge improvement over the sounds of Pat Summerall and Lesley Visser. A lot of player chatter can be heard too. For example, if you are on offense and run a reverse, you might hear a defensive player yell 'REVERSE' to his teammates. And of course, when you drill the QB you get to hear that great crunching sound.

One of the best games on the market period when it comes to extras. Aside from playing regular football games, you can play in a two-minute drill, a customized scenario, and mini-camp drills. During gameplay, you can also earn Madden Cards which offer player powerups, historical players, stadiums, teams, and cheats. Another cool feature is the Madden 101 feature where you can learn the basics of the game if you are new or just want some advice.

This is one of the best things about the game. Not only can you adjust the difficulty, you can also change the rules, give/take away handicaps to the CPU, and adjust in-game settings. If you want, you can make the clock go fast, normal or slow. You can also choose if you want players to become tired as the game goes on. In franchise, you also get to choose how much control you want over the game. From player signings to depth charts and more, you can control every aspect of your team like Bill Parcells, or you could be a regular head coach working under the power-hungry Daniel Snyder.

If you love football, you can't get tired of this game. There is simply so much to do. There are so many ways to play a season too. I got this game in August and still love to play it.

GAMEPLAY = 10.0/10
GRAPHICS = 9.0/10
SOUND = 10.0/10
FEATURES = 10.0/10
DIFFICULTY = 10.0/10
REPLAY VALUE = 10.0/10

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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