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Madden 2002

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Sports
Media: Cart/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Sports

Graphics & Sound:

Handheld systems are usually overlooked in the sports department, but with the popularity and name power of Madden behind it, could Madden 2002 for the Game Boy Color be the surprise that sports fans on the go are looking for?

While it of course isn't up to the graphical standard of its PS2 counterpart, Madden 2002 for the Game Boy Color is nonetheless impressive in its own right. Most notably, the grass texture is very detailed with at least three colors in it. All of the character models are the same, but they feature different team colors and are very clean and clear. I also enjoyed the referee animations that appear in the top half of the screen after calls. Also there are little victory animations for touchdowns, field goals, 2-point conversions, and first downs. Of course, when you fire up the game, you are greeted by the familiar EA logo followed by a picture of John Madden for the menu, both of which look great. Overall Madden 2002 is a very clean looking game and it is one of the only games that looks good in the widescreen mode on Game Boy Advance.

The sound of Madden 2002 can be both great and lackluster at the same time. The music for the menus is good when you listen to it, but is forgettable. That's the only time that you hear music. Durring the actual game, there isn't any crowd noise like in other sports games, and I know that usually there isn't a soundtrack playing during a football game, but I think that in this case it could have worked. One of the best parts of Madden 2002's sound are the voice overs. There are ref calls and audibles on the plays that actually sound great considering the game is on the Game Boy Color. Even better is the fact that Madden himself didn't do commentary for the game. Granted, nobody did commentary for Madden 2002's, but like mom always said - 'Having no commentary is better than having Madden commentary. Now go and be a good little football player and eat your Campbell's Chunky soup.'


Gameplay:

The gameplay in Madden 2002 is broken down into Exhibition, Two Player, and Season modes. Exhibition is your standard quick game where you select a team and play one game against the computer. Two Player works the same way sans the computer. If you are familiar to Madden 2002 or NCAA Football 2002 for the PlayStation 2, you know how the Season mode works. Simply put, you try to be the best in the league by winning all of the games in a simulated season consisting of 17 games plus the playoffs. One of the things that makes Season Mode so deep is the fact that you can trade players. This adds room to improve your team by using better players.

Games are played from the quarterback position coming out of the snap and once you make a pass, you get to take control of that player. This is obviously is the best system because I doubt the computer could get the job done correctly. When in the quarterback position, you have only two pass option plays because of the two button setup of the Game Boy Color. It would have been nice to have four pass options, but I don't know if it could have been pulled off considering. Even though there are a ton of team specific plays, I found that the running game was lacking. Considering that there are all of those passing plays, it is disappointing that there aren't more running plays to make the game more balanced.


Difficulty:

Just like the playbook, I found Madden 2002's difficulty level to be equally unbalanced. Most of the time, the computer put up a good challenge, but when playing defense, I found blitzing to be way too easy. Usually I could get a sack on about one in every four plays, but I was amazed when I realized that I had blocked every field goal on the first game that I played. If you ever have even heard the word football, you know that it is a true rarity for a field goal to be blocked. Other than that fatal flaw, Madden 2002 was a good challenge with a fair share of wins and losses. Fortunately, the controls worked smooth and weren't a difficulty themselves, which is always a treat.

Game Mechanics:

Madden 2002 for the Game Boy Color has to be the fastest loading Madden game in the series. Well...it is on a cartridge, so close your jaw. All joking aside, Madden 2002 is a mechanically sound game, but the biggest problem I have is a big one. Instead of saving the Season Mode to the game pack, Madden 2002 relies on a 12 letter password. The Legend of Zelda used a battery backup and that game came out 15 years ago. All I ask is that developers use game technology that is at least from the Reagan administration.

What Guys thinks: I must admit that I went into this game with a jaded viewpoint. First off, I usually pass on most sports games, especially football. Second, I am very particular about my handheld games - I only own about four games total. With this against it, I'm agasp at how much I like this game. Congratulations John Madden, you have earned a place in my pocket.


-Joe Guys, GameVortex Communications
AKA Joe Labani

Nintendo GameBoy Advance Tetris Worlds Sony PlayStation 2 Arctic Thunder

 
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