Over the years, the Madden
franchise has developed into the #1 football game on any
system, and there is good reason why. Not only is the gameplay itself top-notch as always, but there are so many options and tweaks that I couldn't possibly list them all. To start, you can now take the field as the newest inclusion to the NFL, the Houston Texans. Take on the computer or a friend or three in Exhibition, Season, or Franchise. Or maybe you would rather set up your own Custom League for 4-8 players. How about a single- or double-elimination Tournament? And when you start to struggle with your favorite team, whip 'em into shape with the Team Practice, Situation, or 2-Minute Drill Modes.
The inception of Madden Cards has improved replayability greatly, and they are again included in Madden 2002. This time, they also include cheerleaders! Madden's simple, yet effective play-calling scheme is once again back too. Another new addition, however, is that the kicking meter got revamped, and it makes kicking all that more difficult. First you choose your direction by pressing the button on a moving target, then pressing again determines your power... and it moves fast! Timing is key.
Did I mention that newly included in Madden NFL 2002 is Madden Classic? If you're like me and remember the good old days of 16-bit football, you'll get a huge blast from the past when you maneuver your players sluggishly around the field in an effort to kick your buddy's butt. The best part is that this new mode features all of the current rosters, while the skin is still the same old John Madden Football we grew up with. Okay, after playing Madden Classic, I can see how Madden NFL 2002's sounds are a bit more improved... but still pretty lame.
Madden NFL 2002 continues to deliver the best gameplay available in a football game today. There is a good balance of running vs. passing, and gameplay is kept fast and furious. Every play matters. Playing Madden on the N64 feels a bit weird to me with the controller setup, but when you step back and look at it, the controller functions are in the best places they can be. With a little practice and perseverance, it's easy to overcome and you'll be marching down the gridiron carrying your opponent on your back.