John Madden is one of the legendary figures in National Football League history. It only makes sense that some of the best NFL video games ever created bear his name. Madden NFL 2001 is no exception. The EA SPORTS team put together an outstanding game in the 2001 Madden incarnation.
The graphics, sound, and action are all well above standard in Madden NFL 2001 with only a few minor flaws in each category. Madden NFL 2001 is not perfect but it is close. Graphically, Madden NFL 2001 is superb. Characters are amazingly detailed, animation is fluid and the camera follows the action well. Some catches and tackles are jerky but those glitches are rare.
Of course, gamers with 3D accelerators will normally have much better visuals then those with standard video cards. I had some problems turning off 3D acceleration as my machine kept crashing when I tried to utilize that option; thus I could not make a good comparison between the accelerated and software rendered graphics.
Every North American NFL stadium looks great, along with those from NFL Europe. There is a definite difference between turf and grass and there are even a few realistic characters on the sidelines. The crowd is flat, however, and robs Madden NFL 2001 of a tiny bit of realism.
The game's soundtrack is quite good. The standard NFL music, full of brass and drums, is featured along with some hip-hop sounds created specifically for the game. Grunts and tackle noises are good in the game, although at times players' screams seem a bit overdone.
Fox Sports' James Brown, Lesley Visser, Pat Summerall and Madden himself all have several voice characterizations before, during and after games. NFL coaches also lend their voices to the game, making standard gripes after players commit penalty violations.
While the voice spots are more detailed than in previous Madden games, they are very repetitive. There are two or three standard introductions for games and the same number of halftime reports. Madden and Summerall are in the booth and although they do have more than a dozen phrases to use in games, gamers will quickly memorize every utterance.
Madden NFL 2001's action is spectacular in every play mode. The game's creators did a good job with the AI to make sure that one play will not win every game. While I found myself passing far more than I rushed, I had to mix it up or the computer defense would shut me down. I played several franchise seasons and always seemed to lose simulated games. I like the idea of a franchise but do not have time to play 80 games (each Madden NFL 2001 game lasts well over a half an hour).
A large disappointment was the inability to use the Madden NFL 2001's play editor; unfortunately, the game repeatedly shut down when I attempted to utilize it. I did manage to get it to work once but the play I designed disappeared and was not in my team's custom playbook. After two reinstalls, the play editor still didn't work and I gave up trying. I assume the glitch to be in the software but the game's online updates did not resolve the problem (as of September 2000).
I had my best experiences with Madden NFL 2001 when I played online against other players on the EA SPORTS server. Even at a sub-56K connection, the action was very smooth and rarely were any lock-ups encountered. More importantly, there were always more than enough opponents online for a game.
I did find that some online gamers had customized super-players and were very tough to beat. Watch out for those folks, especially if they are using NFL Europe teams! Overall, Madden NFL 2001 is a great game that perpetuates the tradition of quality games with the Madden nameplate. If you like football, you will love this game.
Graphics: Madden NFL 2001 features stunning graphics and smooth animation. Even multiplayer Internet games are devoid of lock-ups and freezes.
Sound: The sound quality is good but the quantity of effects and voice characterizations is a bit low.
Enjoyment: This Madden game features a few glitches but is supreme fun nonetheless. Football fans will be instantly addicted.
Replay Value: Franchise mode and online play are two great reasons to keep the game on your hard drive.
People who downloaded Madden NFL 2001 have also downloaded:
Madden NFL 2004, Madden NFL 2000, Madden NFL 2005, Madden NFL 06, Madden NFL 07, Madden NFL 97, Madden Football: Limited Edition, MVP Baseball 2005
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