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Madden 2005 Package Art
†GENRE
††Sports
†DEVELOPER
††EA Tiburon
†PUBLISHER
††EA Sports
†NUMBER OF PLAYERS
††1-2
†CONNECTIVITY
††No
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Madden 2005

After last yearís title, it was fairly evident that the series just wasnít going anywhere. After a couple of years, it was just a matter of updating the roster and fiddling around with a few different plays. When news broke that Madden 2005 would feature a completely retooled game engine, hope began to rise. Once my hands were finally on this game it was evident that the series has gone places and could easily go more places. This yearís title is a lot better than the ďgoodĒ title that we were given last year. With a few new game modes, better visuals, and faster action, it feels as if this is where the series should have been so many years ago.

visuals

The biggest improvement in this new incarnation is the completely revamped game engine. Itís been retooled from last year and once the game starts, itís easy to notice. The nicely detailed engine gives off a third dimensional feel much better than previous games in the franchise. Additional animations are a nice touch, especially considering the new improvements on the console side of things. There are also several different options available as well. Speaking of which, the interface has been cleaned up a lot and is much better looking and much easier to navigate. Picking your play is just as easy as in the GameCube version. The game also adds a lot more detail to the turf and stadium overall. Overall, this yearís game on the GBA has been improved in a surprising amount of detail. Sometimes itís subtle and you probably wouldnít notice if you havenít played last yearís version. The new engine provides a much faster, more intense game of pigskin.

audio

Honestly, if I hear ďBoom! Thatís how football is supposed to be played!Ē one more timeÖ I think I may be the one going boom, and not in a good way. As in the console version, there is commentary on the GBA. Although sparse and lacking a lot of detail, for obvious reasons, itís still annoying and forces you to turn down the volume. Thankfully, thereís a lot more regarding the audio stylings of Madden 2005.

One of the things that may catch your ear upon booting up the game is the music on the main menu as you navigate through the options available. Unfortunately, itís only a verse thatís recycled over and over again, but itís still impressive especially considering the quality.

The sound effects are just as good as they ever are. Even though youíre seeing pixilated representations of your favorite (or least favorite) players, it still makes you cringe just a bit when they get crunched. Most of the time, you may want to turn down the volume and play some music, just like in most every other GBA title.

gameplay

The meat and potatoes in Madden 2005 are the Season and Play Now modes. These are where youíll experience the most action in the game. With Play Now, youíll just pick two teams to tangle and play through a simple one shot game, easy as pie. With Season, youíll select a team, or a number of teams, in order to progress through the 16-game 2004-2005 NFL season with accurate team schedules. Youíll then move onto the playoffs and finally become the NFL Champion. This yearís rendition of the Season gameplay has been changed and modified considerably. Although it isnít as in-depth as the consoleís Franchise mode, it still has heart. In this title, you can view and modify rosters, just as you could in other past years. However, you can also trade players and sign free agents in order to beef up your team. Youíll also be able to check your teamís stats and the entire season statistics. This includes your teamís standings and rankings. You also have the ability to check injury reports, customize settings such as AI, penalties, and general gameplay like quarter length. Your star player can even become Maddenís Horse Trailer Player of the Week. Howís that for improvements?

Speaking of improvements, it was mentioned earlier that this incarnation has included three new gameplay modes. Now, while they arenít necessarily as in-depth and detailed as the Season mode, it is still commendable that theyíve included these modes since the franchise was lacking the depth on the GBA. Starting with Two-Minute Drill, your goal in this mode is to rack up as many points offensively as possible. Scoring touchdowns and kicking field goals will earn you points, but so will gaining yards by running or passing as well as converting. Moving on to Practice Mode, there really isnít much to this at all. Itís the usual practice settings that allow you to check out the playbook and get used to the plays. Whatís nice is that you can practice with or without the defense, just so you can get the right feel. Finally, thereís Situation Mode, which is really the most interesting addition. You can fully customize any given game and create dramatic situations. Thereís not much to it, but you can customize everything from what quarter is being played to yardage, to whoís controlling the ball, to how many time-outs each team has. Itís fun and there is a lot of harrowing football tales to recreate.

The Madden Challenge debuts this year on the Game Boy Advance, as does the Madden Cards. By completing certain in-game challenges, you can earn tokens which you can use to purchase a pack of Madden Cards to collect. These are special cards that give you certain boosts to certain players when theyíre activated. Most of the time theyíll add minor stat improvements while other, more rare cards, can increase the playersí performance by a truck load. Challenges range from kicking a 50-yard punt to returning a fumble for a touchdown. It can be tricky to achieve all of the challenges in one season, but itís certainly possible.

multiplayer

What football game wouldnít be complete without multiplayer? You can link up with a friend and play a quick game of football with each other. Itís as easy as linking up, turning on the power and selecting the Link feature on the first screen of the main menu. Itís fun, especially for slow days, or even at a game. Otherwise, you may want to spend your time with the console version if youíre at home.

overall

Madden 2005 is an excellent example of how a game can improve within a yearís time. EA Tiburon has done an excellent job on this title, just as they did with the console version. The additional game modes, new game engine, and great new interface make this game so much better than last yearís. It still isnít up to par with the console version, but saying that is like comparing Sprite to Jolt Cola. You just canít compare goodness with godliness. When all is said and done, it should be said that if you just canít get enough football, or Madden football for that matter, you should definitely pick this title up for your portable fix. Otherwise, you may want to make a quick judgment call and wait this one out if you arenít a big fan of the sport. After all, there are plenty of more titles to get your attention. Football fans will definitely get a kick out of this title, though, and it is certainly worth their dime.

final score 8.3/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Austin Starr
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"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"


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