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Madden NFL 2000 tackles the PlayStation with a number of new features designed to improve upon the groundwork established in 1998's Madden NFL 99. Besides offering 31 NFL teams (including the Cleveland Browns), authentic players with ratings based on the 1998 season and 31 official stadiums, the fourth game in the PlayStation series expands the coaching features to go along with 1998's Season, Franchise, Tournament, Practice and Exhibition play modes.
This means you'll be able to create your own plays from scratch, test them out in the Practice mode and add them to your favorite NFL team. In addition, you can create your own camera angles, rearrange each team's depth charts and select twelve audibles (six on offense and six on defense) in order to change plays at the line of scrimmage.
New to the game are two features designed to increase the replay value: Madden Challenge and Situation. Situation involves creating the perfect game situation to test your abilities on offense, defense or both. Players will be able to select the teams, field position, score, time left on the clock and even the amount of timeouts left for each side. You then try to win the game!
Players can also step into a game already in progress (ten of the NFL's greatest games) as they attempt to string together enough plays to carry their team to victory. Madden Challenge is not a game mode per se, but rather an option that can be set before each contest. After this feature has been activated, answering one of 200 trivia questions or completing one of 100 specific plays (such as completing a 30-yard pass) will earn you points.
Once you have accumulated a certain number of points over a series of games, you'll be awarded a code that can be used to change some of the features or add to the total number of available teams. There is a catch, however. Players will have to perform at the All-Madden difficulty level if they want to receive the maximum point value for each play. Don't worry, you can see exactly how many of these milestones you need to achieve by going into the Madden Challenge menu before each game.
Regardless of whether you decide to play with the Madden Challenge on or off, Season mode involves taking one team through a 16-game schedule with the goal of reaching the Super Bowl. Statistics from your team, players and league can all be saved to a memory card, and a new schedule will be generated at the end of each season. Franchise mode allows you the opportunity to continue these seasons over and over again as you attempt to build a franchise that stands the test of time.
Football fans can play up to 30 seasons consecutively, but after each season they'll have to make trades, re-sign players, replace retired athletes through the four-round rookie draft or sign free agents (who must fit under the salary cap). Of course, just because you draft a rookie doesn't mean he'll want to play for your team. You'll have to make him a suitable offer before he'll sign the contract! For those owning NCAA Football 2000, created college players can also be drafted as long as they have been saved to memory card. You even have the option of creating up to 24 players of your own if you find the current crop of free agents lacking.
The two remaining game modes are Tournament and Practice. Each tournament consists of either eight or sixteen teams in a single-elimination format. Players can also participate in a 48-round Fantasy Draft to fill their tournament with custom teams. Last but not least is a Practice mode that has you selecting a team, one of 31 NFL playbooks, and whether or not you're playing as the offense, defense or special teams unit.
Madden NFL 2000 also features your choice of traditional or Arcade style of play, four difficulty levels, adjustable quarter lengths from one to fifteen minutes and a tutorial option that offers hints and tips during single-player contests. In addition, the One-Button Mode has returned from 1998's game to make things easier for novices (the X button controls all moves). No matter which mode or option you decide on, the goal is the same: to bring home the coveted Lombardi Trophy to your favorite city! ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide