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Madden NFL 2001 continues the annual EA SPORTS football series and like its predecessors, adds enhancements and new features to an already time-proven simulation. Officially licensed by the National Football League as well as the NFL Coaches Club, the game offers a wide array of optional play modes and setup choices.
Player management, drafting, fantasy leagues, regular season, franchise control, online competition, trading, contract negotiations, post-season changes, exhibitions and great games of the past are just some of the features offered in Madden NFL 2001.
Enhancements include such gameplay actions as a Read-N-React Defense capability that allows linemen and linebackers to read offensive plays and adjust from the line of scrimmage, real-life detailed player-specific accessories (e.g., elbow pads, visors, facemasks, wristbands) and improved AI.
Design changes in AI feature corner coverage logic, better play calling on both offense and defense, open field blocking, and the ability to recognize repeat patterns of offense plays. Signature plays, coaching styles and voices of all NFL Coaching Club members are included in the game as well.
Whether playing online or solo against the computer, every facet of professional football is covered from kicking to instant replays. Customization of nearly aspect of the game is offered and includes settings in three major categories: gameplay, situation and league.
In gameplay, for example, you can adjust options like quarter length, skill level (rookie, pro, all-pro or Madden), momentum, passing and coaching modes, injuries, fatigue, substitution rules, clocks and more than 15 other settings for special teams, defense and penalty frequency.
The situational setting in Exhibition mode, as opposed to normal exhibition games, allows you to customize a game situation. You can set parameters such as away and home team score, what quarter play begins in (even overtime), the time left on the clock, first down distance, the yard marker of the line of scrimmage, time outs and which team has possession.
In terms of league settings, customizable options allow you to choose the number of teams in your franchise (6, 12, 18, 24 or 31), minutes (1-5) per draft pick, fantasy drafting, coach changes, salary caps, trade deadlines, and career statistics.
Gameplay modes feature Exhibition, Situational or Franchise. In the latter, an option is provided to play either straight season or franchise management with the difference being post-season options. In seasonal play, repeat seasons are allowed but rosters don't change through player retirement, contract negotiations and drafting procedures. Franchise mode allows those aspects to be fully realized, along with changing player attributes, and keeps franchise structures fluid and dynamic.
If not playing every game play-by-play, you can option to have the computer simulate games in three ways: one-by-one, all CPU vs. CPU games for a week or all games for a week regardless of whether some are scheduled for user-control. In online franchise play, only the commissioner of the league has the ability to mark games for computer simulation.
Other features of Madden NFL 2001 include fully customizable weather conditions, stadium selections per game, field and sideline details, five resolution choices, color depth, level of player detail (e.g., shadows, accessories, breath), more than a dozen audio options and controller configurations.
The Great Games feature provides 35 of the greatest games ever played in the National Football League, beginning with the 1957 Western Conference playoff between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. These situational scenarios put you in the game with a chance to change or recreate history from a specific offensive or defensive perspective.
Each time you're successful in a Great Games scenario, you receive two secret codes that unlock additional historical teams and stadiums which can then be used during exhibition, franchise or season modes. The 35 games must be played in a specific order and only by winning each scenario will you be allowed to advance to the next one. Winning a scenario also provides you the option of replaying the scenario with control of either team, not just the one dictated by the original scenario challenge.
Multiplayer action for up to four players is supported via LAN and Internet (games are password protected by host) and serial port or modem. So, you're ready for some football? Strap on that helmet, put on the coach's headset and join the fray in Madden NFL 2001. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide