I decided to play as the Miami Dolphins, they were my team as kid. As a newcomer to Madden, this was a mistake – I lost and I lost big. After learning my lesson, I changed teams and spent hours practicing. This is vital when getting to grips with the many options and plays – there are 28 playbooks to choose from.After two hours solid practising, it was time to go and play an exhibition game. I still lost, but by less. Disheartened, I took my sorry team back for more training. This time I tried to master some of the player moves. These include a pump fake when passing, jumping over opponents, spinning, and the all-important stiff arm. All the moves are in real-life motion-captured animation, which makes the game look stunning. Combine this with the great sound effects, and I was starting to feel for my poor quarterback when he was sacked for the third straight play. Especially as the linemen are as fat in Madden as they are in real life. The only difference is these virtual "athletes" don’t need oxygen after 20 seconds of exertion. Before I went back for another punishing beating, I checked out the game’s customization options – they’re almost as extensive as the game-play options. Everything from penalty levels to the weather can be changed. But having done so poorly, I decided allowing other teams to kill my players was a bad idea, and as for trying to contend with snow – coaching suicide.
Even when losing, Madden 2000 is highly enjoyable, and kept me coming back for more. I’m about to embark on a full season. I won’t make the play-offs, but the variation in gameplay, the stunning graphics, and overall feel will keep me entertained for ages. Now, where’s that copy of USA Today, I need to get scouting before the draft comes around – there’s a good chance I’ll get first choice.