Monday, March 2, 2009

John Madden Duo CD Football

Electronic Arts / Hudson Soft / TTI
Super CD-ROM

Boasting expansive playbooks and impressive production elements; promising strategic, realistic gameplay; and buoyed by a significant amount of media hype, EA's Madden games were huge hits and major system sellers for Sega's Genesis. The Turbo's fate had long since been decided by the time it was tossed a bone in the form of Duo CD Football. While I was one of the few who had stuck with the floundering system, I hadn't lamented the lack of a Madden TG entry and didn't care a great deal when one finally came down the pike, as I'd always felt the strategic elements of the series were overstated, and the manner in which the virtual players tended to pinball off each other never seemed particularly realistic. I preferred Tecmo Super Bowl for its focus on stats, its high-speed gameplay, and its "toss the clipboard out the window and just have fun" attitude. Still, I couldn't deny that it was nice to have a Turbo-based alternative to the hardly wonderful TV Sports Football.

This is my favorite of the classic-style Madden games for two reasons: Visually, it's very colorful and smooth (just as a Duo rendition of a game should be); and passing is handled extremely well (as the omission of the series's trademark receiver-following windows means you get a nice, clear view of the field).

Some Madden vets aren't as high on it for two reasons: They don't like using Run as one of the passing buttons, and they view the sporadic FMV sequences as unnecessary low-budget fodder. I don't find anything about the passing scheme unfairly challenging or uncomfortable, and personally, I think the FMV skits are quite hilarious--hilariously bad, sure, but hilarious nonetheless.

Shots from the "special" polygonal opening.

You're presented with typical pre-game options and post-game stats.

NFL team nicknames aren't used, but real clubs are here with the names of the cities they represent (though you may question my use of the word "real" when you discover that this Detroit is actually superior to a number of other squads).

Similarly, NFL players from the year the game was made can be identified by their uniform numbers. Detroit running back #20, for instance, is Barry Sanders, and wide receiver #84 on the same club is Herman Moore.

You just know the designers got a kick out of creating these brief FMV horror shows.

You too can win the coveted Madden Trophy. (Goodness, if the Lions can do it, anybody can.)

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