John Madden Football (Mega Drive Review)

Yes, that's definitely a "P"
Yes, that’s definitely a “P”

What on earth is American Football all about? They have four downs to do a what? Where are the ups if there are downs? What the hell do all those circles and crosses mean? These are all questions I had when I started playing John Madden Football and lo and behold, I think I’ve got it now! EA have done the business here, even when you load the game and are greeted by a quite scary pixelised version of John Madden you sense something good is about to happen.


Three guys open and he still couldn’t score...
Three guys open and he still couldn’t score…

The setup screens, well, the one setup screen is a garish green but has all the options you need.  You can choose to play a standard exhibition game, sudden death game or start a campaign in the play-offs. The title music is strong and in no way annoying, as soon as the game starts it fades away as sound effects and speech (yes, actual words!) take over.  Everything during actual play in John Madden runs smoothly, the power bar when kicking is easy to manage and controlling the highlighted player to run, barge and dive his way through opponents is a delight.


But, the GPS said he was already at his destination? He was about 90 yards off...
But, the GPS said he was already at his destination? He was about 90 yards off…

And here we have the first hurdle for us non-Americans – the play select screen. If you’ve never seen the game before I doubt whether you’d know what a shotgun formation is or that choosing “special teams” allows you to punt or kick a field goal.  Give the manual a browse, watch a few games of NFL and you’ll be locating the plays you want in no time.  The clock runs slow enough for you to run through and work out how to access certain plays and although this seems random at times, you can use judgment to make these plays count. A hint system would be nice but you feel Madden isn’t for amateurs.


The passing plays are nicely done, pressing C twice snaps the ball and then brings up the window for pass options (here comes the judgment).  The running plays are perhaps a little too similar and are an easy way to gain yardage.  The graphics are good, the sound accompanies the game well and it’s easy to pick up for beginners.  The only flaws are that the game is too easy and over too soon.  Easy first downs are gained by running the ball.  The play-off option is limited and therefore there isn’t much for the solo player.  


As good as Gridiron gets on the Mega Drive.



Scroll to Top