One loser, one middling, one that rocks (PC
by Alan Zisman
(c) 2000, First
published in Vancouver Computes,
Microsoft NFL Fever 2000
Platforms supported: Win95/98
Requires: Pentium 200, 32 meg RAM, 50 MB drive space
Electronic Arts Madden NFL 2000
Platforms supported: Playstation, N64, Win95/98
(Rumours of a Mac
Requires: Pentium 166, 16 meg RAM, 30 MB drive space
January means football to a lot of people?US-style
football, at least,
since the CFL season ended way back in late November. If you haven?t
your fill of football, or if you want to keep the season going, you
want to try out football sims on your PC.
If you haven?t looked at PC football games recently,
you?ll find the
current crop more realistic than ever?better 3D, announcing, and crowd
noise combine to give a look and feel that more than ever lets the
on the computer screen resemble the action on your big-screen TV?but
you controlling the plays.
Once again, we tossed a pair of new sports games to a
teen test panel?in
this case, Joey and Jas, both 15 years old. They looked at Microsoft?s
NFL Fever 2000, a new game in its first version, and Electronic Arts?
NFL 2000, the tenth annual version of this sports dynasty. Both games
tested on a 400 mhz Pentium II with a Voodoo 2 graphics accelerator.
As challenger, for its first time on screen, Microsoft
has wisely had
modest goals for NFL Fever. You can?t follow a team through multiple
trading and drafting players to build up your franchise. Instead, you
your choice of the 31 current NFL teams, and get on the field to play.
3D graphics are nicely detailed?perhaps better than
Madden?s, at least
on the field. Our testers were disappointed with the lack of detailing
on the arenas and the crowds. Joey reported ?There are no players on
benches?in fact, there are no benches.? Similarly, while Microsoft
?real crowd noises?, the test panel found the announcing uninspired.
The game?s focus is on getting you up and playing
quickly. Jas found
it easy to play?he reported ?Just pick a play, press a couple of
and it goes. It?s easy to catch a pass?. But he went on to suggest that
despite the fast gameplay, it was sometimes hard to control?he reported
that pressing his up button didn?t move the players up, but rather in
The boys found NFL Fever 2000 a good try for a first
effort from Microsoft,
especially given that it sells for half the price of EA?s product. Jas
rated it a B-, while Joey called it a C+. They?re looking forward to
versions to iron out the glitches.
This is Madden?s 10th anniversary product?it
originated way back in
the Apple II era. It offers a host of features?you can built a team
time, or try your hand at a set of ten great games from football
You can create your own custom players, though unlike EA?s NHL 2000,
can?t import faces. A player here can have your name, but not your
Still, the proof, as EA says ?is in the game?, and
playing Madden is
an odd combination of reward and frustration. Unlike the Microsoft
it takes time to learn to control passing in Madden. Jas suggested that
it was difficult to know when to throw a pass. It was, however, much
to kick a field goal than in the Microsoft competitor.
The boys liked the plays?they reported ?they are very
know exactly what?s going to happen?. And they were impressed with the
individualization of the players. ?Fatter guys are slower runners, just
like in real life?. Still, they were surprised to report that the
had taken a step backwards from the 1999 version?last year?s version
clearer and more detailed, Joey pointed out.
While the detailing in the arenas and the crowd stand
out, Joey felt
like the commentary in this game also needed improvement. Too often,
both games, comments simply don?t match what?s happening on the field.
Both boys rated this game as a B+. For an example of a
that rates an A, they both pointed to NFL 2K for Sega?s new DreamCast,
which they agreed was ?totally realistic?. Joey commented ?It?s not too
often that you see a game system game overpower a computer, but NFL 2K
whoops them all. It totally rocks?.