Madden NFL 2000 | Retro Review | Nintendo 64 - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, January 14, 2022

Madden NFL 2000 | Retro Review | Nintendo 64

For its third appearance on Nintendo’s 64 bit platform, Madden 2000 seems to rest a bit on its laurels. There are some updates to the gameplay, animations and some upgrades to modes, but is this game a worthwhile successor to Madden N FL 99 and Is it still worth playing today? We answer all that and more in this retro review. 

Madden NFL 2000 was EA’s American football title featuring players, rosters and teams from the 1999 NFL season. It released on the Nintendo 64 on August 31, 1999 in North America only. It was also released on the PC that August, the PlayStation on July 31, 1999, Game Boy Color in November 1999 as well as the Mac that year. Sales numbers between the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation versions were pretty much what you would expect. Madden 2000 on PS1 sold through roughly 1.75 million units, while the N64 version sold around 610,000 units. This is the last Madden title to feature John Madden on the cover - in North America at least. The PAL version saw the Green Bay Packers’ Dorsey Levens on the cover. 
I’m sure we all have our own stories with where we were and what we were doing around the time of this game’s release. For me, at the time, I was still playing Madden 99 and 64, but at the same time was super impressed with what was happening with the Dreamcast and NFL 2K. Also, being a poor high school kid, I didn’t have the money to throw down on Madden 2000 at the time, so I skipped out on this one until much later.

While Madden 99 saw quite an improvement in the control department when compared to Madden 64, the changes made between 99 and 2000 are a bit more subtle. The AI seems to be a bit better overall, and it’s still a bit easier to run versus passing the ball. There is now the ability to add hot routes to individual receivers before you snap the ball and, another first for the series, throw the ball on the run. 
Madden Challenges offer a varying degree of tasks for the players to complete while playing the game. These net you points, which in turn give you access to secret codes. Obviously these days, you can find all of these codes online, however at the time of release, they could help provide a certain level of replay value that previous titles didn’t have. The codes range from things like being able to kick ridiculously long field goals, throw 100 yard passes to unlocking teams and stadiums. Some of the teams are pretty wacky, but others are classic teams - teams that were available in previous games from the get go. It’s not quite a pay to play kind of situation or anything like that, but having these teams included from the start would have been a better option in my opinion. 

Similar to Madden 99, and obviously an effort to try to appease more casual pigskin fans, an arcade mode is available in Madden 2000. Not only that, but you can even change the overall sizes of the players on screen, unlock some pretty crazy teams (via Madden Challenges) and hear a different play by play announcer (the guy who says “EA Sports. It’s in the game”) and more. While I certainly understand the thinking behind the decision, if you’re looking for arcade action, you’re not going to find a significant change to gameplay as things remain largely the same. 
All of the modes that you come to expect are present in Madden 2000. Exhibition, Season, Tournament, Practice and of course, Franchise. It’s important to note some slight enhancements that Franchise mode received in this title. While it first appeared in Madden 99, some tweaks have been made to make the mode a bit more user friendly. Of course, here you take control of an NFL team (or teams). You can play up to 30 seasons and control everything on and off the field in an attempt to bring home the Lombardi trophy. This time, it’s possible to let the CPU handle all or some of the offseason re-signings or draft related decisions. If you’re looking to get into a deep mode, this makes it easier as it can be a bit tough to manage all that the offseason has to offer. If you’re comfortable with doing it yourself, well, that’s still available. Another addition includes the ability to make your own plays, which is something, I’m not personally interested in, but it’s there for those with creative football minds.

Visuals, Audio & Performance
Madden 2000 has taken a bit of a step back from 99 in terms of visuals. Sure, the character models still do sport a decent level of detail with team emblems, accurate uniforms and more. However, the models themselves look a bit more rough overall. Players look a bit more angular than they did in 99, but the game runs smoother because of this slight downgrade. At the same time, there are a few more additions to the game that help make it more realistic. There are new player animations, including some new celebrations and also some animations of players showing frustration after poor plays. 
For the first time in the series, players appear along the sidelines. Sure, they’re 2D, but it helps bring more to the overall package. Not only that, but if you make a big play on offense of defense, the camera will cut over to some fully modeled players celebrating on the sidelines. Other things, like big hits that can knock off player’s helmets also made their debut here. 
Things on the audio front are still a bit of a let down. As with previous entires in the series on the system, the cart based media really limits what can be included when it comes to commentary. Sure, Summeerall still does the play-by-play and Madden does reprise his role as color commentator. Unfortunately, Madden himself has very few lines. It’s a pity, but Nintendo 64 gamers more than likely knew what they were getting into. 

Madden 2000 is a solid game. Franchise mode has seen improvements to make managing the offseason easier, the game runs smoother, and the Madden Challenges are a way to possibly keep you coming back. At the same time, I do think it’s a bit annoying to have the classic teams hidden behind this arbitrary code system.  But let’s turn things over to you. Did you play Madden 2000 back in the day? What did you think about it? Just for fun, what was your favorite team(s) from the 1999 season? Sound off in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you! 

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