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8.5 / 10
Football junkies can get their fix on-the-go
- Playbook still has the typical large selection of plays Madden’s always been known for
- Can link up and play against other players
- Expanded and addictive Season Mode
Passing game success more dependent of player the ball’s thrown to than the play selected
- “Old school” Madden graphics won't appeal to younger gamers
"If you’re ready for some football on the go, then Madden 2005 is your
I got hooked on Madden with the release of Madden
'94 back on the Sega Genesis. It was the first football game that brought a new level of football realism to the video game realm, despite the limitations of 16-bit technology. I would play over and over, entranced and addicted
to an NFL video game more than I had since playing the Tecmo Bowl games on the NES. Madden has grown leaps and bounds since then in both
technology and popularity, and is the game of choice for most football gamers today.
This year’s Madden Game Boy Advance Madden game harkens back to the days of 1995, looking and sounding much like Madden
'94 but fused with many of the features that are seen in the PS2, Xbox,
GameCube, and PC versions of Madden 2005. For the old-school gamer like me, it’s the best of both worlds: bringing back glorious memories of a golden gaming past while showing just how far football gaming has come since those 16-bit days.
The visuals are given a more 3D touch this year, allowing you to view more of the field on the GBA screen. But anybody who’s played those 16-bit Maddens will have an instant familiarity with Madden 2005’s graphics. For
old-schoolers, the visuals aren’t an issue of detriment; younger gamers may not appreciate the less-than-console-great graphics. The sound also has the same Madden
'94 quality. That leads to a lot of Madden phrases you’ll hear over and over, such as hearing “Hey, where’d that car come from?” after getting a sack. Crowd noises and cheering are more like static than an actual live crowd at times too. Musically, there is some newer tunes weaved into the game during loading, but overall not a stellar all-around sound presentation in Madden 2005.
The gameplay is classic Madden, however. Playing the game isn’t hard, both because of the
well-developed gameplay and controls, particularly on offense. Madden has always been known for a large playbook, and even with the limitations of the GBA (compared to the “big three” consoles) you won’t feel like you’re dealing with a pared-down playbook to select from.
Offense is definitely easier to play than defense in Madden 2005, especially running. But the
A.I. of the game is tough to run on in general, so if you are able to amass good rushing numbers in a game, you’ve earned it. Passing is a different story. You should be able to get your best scoring chances and yardage from the passing game. Much of the success you’ll have seems to hinge on the player you’re throwing the ball to.
If you throw to a Terrell Owens-type player, odds are you will come up with the catch, even with tough coverage. Lesser “superstar quality” receivers have a lesser chance to catch the ball. You almost have to throw to the same player over and over to have the best chance of keeping drives going, as long as you mix in a few running plays along the way to keep the
A.I. defense honest.
Defensively, Madden 2005 is trickier to acclimate to. Trying to set up for a tackle isn’t easy at first, and you are better off in many instances letting the game take control of the tackling. But after a few games, you’ll pick up the defensive nuances and be tackling ball carriers and receivers with ease.
Featured in Madden are a few different modes besides the normal single-player game mode. You can also link together two GBAs with the GBA Link Cable and get some head-to-head competition going. But the best mode may be the Season Mode that has many of the Season Mode features in the console and PC version of Madden. You can make trades, sign free agents and track your stats. Much like fantasy sports leaguing; there’s enough to keep you busy and addictively playing through a whole season with your favorite team. On a system that’s known for the whole collecting game craze that is
Pokemon, it’s no surprise that Madden Cards also are here, giving you opportunities to increase player performance if you happen to own their card.
If you’re ready for some football on the go, then Madden 2005 is your game, although you won’t get the same level of football greatness that you’ll find on the console version, for obvious reasons due to a less-powerful gaming platform. Those old enough to have played the Genesis renditions of Madden will wax nostalgic at the similar look and gameplay experience. In the age of the fantasy sports league craze, football fanatics with time to play their GBA during their daily on-the-go activities will want to get Maddened, especially with the addictive Season Mode.