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31 July 1997 (USA)  »

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Follows Madden NFL 95 (1994) See more »

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Not the best Madden around
13 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Perhaps the first thing once notices upon playing a game of Madden 98 are the shoddy in-game visuals. I believe that this was the last Madden game to not use polygons, and it is quite obvious. The game declares it uses 'V-Poly Technology' (whatever that is) to make the graphics fast and fluid. Sure, the game runs pretty fast but it does it so at the benefit of blurry and pixel lated graphics. The game can get downright ugly at times. Slow animations are commonplace and the blurriness just makes things worse. This is a case where the poor graphics actually take away from the in-game experience. it can get hard to tell who catches the ball during pass plays. Sometimes it will look like the defender intercepts the ball, but the receiver is the one that actually catches it and takes it in 60 yards for the touchdown. Needless to say, the visuals help make Madden 98 a frustrating game. The poor visuals aren't the game's only problem - the running game is also flawed. It can get very difficult to gain any significant yardage in the game. It seems as though the running game is one of the few things the Madden series has never been able to get just right - it's too difficult here, but in the newer versions it is too easy. Even while using Barry Sanders, the best running back in the game, it can become hard to get any real yardage on the play. As a result of the sub par running game, one will have to rely on passing to win games. If the team doesn't have a good quarterback, chances are that the team won't be real successful. Thankfully, the computer AI (artificial intelligence) is not a problem unlike the visuals and the running game. The computer actually shows some skill here doing strategies that the NFL teams do in real life. The computer opponent will often waste the clock if they are ahead near the end of the game and they will call timeouts when they need to stop the clock. I did notice that sometimes the AI would call unnecessary timeouts, but that isn't a big problem. Madden 98 has the usual game modes found in other football games. exhibition, season, custom season, tournament, and fantasy draft. Exhibition is just a regular game of football where you set the rules, weather conditions, and whatever else you feel is necessary. Season mode is the biggest mode of the game. In it, you select a team and try to guide it to a Super Bowl victory. Once the season is over, you can play another one right after it using the same team (with whatever changes you made in the season). Custom season is pretty self-explanatory. you can re-align the divisions to however you see fit. Tournament mode allows you to play an eight or sixteen team single elimination tournament. Finally, fantasy draft lets you play a round robin tournament using completely new team rosters from the draft. None of the above modes are really special, as they have all been done in other (and more importantly) better football games.

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