Right away upon loading up Madden 96, one will notice the lack of an official NFL license. Instead of being able to select teams by looking at their real-life logos, the player has to look at some cheesy rip-offs that are not even close to the real logos. As a result, it may take a thought or two for someone to find the team they are pursuing. The lack of an NFL license is understander due to the time period of the game, but it does detract some fun from the game. To go along with the licensing problem, the players do not have names. Instead, they are given simple numbers to represent them. The numbers are true to the player's real number, but it can get difficult to remember who's who by just using numbers. Once again, this problem is understandable given the time period of the game, but it is still a problem nonetheless. There are three modes of play in Madden 96 exhibition, season, and playoffs. Exhibition mode is the usual meaningless 'team vs. team' game of football. Just select two teams and you're all set to go. Season mode is pretty self-explanatory, as you get to guide a team through a single football season in hopes of reaching the glorious Super Bowl. The season mode would normally be the best part of the game, but that is not the case here, thanks to the Long passwords one must enter to continue the same season. After every game, the computer will show a password that will enable the user to advance to the next game if they wish to shut off their GameBoy. Well that may sound all fine and dandy, it is really not a good idea. The passwords used are ridiculous - all are similar to something like '(C)FC9(C)HVSTXTP'. It becomes quite tedious to enter such a long password every time you wish to resume the season. As for the playoff mode, it is also self-explanatory - you select a team and hope to successfully make it through the playoffs with the ultimate goal being to win the Super Bowl. Despite the fact that there are only three modes of play, with none of them being particularly special, the lack of modes is normal for GameBoy football. Perhaps where Madden 96 lacks the most is during the actual game play. You get to select a 20, 40, or 60 minute football game with five, ten, and fifteen minute quarters, respectively. No matter how long of a game you choose, each actual game will likely be a high scoring affair. It is simply too easy to score 30+ points in a 20 minute game of football. The frequent high scores kill the chance of the game having realistic statistics, but I shouldn't have expected true-to-life stats anyway. Also adding to the flakiness are disturbingly similar players, awkward speed settings, frequent 'big' 25+ yard plays, and an unfair kicking system. Those problems just add more to the almost 'arcade' style play of Madden 96, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what type of football fan you are.
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