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John Madden Football ’93

Genre: Sports Developer: Looking Glass Studios Publisher: Electronic Arts Players: 1-2 Released: 1992

I don’t think anything will top Madden ‘92. A number of these do come close, though. John Madden Football ’93 plays a little safe, but does more than enough to make it stand out. It still provides good action on the field along with a few bells and whistles that continued to make it like you were playing the real game on TV.

The core gameplay is left intact. Pick your plays and hope you do well on both offense and defense. You’re getting the same playbooks as ’92 but with the addition of spiking the ball to stop the clock. One of the big draws to this version is how much smarter your opponent is. While this could be seen in other yearly releases before and after, this was a huge deal. Those big runs you might have had in ’92 are now small with a big one only every once in a while. Offenses may also wise up to the play calling on defense and throw the long one. Overall, they don’t go overboard with difficulty. This version still maintains the ability to pick up and play while learning to adjust to the newer features.

Included are 38 teams. There is the 28 that was in the league during the 1992 season. An All-Madden team for that year and the “greatest ever” are included. New are eight teams that were considered at the time the greatest to have ever played. While this may not have real teams and players like the previous Madden games, it is rather nice to play as a team like the 1972 Miami team or Chicago’s 1985 roster. For the most part, the players for the teams are mostly accurate. Some players may not be included, like number four of Green Bay. It’s the same for each team, like it was in Madden ’92.

As far as presentation goes, nothing has really changed. The weather effects are still the same with whatever is on the field. Players have mostly the same animations as the year before. That being said, there are a few new ones, such as the shoe string catches and a few of the touchdown celebrations. New crowd animations are given for any big positive and negative plays. Seeing the stands beyond the endzone is a welcomed sight.

Other than the music, there is one new feature for Madden ‘93 that helps feel like you are at or watching a game. The developers started to use John Madden himself for some quick quips during a match-up. It may pale to what Sega was doing with the Sports Talk games, but you can hear him more clearly. I really feel this was their best attempt at commentary before Madden ‘96 took it to a new level. The music is rock-oriented and pumps you up to get a game in. The same can be said for the touchdown music. The sound effects are the same as Madden ’92, but that’s not a bad thing.

Another feature that helps is battery backup. Before this, it was relegated to games like Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda, adventures that took hours upon hours to beat. While you get the same game options, the playoffs can be saved without passwords. Not only that, but it also keeps track of how well you have done with your team’s players. From rushing yards to sacks, it’s stuff like this that really helped make this franchise the king of 16-bit football. You can play on your own or with another player via head-to-head matches or playing on the same team. There are sudden death and exhibition games along with the playoffs, in which you can even use a greatest ever team in a tournament to see who is the best of all time.

The last of the new features include a no-huddle offense, a coin toss, and moving defensive guys before the offense gets into formation. As for the rules of football, it’s the same as ’92. You can still review pass interference calls, injuries can still happen to quarterbacks, offsides and encroachment are still defensive penalties, and delay of game is still here on offense. The options are also the same with seeing instant replay and calling time outs before the next play. You can alter the weather, clock time, and stadium you want to be in. My only complaint, outside of the difficulty depending on the teams playing, is the passing not being as sharp as in  Madden ’92. But all in all, it’s these little features that helped shape Madden as a franchise and elevated them to a higher level.

Out of all the games, Madden ’93 is something to recommend in the sea of Genesis football games. While it may look the same, don’t instantly judge it by graphics. The authenticity of real football was getting better and better, and while Madden ’93 may not be as good as the ’92 installment, it’s still a winner with all the additional stuff.

Score: 7 out of 10

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