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In Dive

Graphics: 9
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 9
Replay: 10
Overall: 9

NFL 2k
Released: 19990909
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Visual Concepts
Genre: Sports

Review by: Mike Otoole

NFL 2000 has finally arrived for the Sega Dreamcast and it is an excellent football title. The graphics are absolutely the best graphics ever seen in a football game to date and they will simply blow you away! Player animations are so realistic that you'll look twice to make sure you aren't watching a real game. Receivers look back and put their hands up for the grab, defenders swat down passes and would-be tacklers grab onto your ankles to keep you from gaining yardage. Stadiums are perfectly rendered and the grass and turf textures are very realistic. Players' breath can be seen on cold days, and uniforms get dirtier as the game goes on. This isn't to say that the graphics are perfect. The crowds in the stadiums are a little bland and the hi-res in beween play shots of the players walking around the field are, quite frankly, creepy. The players have tiny little heads, strange angled shoulders they move very slowly, almost like zombies from a well known Capcom game. Fortunately you can push the A button to skip these shots and go straight to the playcallling screen.

The playcalling screen is just like Madden except all receiver routes and defensive assignments are clearly mapped out on the whole screen. This makes understanding the plays very easy but does not do so well for 2 player games. Thankfully, you can use your VMU to call plays so those pesky human opponents won't know what you're up to! The VMU doesn't map out routes for you so you better know your plays. NFL 2000 allows you to call plays by formation or type, so when playing with the VMU, you can use play calling by type and you will be able to choose from short run, long pass etc. This should make it easier until you can memorize the plays.

Control in the game is excellent; players respond with lightning quickness to your commands and they don't move sluggishly at all. The game's 60 frames per second framerate makes sure of that. Passing is very easy to accomplish, as are all the special moves such as spin and hurdle. However the running game is very difficult. It's easy to hammer it up the middle for 4 yards or so a play. Try to get outside with anybody other Terrell Davis and you'll find yourself tackled for a loss. Players constantly dive at you and grab your ankles, making it incredibly hard to bust a run for major yardage. Lucky for you it is just as difficult for your opponent(computer or human) to run so the odds are evened a bit.

Special moves can be made stronger with a special power meter located under your player. When you control a player there is a large arrow underneath him. Hold down the A button to fill this arrow and then quickly press a special move for an added boost to it. Dives are longer, hurdles higher and the spin move now comes packed with a flying elbow to devastate would-be tacklers. Stiff arms are done with the L and R buttons and when you hit L and R together you do a shoulder smash. I cannot stress how important mastery of these powered-up moves is to victory.

Computer AI on Rookie mode is pathetically easy but gets more difficult at the Pro and All Pro levels. The computer will still do some pretty bad clock management near the end of the halves no matter what level you play on so it is not perfect. Mostly it just gets harder to pass against the computer at the higher levels, and since running is difficult to begin with, expect to score a lot less.

The game has a tutorial mode that lets newbies play a game and learn about it at the same time via help windows that pop up on screen. This should be very helpful for beginners but anybody with significant Madden or Gameday experience should not find learning how to play very difficult. In fact, the setup of the controls and menus is very similar to Madden. This is welcome becasue you don't have to learn a whole new style of football game. The spin , hurdle, dive and speed burst buttons are just where they can be found on the Playstation controller in Madden.

NFL 2000 does not have a Dynasty or Franchise mode but does have Season, Playoffs and Tournament modes. There is a Fantasy mode where you can craft the ultimate team of your favorite players with no salary cap worries. And don't forget practice mode, where you can practice plays, formation or special moves. When you practice special moves, it is in a one-on-one mode. Put 2 slightly inebriated people together messing around with the one-on-one mode, and you can wind up chasing each other around the field like a couple of giddy morons in a "mini game" that could not have been intentioned by the games creators.

Replay value is high becasue you can start a new season or play against a never ending supply of human opponents. Every time you play against a human, it's a whole new ballgame, and replay value in sports games is always high due to this.

NFL 2000 also has a custom play editor. Edit existing plays, make plays from scratch with the play creator. You can also create your own team, from the color of their pants to the team's logo. Throw in your own free agent pool and you're ready to dominate.

Sound in the game is superb. It really captures the feel of an NFL game. You must play the game on a surround sound system to hear all the embellishments. There are fans yelling all kinds af strange things at you during the game. The sounds of the game, such as the hits and catches are all totally realistic and players have some excellent taunts that they use on opponents. The only gripe with the sound is the play-by-play. Sega hired actors to play the announcers and at first the 2 commentators are pretty funny and good. Play the game more than 3 times and you'll keep hearing the same things over and over again and the cute banter and joking between them gets unbearable. For the most part the commentary follows the action but sometimes it is just plain wrong : like the time I was 5 yards in the backfield with Terrell and I dove sideways by accident for a big loss. The announcers praised Terrell for knowing exactly when to dive for big yardage on plays! Oh well, they are just computer programs aren't they?

NFL 2000 is one of the best football games I've ever played. The graphics and animations are absolutely amazing. It's easy enough for beginners to have a good game with the veterans, but packed with enough intelligence to reward the football fanatic. If the running game had been made less difficult this game would have absolutely no competition. As it stands, the lack of a Dynasty mode and the bare bones feel to it all keep this game from unseating the king of all football games, Madden 2000. If you're a football freak, buying this game is a no-brainer.

- We have 1 review for NFL 2k (1 Staff, 0 Member)

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