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Madden 96

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Reviewed by Diane Cote I fully expected to go blind playing this game. Every other portable football sim I've ever had the displeasure to encounter has left me feeling old. I don't like being reminded of how much I need to have my eyes checked and the Game Boy. Imagine my absolute dismay when I discovered I could not only make out most of what was going on in the mini-football I played, but I actually found myself growing quite attached to the whole exercise. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Madden 96 on the Game Boy is the best portable football game I've played since Madden 96 on the Sega Nomad! Now, how's that for a comparison, huh? Madden 96 is another fine testament to good game development. Obviously, plenty of the Madden magic was sacrificed to port this classic down to the bare essentials of Nintendo's little tyke but I tell ya, the game's still good to go. It's easier to score, no doubt about that. With the extra diminutive players (who sometimes carry the distinct appearance of shapeless blobs - no getting around it, I'm afraid) on the Game Boy screen, completing those passes becomes less of a marksmanship event and more of correct directional type thing. Pretty much, if your QB is looking anywhere up field and he heaves one, it's a solid bet that pigskin will land softly in your golden boy receiver's hands. So, in that respect, first downs become somewhat less of a reason to celebrate. However, it is still a kick hearing scratchy pin head voices yelling out the stats from your Game Boy's minuscule speakers. "First Down!", "Touch Down!" and "Fumble!" eminating through technology so old it creaks - it's just dawg gone groovy, I tell ya. Most of the voluminous Madden play book is included in the game, although with the choice of only two buttons, deciding on who to pass to becomes convincingly easier. Running plays require that you work a little of that old Madden shake and bake in order for you to obtain some elusive yardage. Running plays have always been the trickiest part of the Madden games and there's no exception here. The tiny Game Boy cartridge has 30 teams to choose from, although the official NFL crest isn't anywhere in the book, so don't go looking for your favorite team colors (oh, what was I thinking?) or logos in the game. Still, you can go through a whole season of games, including the playoffs. Thank goodness for battery saved games. Who hates passwords? Raise their hand. Okay, put 'em down. You get much football for such a small cart. I was really impressed. I took the thing on public transportation and it was not embarrassing to play at all. I was even showing everybody around me my touchdown replays. People seemed really interested too! No, they didn't. But you will be, especially if you like your football on the move.

I'm giving Madden 96 8 out of 10

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