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Madden NFL 2003 (GameCube) Review

American Football-You either love it or hate it, there seems to be no middle ground on this issue, but to those who hate the sport, keep reading, Madden offers something that a gamer will like, fun. On TV I hate the sport, I find it way to slow, to many commercial breaks, and just not a very good sport, so naturally i approached Madden with caution, I knew the game was good for fans of the sport, but for somebody who'd rather play a sport that is very fast, I didn't think I'd find much in Madden. So I was very surprised when I found Madden to be a very deep, very rewarding, very fun game that offers so much more then FIFA ever has. - Review by Scott James.

When I started my very first match I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I started on the offence, and every time the play started, I couldn't pass the damn ball, I kept trying, but all I could do was run, I kept trying and trying to pass, but it always seemed to run. So after a while of doing this, I lost the offence, and it was time for defense. This time I wanted to run, and I was prepared for there play, but I didn't stand a chance, I ran my player the wrong way, while they scored, which they'd do 6 more times, making the score 42-0 by the end of the first quarter, I was pissed. The problem I had was that I kept choosing the wrong play, something that before I just pressed A to get to into the game, and after I started to use the plays more, I eventually scored my very first touch down. I still lost, but to me it was worth celebrating. If you know nothing about American football before coming into this game, then you will struggle at first to, this is a simulation game, its not the pick up and play Blitz series, but a very deep, very tactical, very tough game.

When you first pick it up, all the stats, info, and everything the game offers can be a bit daunting for somebody that knows nothing about the sport, but after a while, and thanks to the great features the game offers, I've started to pick the game up, and understand it all a lot more, and just not suck as much.

You can learn plays in and out before starting matches, something that will really help you if you no nothing about the sport, and for those who know enough, you can even make your own. The game has a very impressive way of getting you into the game, all the training, stats, and everything that at first seemed jargon, becomes very easy to learn after only a while on the game. Its just so amazing how somebody who knew nothing much about the sport can put this game in and learn everything you need to know.

Screenshot for Madden NFL 2003 on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

One of the hardest things about the game at first is the defense, something that will still challenge you when you get better, but at first this seems impossible. There defense seems to be able to intercept passes, push you back, and stop you getting the touchdown, while yours seems to rely on a player being near the ball so he can maybe bring him down, if your lucky. After a while, and sometime in training, you learn how to intercept, what plays would be the best to stop theirs, and how to push them back, and how to stop them scoring. Defense isn't as fun as attack, and doesn't seem as tactical, but when your winning and on defense with a minute left, it can get very tense, and very rewarding, knowing that you stopped the play, and knowing you won then match with a good defense is a lot more rewarding then playing FIFA.

Attack is where its at though. There's lots of plays to do, each coach has there own, and lots of plays to get out of different situations. For example, say your down by 7, and are on the 4th down with about a metre to go to get a gain, a run will really help you out, and when you swerve around there defense and bring the game back to 1st down, its an amazing feeling. When your receiver gets the ball, and has a one man defense to get around, doing so and get a touch down is fantastic, and you a lot of the time feel as if you deserved it.

The game is also not that slow, yes it's slow as the sport is, but luckily EA have not gone for a very slow game, meaning people not that interested in the sport will be able to pick it up and only after a few games, be winning. At times your surprised at how much you've learned, as the game is so good you can learn a lot about the sport and the plays without realizing it.

Screenshot for Madden NFL 2003 on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The main mode in the game is of course the 30 season Franchise mode. This is one of the best examples of how to make a good, addictive, fun and rewarding season. There are so many players in the game, and rookies will bloom right in front of your eyes, and over time you can create a very strong team, or struggle and try to stay alive in league, either way, there's so much on offer that over the 30 very long seasons, the whole franchise will develop, meaning you will never get bored.

The plays on offer are also amazing, and there are so many that you can learn, making you a better player, making the game a hell of a lot more deep. Learning the plays and pulling them off in a game situation is great, very rewarding and making your own plays, and then seeing them in action is also very cool.
If your more of a casual gamer, then there's an option called 'Ask Madden' where he will pick the play for you, so you don't have to bother, and this makes the game a lot more of a pick up and play sort of thing, but after awhile the game will grow on you and you will want to learn the plays, inside and out. Coaches have there own playbooks, and you can create a full playbook for both offense and defense.

There is nothing like going to the Super Bowl, and when your there, the atmosphere is so fantastic you actually feel like that you are really there. The Franchise is not all that's there. There are so many play options to choose from, that you will very rarely get bored. One of the best of these features is a very good training mode that allows you to train as you would really, and also use the things that you learn in training in actual game situations, that will really help you to be a better player.

Screenshot for Madden NFL 2003 on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There's also a great create a team mode, you can create player, teams, everything you could thing of. Make them look just like you, or whatever you want. Another great feature. There's also the chance to collect Madden cards. These are tops cards in the game that allow you to gain cheats, players, even Andrew WK. You can earn these buy getting gold in training mode, or do the challenges that the game has included, which are things such as get a 40 yard pass, which will earn points, so you can buy the cards.

There are downfalls though, sometimes it feels as if the opposition is just doing pre programmed plays, not reacting to your play, and the defense really isn't as fun as the attack, and can be boring at times, but these luckily don't hamper the game that much. The game luckily doesn't feel like FIFA's of old, where you could just run down the pitch and score, Madden provides a big challenge of patience, skill, and at times luck.

Play that funky music! Again very good. The players are fantastic, hearing there plays really helps bring them to life, and helps with the atmosphere as well. The commentary is good, but at times repetitive, and its like there being told what to say, rather then commentating on the game itself. NHL Live still has the best commentary for an EA sports game. There is also a nice sideline reporter, and also helps bring the game to life, and while again can get repetitive, she provides helpful information when your player gets injured, but can get annoying at times. The game also has an EA Trax feature, which has people such as Andrew WK, Bon Jovi, Ok Go, Good Charlotte. These play while your on menus, training, not actually playing the game. Its a mix of mainstream rock, and mainstream hip hop, that has some great song, and has some songs you hate as well. It would have been nice if there was some sound during loading screens, but alas there isn't.

Very good in terms of longevity. There's so much to do, all the little details make this a monster in replay value. There's getting your team to the Super Bowl through 30 very long seasons, learning all the plays, making your own, Madden cards, tournaments, and a fantastic multiplayer mode. If you have friends who like the sport or who are willing to try the game out, then you will be playing this game for ages. If your both skilled players, it can make for some very amazing matches, leaving the game with so much replay value.

Screenshot for Madden NFL 2003 on GameCube- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Fantastic, fun, deep, challenging, rewarding, so many modes, it only lets down in defense.


Nice, though a little PS2ish. The graphics really give the game a great atmosphere, and you generally feel as if this is the NFL


For the most part great, but can get a little repetitive at times


Until 2004 comes along, you will be playing this for ages, getting through a whole 30 seasons will take you a long time.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Madden 2003 is a great game. Yes its by EA, and it will be updated in November, but this really is a great game, that fans of the sport will love, and gamers will love to. If you hate the sport, don't bother getting the game, but at least give it a rent, as this really is a great game. Its so deep that when 2004 comes around you will still be playing this game. It has so many little details to keep you coming back for ages. Its not perfect, but its damn well close. This is one of the best sports series gaming has had, and the 2003 entry goes down as the best yet. If your only curious about the game, rent it, you wont regret it, the game really has so much to keep everybody happy. There are so many modes, and so much to find, that when you put the game into your cube, you will have only scratched the surface. The game only really lets down on defense and sound, though neither are at all bad.

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