Madden NFL 2003 has plenty to offer, and fans of previous games in the series shouldn't think twice before picking it up.
Madden NFL 2003's biggest attraction is the sheer number and depth of its different modes, which are complemented by really good, if slightly flawed, gameplay. The game not only offers an in-depth and overall excellent franchise mode, but it also has a series of minigames that you can compete in to gain access to Madden cards, a teaching mode, a situation mode, and an incredibly robust play editor that enables you to create just about any play imaginable. Madden NFL 2003 has plenty to offer, and fans of previous games in the series shouldn't think twice before picking it up.
If you're relatively knowledgeable about the sport of professional football, then you'll want to check out some of the customizable options, namely the playbook editor, before jumping into a game. Like with most other playbook editors, you can scour various playbooks from coaches around the league and pick plays that you'd like to add to your own repertoire, but this option also gives you the ability to create your own unique formation, and from that you can create an entirely new play. Basically, you'll be presented with a grid and a series of circles representing the players on the field. You can move the receiver, tight end, and running back circles almost anywhere on the grid, which gives you the opportunity to create some really weird-looking formations, but you can only move the quarterback in a line perpendicular to the center. In addition, you still need to have the proper number of players at the line of scrimmage, so there are some limitations put in to accommodate the rules. When you're done setting up the formation, you can go into the create-a-play option and decide whether it will be a running or a passing play. If it's a running play, then you can indicate which direction the running back has to go and indicate blocking assignments for offensive linemen and receivers. Conversely, if you're creating a passing play, you can either use one of the preset routes (such as a post, a streak, or a curl) or create your own route--needless to say, you can create some pretty crazy routes that will undoubtedly make things difficult for the computer- or human-controlled opponent playing zone coverage. Finally, you can test the play and make any final adjustments before integrating it into your playbook. The defensive play editor is almost identical--it lets you make your own formations and place defensive players just about anywhere on the grid. Other editable options include the ability to make your own team and players and to adjust rosters before starting the game.
As with any football game, the heart of Madden NFL 2003 is its franchise mode, in which you can take a team through numerous NFL seasons while trying to get to the Super Bowl every year. After you select your team, you can go through the roster and switch players around or just look at some statistics to see who some of your better players are. You can also make changes to your coaching options by selecting a primary defense type, as well as your preference for offensive and defensive strategies. In addition, there's a league news section where you can find out about all the latest transactions or injuries that have occurred over the course of the season. Making trades, signing free agents, and other such front-office duties are a pretty straightforward affair--you can trade up to three players at once, offer contracts to free agents, release players, or re-sign players and extend their contracts. When you attempt to sign a free agent, you'll receive comments from that player's agent explaining what the player wants, whether it's a long-term contract or money. These agents are pretty staunch individuals, and they tend not to give in unless you meet a player's demands, but of course, you always need to keep the salary cap in mind when making trades or other transactions, otherwise you could end up hurting your franchise down the line.
Naturally, the franchise mode starts with the preseason, which is actually a valuable period in Madden NFL 2003 because it gives you a chance to develop some of your players' skills, particularly those of your rookies. At the end of the preseason, you'll have a chance to see if any of your players have developed and what areas they've developed in, such as speed and strength. You can then go through the full season and attempt to make your way to the Super Bowl.
- Player Reviews: 4
- Game Universe:
- Madden NFL 2004 (PS, GC, GBA, PS2, XBOX, PC),
- Madden NFL 2000 (PC, GBC, N64, PS, MAC),
- Madden NFL 2001 (PS2, PS, GBC, N64, PC),
- Madden NFL 97 (PC, PS, GEN, SAT, GB, SNES),
- Madden NFL 98 (PC, PS, GEN, SNES, SAT),
- Madden NFL 99 (PC, N64, PS),
- Madden NFL '94 (GEN, SNES),
- Madden NFL 95 (GEN, GB, GG, SNES),
- Madden NFL 96 (GEN, GB, GG, SNES, PC, PS),
- Madden NFL 2002 (PS2, GC, PC, PS, N64, XBOX, GBC, GBA)
- Offline Modes:
- Number of Players: