Search For Posters!
  Join the SGN staff!
Help Wanted
Release Dates


About Us

The Sports

Partner Links
Auto Insurance Quote
Irvine Moving Companies
LA Moving Companies
Brand Name Shoes

NFL Fever 2000 (PC) Review

Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: August 1999

Background Info


So let's suppose that you're the Sports Director for the Fox network. And, for kicks, let's just say that you have a certain Superbowl telecast coming up. Who would you want announcing that game? Your number one team of Madden/Summerall? Your second-tier coupling of Millen/Stockton?

There can be no question that the most-esteemed football booth is comprised of Madden and Summerall. Year after year the two can be counted on for a solid, even exceptional, football telecast. Much in the same way, year after year we gamers have come to rely on that same pairing as found in EA's Madden series for solid gameplay and numerous added features. Plain and simple, Madden has usually brought more to the table and is the industry standard, to be sure.

Essentially, what we have with Microsoft's new entry into the PC Pro Football wars, NFL Fever 2000, is a competent all-around performer that has a lot going for it but still manages to fall short of the lofty standards set by the Madden games. Think of it as the number-two of football games and you'll get an idea of where the game stands.

In short, wonderful visuals, top-notch detail and accurate gameplay make for a fine football game that still has some glaring deficiencies that keep it from the coveted top spot.

Let's break it down.

Presentation/Graphics : 97
The visual presentation of this game is nothing short of stunning. From the opening stadium shot to the on-the-field action, NFL Fever is a sight to behold. On a unit equipped with an adequate 3D card, you'll enjoy the most realistic look of any game, including Madden. Players look as life-like as you're going to get, even in comparison with an improved Madden 99. Even at the lowest resolution available, the creases and crinkles in player uniforms are actually viewable, and not in a cartoonish way. Beyond that, the stadium representations look spectacular and the stands are filled with what appears to be a fairly realistic representation of a packed house. Granted, once you zoom in on the fans, you get the inevitable 2-D flat effect, but the overall look is beyond commendable.

As for the graphical representation of the action, kudos are earned here as well. Defensive players flinch and twitch, linemen point out coverage to teammates, the quarterback blares out audibles with an accompanying stomping of the foot. Needless to say, the details are covered. And this is BEFORE a play actually is run.

In terms of the plays themselves, realism is the key word. Just look at the tackling alone. We've all seen a healthy smattering of the various tackles in other games, but Fever takes the cake with veritable tons of tackling combinations, all well done. Some of the best tackles are the gang tackles that will occur after an overmatched corner tries to wrap up a bulky tight end or fullback. As the ball carrier struggles with the defensive attacker hanging on for dear life, the big boys come in and finish off the job. You also have your usual tackles, of course, ranging from an occasional end-over-end job and a few instances where the runner gets his legs cut out from under him and spins helplessly to the turf. A nice bonus in the detail department is how players will slowly roll over after being ransacked.

Of course, tackling certainly isn't the bulk of the game. Obviously we want to see a good representation of running, passing and the like, and those facets are well done in Fever as well. Running is solid, save for some awkward arm movement when you don't have the ball. Let's face it, there aren't a whole lot of NFL players who run around the field with their arms flailing in the wind as if detached from their bodies. Granted, this is somewhat ticky-tack, but with everything else looking so good it seems that something could have been done about the windmill arms.

But at the same time, your running back will blast through holes and slip out of tackles, an unhappy quarterback will cover his face with his hands, and heroic receivers will do a little dance in the end zone after their 33-yard breakaway. In other words, this game just looks good. And all of this plays out wonderfully when you get to view instant replays. These are the best replays in the business, bar none.

Presentation/Audio : 88
Not too coincidentally, this brings us to the audio presentation. Don't get me wrong here, Millen actually does a decent job of commenting on the action that unfolds in front of you. It's just that, as with every single sports game ever made, things fall a wee bit short of perfection.

If you recognize that there is absolutely no way that a computer commentator can adequately call a game, then there is no problem, of course. Just ignore the usual redundancies and painfully out-of-place criticism that might pop up as you, for some crazy reason, try to go for it on fourth down late in the fourth quarter and down by four. Oh, and don't play your game in front of the kids, at least if you want to discourage violence. On almost every single dropped pass, Millen pipes up with, "If I were the quarterback I'd hit that guy with a 2x4."

Another issue here is with regard to sponsorship. Now we all know that the college Sugar Bowl is henceforth to be known as the thunder-stealing Nokia Sugar Bowl and that all other bowl games are in the same boat these days (and don't even mention the Heisman Trophy!). But can it possibly be true that the Superbowl is no longer the Superbowl? Sure enough, if you complete a season in Fever and make it to the big game, or if you elect to play through a playoff series and make it, you are heartily welcomed by Dick Stockton to the "Microsoft NFL Fever 2000 Superbowl." Then again, EA Sports hasn't always been saintly in its name-dropping tendencies throughout some of its titles, so who's to complain?

But enough bashing of the audio, already. High marks are earned with the game's on-the-field audio. Especially nice is the cadence barked by a quarterback. Notable also are the crunching hits and the grunts that go along with them. The crowd, meanwhile, is a lively backdrop and is quick to get on the home team when things aren't going too well. In a game where Philadelphia was in Mile-High Denver and drubbing the Broncos by a 46-9 count in the fourth quarter, the crowd was absolutely livid. The boos even seemed to run over some Stockton announcing. How was Bubby Brister fairing? "Get him outta there!" give you an indication?

Interface/Options : 93
When on-the-field action and the surrounding atmosphere look as top-notch as it is in this game, it should come as no surprise that jumping around the various screens and navigating your way around NFL Fever is likewise seamless as well as sharp in appearance. Why does this matter? Simple; it may sound obvious to an extent, but the ability to point and click through a series of easily readable and concise screens is greatly appreciated.

Not over-designed or cluttered, you'll find it simple clicking your way through the various features and setup screens. There can be no question that this game hits the mark in its general look and feel.

Gameplay : 89
Games, of course, can look like virtual works of art and still fall short if the gameplay isn't competent. And to the extent that you, indeed, seek mere competency, this game is just that. That is to say there is nothing exceptional in its gameplay and nothing glaringly sub-par.

Like so many other football games, the running attack is tough. On all three skill levels, you'll be lucky to tear off any big gains, and nearly all of those are going to come when the defense is COMPLETELY none for the wiser. Jamming up the middle is pretty much your best bet, with holes opening clearly. You can run your back through a hole, gain a few and hit the turf. But running outside is no easy proposition. You'd better have perfected your available moves or you're in for a long day of passing, passing and more passing if you want to have any chance of winning a ballgame.

Run Barry Sanders 20-25 times in a game set on All-Pro and watch as he spins, jukes, leaps and plows forward for a whopping 24 yards. Point is, what you get in NFL Fever is more of the same in the running game. While you might gain eight yards on one or two runs, you're just as likely to get trapped in the backfield for a loss of four.

Then there is the issue with fumbles. For some reason, NFL Fever seems somewhat fumble happy. In a game with plenty of jarring hits, there always seems to be a number of slippery balls that compound the situation. Whereas in most games there might seem to be a couple of interceptions for each fumble that occurs, in Fever that ratio is just the opposite.

Maneuvering your offensive and defensive players is a snap, with the usual controller setup as found on other football games present here. Passing is still a matter of hitting one button to snap the ball and then hitting your receiver by tapping the corresponding button. An unfortunate aspect of the passing game, however, is the tendency for balls to be dropped by even the surest-handed receiver. In a game where I took control of the Bears, I counted four dropped balls by Curtis Conway alone! Clearly this is Microsoft's way of controlling statistics to an extent, since most passes clearly hit their intended target. Of course, stats aren't even a real feature in this game, but more on that later.

Running on offense offers the same speed burst, spin move, juke options, etc. One quirk can be found on defense, however, when it comes to switching to the nearest defender. Unfortunately, hitting the correct button doesn't always switch you to the pursuing player you'd most like it to.

Kicking is one part of this game that is a clear departure from the rest of the group. When you line up for a punt or kick, an arrow appears that is supposed to accurately reflect where you place the ball. This takes some getting used to, to say the least. Time after time in the first few games that most gamers will play you're bound to find yourself lining the arrow up exactly only to find that you miss the uprights by several feet.

The AI portion of the gameplay is rather routine, with the three skill levels ranging from Rookie to All-Pro. Running, as mentioned, is a chore, and passing tends to be a simpler affair. The computer always seems to have its bases covered no matter what running stunt you try to pull. It does a lesser job in blanketing your receiver corps.

Clock management is fairly well done. Late in games where the computer has the lead, the compucoach will let the play clock run down. Two-minute drills administered by the computer's offense are well done, with some clock-stopping passes thrown directly into the turf. There also aren't any noticeable quirks where the computer, down by 6 with 23 seconds to go, elects to punt. Thankfully, common sense reigns here. Just don't tell that to Matt Millen.

Replay Value : 80
So finally we can get to the matter of statistics, which is where Fever absolutely fails to make the grade. In recent years we've been treated to new developments intended to make replayability a major feature that keeps us craving more. Painfully missing in Fever is the presence of any type of individual statistics. And that goes for game statistics as well as season stats. Don't even waste your time asking about any type of Dynasty Mode, etc., because this game will have nothing to do with it. Granted, Microsoft markets this game as an "arcade" depiction of the NFL game, but it doesn't take a football coaching genius to recognize that this game has enormous potential as a sim; statistics would certainly be a more-than-welcome addition in the future.

Fact is, if you were to track the performance of some of your players in a given game, you'd find that your QB might amass some 250 yards on 15 of 27 passing while your backfield might run up a few yards. Sure, the running totals might not be too terribly accurate, but you can run into the same problem on a whole host of football games that still manage to track stats.

Plain and simple, stat tracking and a career mode are features that are to be expected these days. When a game doesn't offer them, it not only is peculiar, it smacks of plain laziness.

Overall : 90
If someone were to have read from the middle of this analysis, it would seem that there isn't much reason to even consider NFL Fever 2000. However, while there can be no question that a list of reasons can be ticked off as to why you wouldn't want this title, there are also some terrific reasons for making this your NFL game of choice.

It's actually quite simple, really. If you're looking for a pleasant, impressive-looking game that will do an admirable job of entertaining you while keeping your football mind stimulated enough to last you during the NFL's off days, this game is it. The presentation is superb and the gameplay is certainly adequate. However, if you're looking for a feature -laden game that delivers on all levels, from graphics to complete-sim details, then this game is a must-pass. It all comes down to what you want out of your football title of choice.

By: Ron Barrett 9/13/99

© 1998-2006 Sports Gaming Network. Entire legal statement. Feedback

Other Links:
[Free Credit Report  |   Car Insurance Quotes  |   Designer Shoes  |   Outdoor Equipment

MVP Baseball 2003
Street Hoops
Mad Catz Xbox Hardware

Inside Pitch 2003
MLB Slugfest 20-04
Tennis Masters Series



[an error occurred while processing the directive]