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NFL Gameday 2001
Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1-8 (with multi-tap)
Developer:  Red Zone
Publisher:  989 Sports
Features:  Dual Shock
Ratings:  Early Childhood
Memory Req.:  1-15 blocks
Info:  http://www.989sports.com
You really did not think that the year would go by without seeing the yearly crop of football games did you. After all it is a new football season and the games from last year just wonít cut it anymore. Well in the fifth or sixth installment of Gameday (Iíve lost count) we can plainly see that the Playstation is finally beginning to show its age. With the Dreamcast already in its second year and PSX2 just around the corner one would wonder why anyone would bother to waste their time with 32 bit football games. Why indeed.

One advantage to repeated versions of the same game is that bugs are fixed and the game is improved upon. However at this point the improvements are slim. Still you have everything that made the previous versions great. There is the commentary, which is informed, and not all that repetitive. Most of the time it actually goes along with the preceding play. There are also the sweeping cameras and TV style shots of the players walking back to the huddle and getting ready for the next play as well as the stadium shots at the opening. Of course all of the NFL players and teams are included with their new uniforms. By this point everything that is football is in the game including celebrations after big plays and instant replays with commentary.

There is also a detailed manager mode where you can take a role behind the scenes. This involves drafting players, trying out the rookies and cutting the team down to make a final lineup before heading into the season. This was seen in last yearís game, but it is nice to see that they opted to put it in again. As an added bonus there is the option to load up the draft from your NCAA Gamebreaker teams.

The game plays exactly like you would expect a Gameday game to play. The action moves very fast and a little jerky. Plays are either really amazing or total flops. There is a great deal of inconsistency in the AI mostly because the players tend to just flock toward the ball. It is very easy to find the one play that always works but it is even easier to try and create big plays. Very often a receiver will catch something that is so impossible that it is worth the risk of an interception.

Like in previous Gamedays the problems come from the slippery surface that the players seem to glide upon. Since the focus is on action and not accuracy the players move seamlessly across the field with quick jerky animations. One minute they are on the ground the next frame they are in the air and immediately they are on the field again running forward. The players go from being vertical to completely horizontal with no animation of jumping and so on. Yes I know that the Playstation has its limitations and does not have the capabilities to show each individual movement, but then why would you settle for it at this point?

In essence Gameday 2001 is not that bad of a game. If you like previous versions then you will find that everything you liked about the other games is present in 2001 and is improved. However after seeing the next generation of football games to grace the Dreamcast, PC, and PSX2, you will find that Playstation football might as well be on the Genesis. Granted better graphics and fluid animation do not make a game great, but who are we kidding?

Chris Shade

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