The Active Network

Product: NFL Fever 2000
Company: Microsoft
Estimated Street Price: $19.95
Review By: Robert Nielsen

I have to admit it.  I hate summer.  For one reason, and one reason only.  THERE IS NO FOOTBALL!!  I'm a born and bred football fanatic, and, during the off-season, I would go bored out of my mind if not for games.  So, when I saw that Microsoft had released "NFL FEVER 2000," and that they were selling it for $20, I said, "Eh, why not?"

Once I got into the game, my first thought was that MS had gone loony.  Charging only $20 for a game this good should be a crime.  (But, then again, MS is already in the doghouse far enough)!!  I mean, everything about this game screams quality, with a few minor exceptions.

The control setup for this game is fairly straightforward, with the expected options for keyboard or a game pad or joystick.  What I found surprising, however, is that there is no mouse option, ala the Madden series.

Speaking of Madden, after seeing screenshots of Madden 2000, and playing NFL Fever, all I can say is, EA better do some heavy redesigning of their graphics engine, because, next to NFL Fever, Madden looks old.  Fever's graphics are sharp, crisp, and, dare I say it.....nearly perfect.  The atmosphere of every stadium is perfectly reflected here, including gradual deterioration of field conditions when playing in rainy or snowy conditions.

Back to the controls issue for a moment.  The camera views in this game are not nearly as developed as Madden 2000, and this, IMO, hurts the game from a replay standpoint.  For example, you're limited to a behind the offense view (default), 3/4 offense (over the QB's shoulder), 3/4 defense (over the DL), overhead, and a ball cam, which is so close to the players, it's nearly unusable.

Now, on to more fun.  Sound wise, the game is nearly perfect.  The crowd is there, chanting, screaming, cheering, (although, I was surprised that, when playing the Dallas Cowboys and having Daryl Johnston score a TD, I didn't hear the traditional "MMOOOOOSSSE!!" chant).  Also, if you listen very carefully, you can hear vendors shouting, "Popcorn!  Peanuts!!" And all those other fun things we love to spend our money on.

However, the sound does have one glaring problem.  Alas, it's the announcers.  Dick Stockton and Matt Millen provide the play-by-play call, however, not unlike Madden & Summerall, it just doesn't compare to sitting in front of your TV listening to the real thing.  However, there is an option for a "stadium announcer," who basically calls all the plays, identifies players, etc.  This loses out on some of the aesthetics of a TV broadcast, but, it's not missed all that much. 

I do find some "money plays" in this game that work for me rather well.  For example, when playing Dallas, I can run Emmitt Smith on a HB toss to either side, and, if I time it just right, he's gone.  I've racked up over 200 yards rushing w/Emmitt in 3 quarters (earning him a much-needed breather in the 4th, when Chris Warren takes over and picks up another 100).  Passing is a little more difficult, with many more dropped passes than would be considered "normal," however, MS promises a patch in the works.  Rosters, BTW, are almost completely faithful to the real NFL schedules, however, some notable rookies (Cade McNown, Tim Couch, etc.) are missing.  MS promises to have updated rosters available shortly, however.

The only glaring omission from NFL Fever is a stat tracker.  You get generalized statistics at the end of every quarter, but, they aren't broken down like the box scores in the Monday papers.  However, user-created utilities are filling that small gap quite nicely.

One thing that initially deterred me from NFL Fever was the reported lack of a coach mode, where you just call the plays and let the computer run them.  However, I've found that you can coach from your chair at home, free to assume control of your ball carrier at any time.


Hard-hitting tackles

Tackles so tough they send fullbacks flying, and will knock you off your chair. NFL Fever lets you feel the intensity of NFL action.

Fast-paced gameplay

Get right into the action without waiting for TV timeouts. NFL Fever keeps your adrenaline flowing 'til the clock ticks down to zero.

Smooth moves

Stiff-arm your way through tackles and leave defenders in the dust. You get a wide variety of offensive moves including juke, spin, speed burst, stiff-arm, hurdle, shoulder charge, dive, high-step, and pump fake. On defense your arsenal includes power tackle, swim move, speed burst, and jumps.

Real NFL-style playbooks and gameplay

From the West Coast offense to a zone blitz defense, wrap your hands around real NFL plays and team playing styles modeled after their real NFL counterparts.

Gritty NFL atmosphere

NFL Fever captures the intensity of being on the NFL battlefield with on-field exchanges, trash talking, home-friendly crowds, and team-specific chants.

Jaw-dropping graphics

3D polygonal player models and super-rich graphics help duplicate the look and feel of the NFL in "feverish" detail. After touchdowns, players celebrate with moves like the Merton Hanks "Chicken Dance" and the Ken Norton Jr. "Punching Bag" routine.

Easy to play

NFL Fever delivers an easier way to play football for casual and hard-core fans alike. Every play features "Millen's Call," a group of plays recommended by former pro and NFL Fever color analyst Matt Millen.

Real-time NFL commentary

NFL on Fox commentators Dick Stockton and Matt Millen provide insight and play-by-play commentary as the game progresses.

The real deal

All 31 NFL teams, all the players, and all the current stadiums. Even the new 1999 Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans hit the field in their new stadiums. The action is so realistic that gameplay is even affected by the weather, including driving rain and snow.

Post-season play

Play right on through the playoffs to the action-packed Super Bowl.

Screen Shots

aoe2_2.jpg (79383 bytes)

aoe2_2.jpg (79383 bytes)

Final Comments

How It Grades
Graphics: 96%
Sound: 92%
Replay: 96%
Controls: 95%
Accuracy: 91%
Value: 94%
Overall: 94%

NFL Fever 2K.  Don't let the fact that it's from Microsoft deter you.  In the absence of Sierra's Front Page Sports Football series, this game fills the void quite nicely.  And in the process, throws down a gauntlet to EA Sports in the form of better graphics and more impressiveness.  MS has a winner on their hands, and, at $20, it's a crime not to pick this game up. 


Overall Score 94%
Version Reviewed NFL Fever 2000
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 CD
1 Set of instructions
1 Reference Card
The Good Points Detailed Graphics
Good Music & Sound Effects
The Bad Points Controls
Reviewers PC Setup Pentium II 233
Windows 98 Second Edition
128 Meg SD-Ram
DirectX 7
Diamond Monster Fusion w/latest drivers
Diamond Sonic Impact S90
PC Required Pentium 200 or better
32-MB RAM (64 recommended) 
2 MB VRAM card (for software rasterizer only) or 4MB VRAM card (for hardware acceleration).
50 MB HD Space
4x CD-ROM (8 recommended)
SVGA Color Monitor
16-bit DirectX compatible soundcard
Win-compatible Mouse
DirectX 6.1 (included)
Windows 95/98/NT 4.0

Also Recommended:

Microsoft Direct 3D-compliant 3D graphics accelerator card and 8MB VRAM.
Microsoft SideWinder game pad or other 8-button game pad.
Windows 95/98-compatible 28.8k or higher baud modem for on-line registration.


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