I've always been a fan of football games on the go. I don't know what it is about them, but being able to experience the excitement of football while on a road trip is just excellent. And the MADDEN series on the Game Boy Advance keeps getting just a little better every year. While the game is identical in a lot of ways to the last few incarnations of the game, there are some improvements and for those who haven't had the chance to play one of these, now is the time to pick MADDEN 2004 up.
When MADDEN 2002 came out for the Game Boy Advance, it sported a Super Nintendo graphical style. So did last year's game. So it makes sense to continue the tradition with a few minor tweaks. The create-a-player, which was introduced last year, is back and so are the training camp mini-challenges. The game still has the angled top down look on the playing field, but a new camera angle has been added after the ball is hiked; the camera will zoom in a bit on the player with the ball. This is nice and all, but it does kind of slow down for a second while the camera is changing.
The gameplay hasn't changed much, and to be honest, really plays just like the last two games. The passing, running and catching is still the same, and except for some roster updates, there isn't much new. One good thing I've found is that the running game is more realistic now; it doesn't feel like you're trying to find cracks in a wall to run through like it did with last year's game.
The create-a-player is back again, and they still depend on how well your player does in the mini-games. I like the mini-games actually. I like little off-season things that you can do, and I really think that they need to be incorporated more into the console games. Obviously, you can trade players during the season also. So, in case your favorite team makes a mid-season trade, you can do the same on the game to keep up with your team and their changes.
As good as MADDEN 2004 is, I distinctly remember playing this game before. Twice actually. I know there isn't a ton that can be changed, and I know that the console versions don't change much, but there can be something done here I'm sure. The game is a great pick up for people who don't own any of the previous games, but if you do, make sure you would pay a lot for some minor tweaks and updated rosters.