American football--you either love it or hate it. With its heavy padding, constant stop-start action and incomprehensible rules (plus the fact there's little in the way of foot action involved) it can be a bewildering experience for the uninitiated. Happily, for those of us who love the sport (and those willing to give it a go) EA Sports have produced a version of the game that quite simply blows all of its electronic opponents out of the water. The graphics, as with many PS2 games are top class, the EA Sports engine really does receive a hammering here as the game plays with camera angles and styles to produce a near-perfect gaming experience--there are times when it's difficult to tell the difference between real TV footage and the output from Madden 2001. But it's the gameplay where Madden excels. A variety of playbooks are offered as defaults with the option to create your own and this flexibility really shines when you take to the field. Among the features, which really pull Madden out, are the ability to superimpose the paths of the intended receivers and the ease with which it's possible to pull off intricate plays without getting lost in a frenzied button-pushing exercise. In fact, within a matter of 10 minutes or so it's possible to be up and running at full power. Commentary, as ever, is provided by the Dream Team of John Madden and Pat Summerall and unlike previous versions of the game provides thoughtful, and occasionally helpful, advice to the player. But the real gem in this game is the introduction of MaddenCards. The player must achieve certain goals to gain these cards that offer a variety of benefits to the player ranging from passes that are always accurate to the opening of classic and fun teams. Gameplay modes range from practise through exhibition games to entire seasons incorporating draft picks, substitutions and more.Put simply, Madden is a stunning game beating off competition from other titles on other platforms.