Madden NFL 2003 is the game any sports jock should get. The franchise mode has an incredible amount of depth and this is a great football game.
If you love professional football, then you’ll want to check out some of the customizable options, namely the playbook editor, before jumping into a game. Like with most other playbook editors, you can scour various playbooks from coaches around the league and pick plays that you’d like to add to your own repertoire, but this option also gives you the ability to create your own unique formation, and from that you can create an entirely new play.
Basically, you are presented with a grid and a series of circles representing the players on the field. You can move the receiver, tight end, and running back circles almost anywhere on the grid, which gives you the opportunity to create some really weird-looking formations, but you can only move the quarterback in a line perpendicular to the center. In addition, you still need to have the proper number of players at the line of scrimmage, so there are some limitations put in to accommodate the rules. When you’re done setting up the formation, you can go into the create-a-play option and decide whether it will be a running or a passing play. If it’s a running play, then you can indicate which direction the running back has to go and indicate blocking assignments for offensive linemen and receivers. Conversely, if you’re creating a passing play, you can either use one of the preset routes (such as a post, a streak, or a curl) or create your own route–needless to say, you can create some pretty crazy routes that will undoubtedly make things difficult for the computer- or human-controlled opponent playing zone coverage. Finally, you can test the play and make any final adjustments before integrating it into your playbook. The defensive play editor is almost identical–it lets you make your own formations and place defensive players just about anywhere on the grid. Other editable options include the ability to make your own team and players and to adjust rosters before starting the game.
Madden 2003 has plenty of modes to keep you busy, but the minor issues with the running and passing game prevent it from being the best representation of professional football. Fans of previous Madden games will definitely enjoy it, and any other football fans should look into it.