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In 2009, Madden teamed with Brett Favre to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Madden video game franchise and featured the quarterback on the 2009 cover art. In this article, we will kick-off with coverage of the Madden NFL 09 All-Play Training Camp Wii experience by entering Mini-Camp mode. In case this is your first time or you haven't played in awhile, we will start by taking you through some drills to get used to the motion-sensing Madden 2009 controls.
The majority of the drills we will run you through also appear in Franchise mode (Training Camp), Multiplayer, and Party mode. Your score and Mini-Camp mode completion percentage shows up in your game profile. All Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards are listed as points in the profile and here, unless otherwise specified.
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As you begin the mini-camp, there are four difficulty settings: Rookie, Pro, All-Pro, and All-Madden. Each difficultly setting allows you to practice specific drills designed to develop the moves you will need to be successful in certain key situations during a game. Beneath each drill description will be a list of the points you need to achieve specific award ratings, so you can measure how much your game is improving as you practice.
Quarterback Pocket Presence Drill -- Moving the quarterback around the pocket (the area enclosed by the offensive linemen) requires you to use your peripheral vision and quick-thinking instincts to give you the time you need to pass the ball. Keep the Wii remote pointing upwards when playing offense at all times; this is the ready position for offense. The white buttons included with the Wii controller are difficult to pick up with peripheral vision, so instead concentrate on the incoming target and occasionally look-up to confirm the location of the highlighted pass icon. The amount you score increases by up to 100 points with each consecutive completion, rewarding consistency, just as in game situations. If the defense is able to sack you, the game will subtract 25 points from your score and reset the scoring system, so you will have to start with completion one again.
- Game Situation -- The game situation for this drill has you trying to put together the game ending drive to win the game. The time you have to make the drive decreases as you increase the difficulty rating of this drill. In Rookie you only have two minutes to drive the field and score, while All-Pro only gives you a minute and a half to drive the same distance. You need to use your time outs wisely here, and practice the No Huddle and Spike Ball quick-command options; you will need them in game situations. The score you receive for this drill depends on the skill level setting, a field goal will suffice in lower difficulty settings, but to receive an All-Pro or All-Madden rating you need to score a touchdown. Concentrate on a star receiver, a long bomb can win the game in one play.
Quarterback Precision Passing Drill -- The quarterback position is certainly the most challenging position in real and virtual NFL football, requiring memorization of plays and many other facets of the game. In this drill, memorizing the patterns and routes of the receivers is the most important aspect of scoring high. Be patient as you drop back in the pocket; stay between the tackles to help your blockers and to stay in alignment with the rings. Wait for the receivers to make their cuts and then quickly swing the Wii remote downward from its offensive ready position (remember always pointed upwards) to deliver a hard bullet pass to a receiver. Most of the passes will be bullet passes, but a few of the rings will be higher and require lob passes.
- Game Situation -- You may think you're playing the same Game Situation as the Quarterback Pocket Presence Drill we discussed above, but once you try it you'll realize the defense is more aggressive and challenging to defeat in this drill. This drill is a difficult challenge to beat, but don't give up - the aggressive defense is often called for face masking and pass interference penalties, and you still have time-outs.
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Mini-Camp Day Two
Linebacker Chase and Tackle Drill -- This drill is a very important, yet simple drill, included in Madden 09 All-Play, since you can just switch off defenders if the first line keeps missing a tackle. Focus on your position in relation to the runner, use the Sprint button, but be careful not to over pursue the runner, as the cut-back can often back a big one. Go for the big Hit Stick tackle to knock the ball out of the runner hands for a better score in this drill. A touchdown against you will decrease your score, and everybody gets scored on, so expect a few touchdowns to be scored. Getting scored against won't be effect your final mark too much though, so remember to be aggressive.
- Game Situation --You will notice that you can only control your linebackers during this situation drill. The instructions screen will display the amount of time you need on the clock to take advantage and score when the offense punts the ball away, so pay attention to this screen. In these situations your opponent will try to kill the clock with running plays, so use your time outs to save time. Give the FG Block formation a try to create a solid wall at the line of scrimmage. Goal line defense can also be effective in slowing the running game, but try not to use it too much in these situations as it can often lead to a quick score if the offense calls the right play. If you force the offense to punt, don't take any chances with the punt return, unless you're in a game situation and need a quick score, instead call for a Fair Catch (just wave the Wii remote back and forth).
Defensive back Ball Swat Drill -- Defensive back is one of the hardest positions to play in real life football, on the PS2 version of Madden NFL 09 All-Play its difficult, and developers have even ramped up the challenge a little more for the Wii version! You need to start sprinting in stride with the receiver, even before the ball is in the air, and keep sprinting. A percentage of the time you may run to the wrong area, but this is the risk you take, the up side is that a percentage of the time you should run to the right area, and this percentage you should be able to increase with practice. The developers have mapped both the Wii remote and Nunchuk into the action of catching an interception, so you have to simulate a catch by raising both at the same time. Unfortunately the control mechanisms are a little touchy with this game, the range of motion being very difficult to determine accurately, while the throwers patterns appear to be random, at least I couldn't determine a pattern.
- Game Situation -- You only play as the defensive back in this situation, you don't get to control any other players. Call Cover 2 if you want the DBs to cover the middle of the field and let the other players cover the outside routes. Call the right defense for the offensive play call and you have a good chance of getting a coverage sack of the quarterback (this is when the receivers are all covered, so he can't throw to them), or a game winning interception-run.
Ground Attack Drill -- Running the football use to be the only offensive play, until the advent of the forward pass, and it's still key to winning in football. This drill is actually pretty easy, but is something you should practice, follow the blocker in front of you and you should end up with one man to beat. When the tacklers do get their hands on you, beat on the virtual drum in front of you with the Wii remote, this will sometimes break you free from the tacklers grasp and you can keep running. This juking motion with the Wii remote takes getting use to, but it's the most efficient way to shake-off the defender and leave him lying on the field.
- Game Situation -- This drill is designed to eat up the clock, while keeping the football in your possession. The other team has time outs, so you need to gain at least one first down to win the game and beat this drill. You can still pass, but it's not recommended, since an incomplete pass will stop the clock. Instead stick to a random pattern of inside runs between the tackles and outside runs that stay in bounds. Punting is not an option in this drill, fourth down being your last chance before you have to try again.
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Mini-Camp Day Three
Defensive Line Trench Fight Drill -- The fight in the trenches often determines the ultimate outcome of a war and the same is true for Madden NFL and real football. The fight to get to the quarterback is usually about effort and the same can be said for Madden NFL on the Wii console. The drill here actually gets easier at higher difficulty levels because you get more time to fight your way to the quarterback, as long as you keep up the same effort. The offensive linemen and other blockers do improve in their blocking ability in the higher levels though, which means you need to press the B button while shaking the Wii remote like crazy to knock them over and get to the flag. Just don't take your foot off the accelerator until you reach and you should be fine.
- Game Situation -- You only control the offensive line in this drill, and the blitz is an option you need to consider, just make sure you cover the backfield as the offensive will be trying to stretch the field by passing downfield. The coach for the offensive will leave the offensive on the field on fourth down, so make sure you pick a proper defensive play instead of the default punt return option.
Clutch Kicking Drill -- The fun the Wii experience brings to the field of play in this drill is entertaining on its own, especially with the easy kicking motion provided by a simple motion with the Wii remote. Press and hold the A button, then make a fast upward motion with the Wii remote, while releasing the A button to kick the ball. The motion isn't hard to figure out, the real trick is to kick as many balls as possible in the time given, so align the arrow, just don't spend too much time doing this, just place the ball and kick. The wind increases as the difficulty level goes up, in All-Pro the wind speed is about 3 mph, but only becomes a factor on the highest difficulty levels.
- Game Situation -- To succeed in this drill all you need to do is kick a successful field goal, making the Clutch Kicking Drill the easiest of these drills to complete.
Coffin Corner Punt Drill -- This drill is designed to pin your competition within their ten or even twenty yard line using a punt. Instead of having the punter launch the football high into the air, point the arrow all the way down to the horizontal and at the front corner end zone pylon, either side. You need to practice keeping the ball out of the end zone and aim towards the out of bounds sideline area. Pick a side to practice this drill with and stick to it, you will see better improvement this way and it's easier to judge the angles with greater accuracy. The game will randomly re-place you after each kick, so try to use the NFL logo in the middle of the field as a field mark to judge where to kick from on each try. Place the arrow inside of the pylon when you're closer to the end zone and gradually move it closer to the pylon as the distance from the goal line increases, if you get it right the arrow should be almost dead-on when at the farthest possible punting distance at which you can achieve your coffin kick. Kick the ball when the kick meter is just under full power and the coffin kick is possible.
- Game Situation -- Special teams can often be the difference in a game between teams that are very close in all areas of the game. Perfecting the coffin corner punt can be this game breaking difference in an equal battle between teams. The Game Situation here is executed exactly as you practiced in the drill. If you miss the ball will be placed at the same location, with the same conditions, so just make the necessary adjustments and kick again.