NHL Open Ice is a great game. It isn't very realistic, but if you want realism you should play NHL 99 . NHL Open Ice approaches hockey in a fashion reminiscent of the way basketball is represented in NBA Jam. Much like NBA Jam, NHL Open Ice has no rules, no penalties, lots of scoring, and even an "On-Fire" mode for arcade-style fun.
For the uninitiated, the On-Fire mode is gives your hockey player unlimited turbo power and a super shot that bursts into flames as you shoot. To become "On Fire," you must score goals, check opponents and assist on goals to increase your fire meter. If you can score a goal while the meter is flashing, you'll be "On Fire." This mode wears off after you either score three goals or your opponent scores once.
The graphics in NHL Open Ice are great in the high-resolution, one-third of the screen mode. In the full screen mode on my machine, the graphics are pixelated and look like they're from a game made a few years before the year (1997) NHL Open Ice was released. There are no polygons in the graphics and many of the visuals are taken directly from actual player footage.
The sounds are what you might expect in a game of this sort. They are very exaggerated, adding to the enjoyment of the game. A gamepad is essential to playing NHL Open Ice. The action is quick and the game isn't very deep, so your mind just let's itself go.
You can play the game with friends or just against the computer until you get bored, which probably won't be for a while. If you choose to enter your name, the computer will save all your game records such as wins, losses, ties and your winning percentage. If you like arcade-style sports games and roughneck hockey, then this game is could be perfect for you.
Graphics: The graphics are good in the highest resolution but only average in full screen.
Sound: The commentary by Pat Foley gives the game a television feel.
Enjoyment: Great fun once you get used to it.
Replay Value: Up to four people can play at once, adding a whole new aspect to the game.
NHL Open Ice is an excellent PC conversion of Midway's hit arcade game of the same name. Licenced by the NHL and NHL Players' Association, this two-on-two hockey game features over 120 real-life players from all 26 NHL teams. Like the arcade game, NHLOI features smooth animations, lots of power-up codes, special hidden characters, and many special modes such as "Big Head" and "Super-Goalie" that bear no resemblance to real-world hockey, but makes the game fun regardless. Hockey fans who prefer "realistic" games like FaceOff! or Wayne Gretzky Hockey will definitely be disappointed with NHLOI's disregard of realism and focus on arcade-game-style power-ups - something that doesn't make the game much different from, say, NBA Jam. But anyone looking for a quick hockey game to play against a friend or the computer will enjoy NHL Open Ice once in a while. Recommended.
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